Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

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Kill the Queen Book Cover Kill the Queen
Crown of Shards #1
Jennifer Estep
Harper Voyager
October 2nd 2018


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.


WOW, what a fabulous start to a new series by Jennifer Estep. When I first heard about this series I was very excited. I had just discovered Estep, Elemental Assassins series, and feel in love, so finding out a new series was coming I couldn’t pass it up.

Everything about this book captured me. We’ve got a spoiled villain, gladiators, magic, and a young women who must accept who she is, transform to save herself, and her kingdom.

Bellona is a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition and history. Lady Evie has a secret, one she must keep hidden. Her parents where killed and her life in the palace isn’t a good one, but she makes do until that fateful day when everyone is betrayed and assassinated. Evie has a journey ahead of her, one that will change her and the world.

Estep excels in writing strong heroines and bring the world and characters to life. Her world-building is impressive and she has a way with pulling me into the story. I loved the magic and the gladiator world. I also enjoyed many of the secondary characters from Lucas the handsome trainer, to the dance instructor, and also the leader of the gladiator troop. We get a nice balance of dark to light aspects in this story. It’s also full of secrets, laughter, action, adventure, and more.

I was kept on the edge of my set wondering what secrets we will learn and what will happen next in Kill the Queen. The story wraps up nicely, but their is still more to come and explore with a budding romance and a kingdom to secure. I can’t wait for the next installment.

Rated: 5 Stars

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Challenge (2018): Library Love


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I'm an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, animal & book lover. I'm the owner, reviewer & mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy & my favorite shifters are dragons.

18 comments on “Review: Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep

  1. Gah! My comment disappeared in a dropped connection. Boo! Well, I’ll just shorten the comment and say YEA! Glad you enjoyed this one. I am looking forward to book 2 and seeing what happens. I also want to recommend the Black Blade Trilogy – I did it on audiobook. Good stuff!

    • I’ll look into your recommendation. Thank’s! I’m excited for book 2 as well.

  2. I haven’t read anything by this author but want to and I adore this cover! I will have to pick this one up. I love that it’s the first in the series too.


    • Hope you enjoy. This author has captured me.

  3. Excellent review Angela!!! Shared on my socials!!??

    • Thank you!

  4. This was an excellent start to this series. I loved it and have Protect the Prince to hopefully read soon. I hope you continue to enjoy the series.
    Anne – Books of My Heart recently posted…Shattered Vows by Kaylea CrossMy Profile

    • Me too. I’ve got Protect the Prince pre-ordered, so I’m excited! Glad you enjoyed this novel.

  5. I really enjoyed this one, too. I’m excited for Protect the Prince. I listen to the audiobooks, which has the same narrator as the Elemental Assassins series, Lauren Fortgang.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Diamond Fire Audiobook by Ilona Andrews (REVIEW)My Profile

    • I haven’t listened to the audio yet, but it’s on my list to do. I had a blast reading and like you can’t wait for the next installment.

  6. I’ve been waiting on this one. I love Jennifer Estep’s writing, but I’m sometimes wary of fantasy worlds. It sounds like I need to put this one on my list to get read before I’ve too far behind!
    Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict recently posted…Review ~ Nevermore by Dannika Dark @DannikaDark @TantorAudioMy Profile

    • It’s was a blast and the world building was spectacular. I can’t wait for the next title. I hope you enjoy!

  7. *Bounces* I loved this one too and was crossing my fingers as your website opened! I am so glad it rocked!
    Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer recently posted…Dead Beat by Jim ButcherMy Profile

    • It did rock. I can’t wait for Protect The Prince. I’ve already got my copy ordered ^_^. Glad you also enjoyed this one. Estep has become a new favorite author for me. Love her Elemental Assassins series and now this new series Crown of Shards.

  8. This sounds amazing! I picked it up a couple of weeks ago but haven’t read it yet. Glad you enjoyed it!

    • Hope you enjoy. Happy Reading!

  9. This one has been on my radar for a while. Reading your review has me more excited than ever to pick this one up. I don’t read a lot of fantasy but this one totally captures my attention.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…Review + Giveaway: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarryMy Profile

    • I’m glad to hear my review has you more excited to read this one. I loved it and can’t wait for the next installment. I hope you enjoy whenever you read!