by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #2
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.
Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.
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…
Last year, Kill the Queen, the first novel in the Crown of Shards made my top ten list. I worried going into Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep that it might not live up to its predecessor. I need not have worried as Estep delivered in spades!
Action-packed and romantic, Protect the Prince, further fleshed out the world as Queen Everleigh Blair embraced her role and showed the realms what a Winter Queen truly looks like.
Problems begin in Bellona as court politics force Evie to deal with those who question her ability to lead. Assassination attempts, wicked cuts and barbed tongue lashings immediately pulled me in.
We then head to Andvarian palace, the birthplace of Lucas Sullivan, the King’s bastard. Evie hopes to form an alliance between the two kingdoms against Maeve and the Bastards Brigade.
We see old characters, learn of Evie’s childhood and of Sullivan’s. Twists, turns, old lovers and more kept me flipping the pages. Estep is a master storyteller, and she spins a tight tapestry.
Danger, plots, attacks and more gave way to a maddening pace that was utterly addictive. Strong characters and loyal companions kept me vested and holding my breath.
I relished hating the villains and navigating the surprise curve balls thrown our way. Be warned there is romance. But it’s the forbidden kind, with character growth that can be both frustrating and romantic.
Evie is such a strong character, and we learned more about her mutt abilities. She is a born leader despite her denials. A strategist who can see the bigger picture and a heroine you will want to root for. Don’t piss her off though because she is a skilled with a sword as she is with her tongue.
I cannot wait for Crush the King, the third novel expected to release in 2020. Estep has fast become a favorite fantasy author and I encourage you to add this series to your bookshelf!
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I need to see about the audiobook for this one.
Anne - Books of My Heart
I really am enjoying this series also. It’s so easy to read and love the characters. Some of the emotions are so immature or petty but people can be so that actually makes it more authentic I guess.
Oh, yes can’t wait to read this one. I am glad to hear you loved it.
Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard
Sounds like a series I need to put on my TBR list! Well-written review: you made me want to read it. 🙂
Suzanne @ The Bookish Libra
Wow, this sounds like an exciting and action packed read. Glad the second book in the series didn’t let you down!
I have book one and really need to read it before this series gets away from me! 🙂
Tanya @ Rantings of a Reading Addict
I am SO nervous about taking on a fantasy. I’ve been burned by them before so I’m never really excited about them. But everyone’s reviews of this series have really got me wanting to pick this up. I love Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series so I’m sure she does a good job with this. Did you listen or read? Wondering what the narration is like.
I read them which is why I didn’t mention narrator or rate the narration. Honestly if you like the Elemental series I think you’ll be fine. Lauren Fortgang narrates and the sample sounds good.
Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
I’m glad that this sequel was just as good as its predecessor. This fantasy sounds like quite the page turner with the danger, twists, and forbidden romance (my favorite.). Wonderful Review Kim!
The covers of this series always catch my eye! I will make a note to read book one after I get through my library stash.
Another gigantic knocking it out of the ballpark review 🙂
I keep thinking that I should read her books but haven’t yet.
Glad your worries that it wouldn’t match up with the strength of the first one were put to bed. The series is on the list. 🙂
Oh yes I need to post my review but I also had a great time with the story!
Angela - Angel's Guilty Pleasures
I’m excited for this one. I loved book one Kill The Queen. Estep is an amazing author and storyteller.
Crystal @ Lost in Storyland
I’ve been seeing this one over the blogosphere, but I haven’t started this series. I’m so glad to hear that Kill the Queen made your top ten list and that Protect the Prince delivered. I need to start this series!
it is on my tbr but I just can’t find any time for it yet =( glad for the good 2nd part though
Genesis @ Whispering Chapters
I’ve heard of this author before but haven’t read anything by her. This series seems like it’s a major hit! It sounds super interesting and I’m interested in knowing how she acts as a queen and shows that to the realms. Great review!