Books Like This: Phoenix Unbound, The Bridge Kingdom
For: People who like action/violence, romance, magic, murder, adventure, self-discovery, rebellion
*Mild Spoilers Ahead
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.
Kill the Queen is the first book in the Crown of Shards series by Jennifer Estep. When I found this book, I was just looking for anything new to read. I tend to love self-growth and self-discovery books as well as books with romance and magic (the violence was just an added bonus). I was intrigued with the idea of an immunity to magic and I was not disappointed.
While reading this book, I loved how we see the changes in Everleigh's inner thoughts. As she starts to find herself we see her be more honest to others about her feelings and we see her curse more often. I was loving all of the character growth I saw from her.
One thing that I didn't like about the book (and this is also the reason that the rating isn't higher) was because I really wished that we had more examples of "Old Everleigh" vs "New Evie". We only really had one example of "Old Everleigh's" passiveness, though I did appreciate when Jennifer wrote about Evie comparing the new her versus the old her.
The romance was really good. I feel like because romance wasn't really a main genre of the book, there wasn't too much or too little in the story. It was classic enemies to lovers, but I like how you could tell from the beginning that there was something there.
Also, there were around 3 flashbacks in the story. I did like the flashbacks, I think they really helped by sympathize with Evie more and really helped explain why she hated Vasilia as much as she did.
This book was very well written, especially when it came to describing smells. Because Evie's mutt power is to be able to smell very, VERY well the fact that Jennifer kept up the smell related details really added to the overall experience of the book.
The characters were relatable and lovable. The conflict was entertaining and kept my interest. The book really painted a picture in my mind. And, the characters actually make reasonable and smart decisions. This was a really good book that I highly recommend.
Congratulations to Jennifer Estep and I wish you luck on all of your future endeavors.