Mar 9, 2020

ARC Review--Crush the King by Jennifer Estep

A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance.

Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.

There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes.

Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.

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

Jennifer Estep brings an exciting installment to the Crown Of Shards series with Crush the King! I have yet to figure out if this series is a trilogy or meant to be longer. The way things end with this one, it can honestly go either way. I suppose time will only tell. Evie is determined more than ever that it's time for the Mortan king to die. There's been one too many assassination attempts on her life that she's tired of playing his games, it's time to start her own game, a long game.

Fans of the series will know what the long game will entail, for newcomers, well, the answer is pretty much in the name itself! Evie along with her companions are going to attend the Regalia, a mass gathering of the kingdoms where they partake in Olympic style games. It's at this event that Evie plans to enact her plan and take out Maximus once and for all. But Evie isn't done making enemies just yet, before her arrival there's upset in her own kingdom and Evie narrowly escapes a kidnapping that would've ended badly for her. It would seem the DiLucris family isn't exactly happy with Evie's reign as well.

With so many enemies gathering in one place, Evie is going to have to find some allies at the Regalia if she hopes to survive any further attempts on her life or hints of war.

This was a remarkable fantasy read! I love that it has its own magic, its own rules, and of course other fantastical elements that make it its own kind of fantasy book! There are magical creatures and of course the rules of the magic that is within the kingdom. There's always something new to learn through the magical system. Then there's the court politics and scheming! Everyone's always plotting to overthrow, kill, kidnap, or maim someone! Lol. It's a story that will really keep you on your toes.

I guess in some ways, I was a little upset there wasn't more moments between Evie and Sullivan. Yes, I know, coming from me this is definitely a head turner! Lol. Sure there was an intimate moment or two but I felt like the other bonding moments they usually shared together were a bit more sparse than usual. It's not that I needed more kissing, I just wanted more from them. I felt like they rarely had moments together.

The ending was quite enjoyable! There was a twist coming that I didn't really see coming at all and I think that was the plan. It does present the ever pressing question though, is this a trilogy or will it end up being longer? At the end, the most pressing matters were resolved, there were a few hints and teases at possibilities and yet...I feel like this can go either way and that's what drives me bonkers about this one! I was under the impression that we were dealing with a trilogy and it ends like a trilogy should, although it does leave room for more. There would have to be a major development that would be the catalyst, but it's totally possible!

In the end though, Crush the King was a most exciting and delightful read! It's the kind of fantasy reads I live for! There's magic, romance, adventure, battles, intrigue, spectacular world-building and more! A lot of fantasy reads can overwhelm you with magic and world rules, but this series doesn't do that. In fact, at times I felt like there might have been a flare of modernity mixed within, but it's not like technology modernity, just little things. But it never detracts from the fantasy side of the story, for that is what this book is, a fantasy read, a fantastical fantasy read!

Overall Rating 4.5/5 stars

Crush the King releases March 17, 2020

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