Kill the Queen & Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep | Review

Posted July 10, 2019 by Asheley in review / 1 Comment

Kill The Queen and Protect The Prince by Jennifer Estep
Kill the Queen & Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep | ReviewKill The Queen by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #1
Published by Harper Voyager on October 2, 2018
Source: the publisher
Buy from Amazon|Buy from Barnes & Noble|Buy from Book Depository

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Kill The Queen by Jennifer Estep starts out nice and slow, and builds nice and steadily as the world is laid out. This is a fantasy story set in the kingdom of Bellona. After a massacre leaves the Queen and most of the people at court dead, Evie (17th in line to the throne) escapes by using her magic abilities, which she has kept secret for her entire life. She runs away, joins a troupe of gladiators, and becomes skilled at fighting before she decides that it is up to her to fix things in the kingdom and avenge the murder of the Queen.

Kill The Queen by  Jennifer Estep

Have you ever thought a story was going to go one way, and then you were completely shocked to find that you were wrong? That’s me with Kill The Queen! When the massacre took place early in the story, I thought I knew how things might progress for Evie, but she kept making choice after choice that I just didn’t see coming. I love that these characters kept surprising me for nearly the entire length of the book.

I love this world and I think that these characters were really fun bunch to read-the good ones and the bad ones. The story isn’t too deep-what I mean by that is that this isn’t one of those slow-going, super-heavy-on-detail fantasy stories. I do enjoy stories like that, but I was easily able to lose myself in Kill The Queen without getting bogged down by things that I needed to go back and reread or pay extra attention to. This was just fun reading and I enjoyed trying to imagine what the world looks like. (Although I’m a little thrown off by the fact that the setting seems to contain a mixture of time periods. For example, the story reads like there are modern-ish bathrooms in medieval-ish castles? I wonder if anyone else felt like this too? I like this mash-up, but it definitely felt different.)

Evie’s transformation from the start of the story to the end is huge. She lost so much, but she also gained so much too. I’m pretty excited to see where the second installment (Protect The Prince) will take Evie and the people she carries with her on her journey around the kingdom.

Kill the Queen & Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep | ReviewProtect The Prince by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #2
Published by Harper Voyager on July 2, 2019
Source: the publisher
Buy from Amazon|Buy from Barnes & Noble|Buy from Book Depository

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I think I liked Protect The Prince by Jennifer Estep even more than I liked the first book, Kill The Queen. I loved the world and the characterization in the first book, and in this second installment, I think it is more and better of the same. The world is more fully realized and was easier for me to visualize while I was reading, and many of the characters are back and were already well-known to me before the book began.

Protect The Prince by Jennifer Estep

One of the things that I loved about this story is that Evie already is a great gladiator when this book starts, as she spent the majority of the first book honing her fighting skills. So when the assassination attempts begin, she is ready to fight back. Evie is also pretty confident from the beginning, where confidence was something that she had to develop throughout the first book. I love that Evie has such a good grasp on her abilities and her magic; she knows when she should use her magic in its greatest capacity and when she should hold back and be more secretive about the things that she can do. It s interesting to watch Evie maneuver and control her magic when she visits other kingdoms, far from home, where she is most comfortable and most protected. When she is away from home, she is vulnerable to manipulation and attack.

I love the way these Crown of Shards stories are so playful and fun instead of being the typical heavy reads that epic fantasy is known for. They feel almost more like  urban fantasy to me, even though they take place in a setting that isn’t exactly urban. Wherever you’d place this series underneath the fantasy umbrella, there is certainly a unique world, a fun system of magic, and some really great characters. After enjoying the first two books, I’m looking forward to more-but I dread the long wait until the next installment is released.


 Amazon | HarperCollins | Barnes & Noble



About Jennifer Estep

Jennifer Estep Author Photo

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Photo by Andre Teague


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


One response to “Kill the Queen & Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep | Review

  1. Sara Strand

    I haven’t read either of these and all of the rave reviews make me feel like I have to drop everything and get to them! Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Leave a Reply

Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.