Sep 26, 2018

ARC Review--Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

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 ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Kill the Queen is Jennifer Estep’s first fantasy and hopefully will not be her last and it spins an epic tale about family, betrayals, and magic! Though it had a somewhat slow start, the story was quick to draw me in once the plot started to roll. By its end, I was thoroughly hooked and eager for the next installment.

Everleigh, aka Evie, is seventeenth in line for the throne though she has no ambitions to be queen or rule over anything. It’s enough that she’s the “chosen one” who gets to do all the boring public appearances that the queen cannot do. Then one day the unthinkable happens, Vasilia the heir to the throne and Evie’s cousin slaughters her entire family and it’s only by luck that she manages to survive and escape.

Evie heads for the gladiator camps to find Serilda, a former guard of the late queen. She’s not sure what her plan will be but it soon becomes clear that she might be the last member of her family alive. Vasilia will be queen unless Evie challenges her, but being queen doesn’t quite make Evie’s to-do list. Instead she finds herself joining the gladiator troops and training with them. Convincing Serilda’s crowd to take her on was its own challenge, but soon she finds a place for herself. And of course, what would a story be without a little friction in the romance area?

Sullivan helps train the gladiators to be in fighting shape and naturally, he and Evie butt heads a lot. Their interactions were quite comical in the beginning and really from the start, you know there’s going to be something brewing between them, I was a tad upset that it happened so quickly. Yet they still don’t actually get together right away, but the feelings are all there.

While I did really enjoy this one, I still had a few issues with it too. The speed of the romance being one of them, but also the passing of time went by rather quickly. Within a blink of the eye weeks would pass by and I just felt like a lot of good could have come from seeing those weeks pass by other than just jumping ahead. I think this is where the romance kind of failed for me. What felt like seconds of Evie and Sullivan possibly falling in love might have really been months. Time is a tricky thing here.

The other problematic area was the beginning, we already know what’s going to happen to Evie’s family, yet it seemed to take a great deal of time to actually happen. The book is divided into three parts and we slog through a bit of everyday life for Evie before the massacre happens, which I get that we needed a bit of buildup to the tragedy but some parts just seemed to drag and you kept waiting for something to happen and I noticed little hints to what was to come.

The pacing after that first part though was pretty spot on. Evie keeps her identity a secret from her new friends for she’s not entirely sure she can trust that they would have her well-being in mind if they knew the truth. Which that built up a kind of tension because you knew things would eventually come to pass and the fallout that followed would definitely have some repercussions.

All in all though, this was still an enjoyable read. It’s not without flaws, minor ones though, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. It builds up an exciting storyline and the characters were all fantastic. I truly enjoyed the magical elements Jennifer added to the story and that there weren’t just humans in this world either, and I’m not talking about animals either! It made for an exciting world and there’s definitely going to be more excitement in the series to come, I can feel it!

The ending was satisfying and fulfilling. You can kind of guess where things are headed but there’s still plenty left unsaid that makes you wonder what the future will hold. Especially in regards to Evie and Sullivan’s possible future, yet those dang roadblocks that stand between them will have to be overcome at some point. Kill the Queen was by far one of the more intriguing fantasy reads I’ve read and its world is one I will be happy to revisit next year with its sequel! I hope Jennifer spends a good amount of time in this place, because I am not quite ready to say goodbye just yet.

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Kill the Queen releases October 2, 2018


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this one too, though do agree it had some flaws.


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