Jun 29, 2021

ARC Review--Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep


Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy. 

Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy. 

Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.

Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.

The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne…

I received this ARC during the festivities of Independent Bookstore Day. My review is completely honest and voluntary, I was in no way compensated for this review.


Jennifer Estep returns to the world of Crown of Shards, but this time with a new heroine. Capturethe Crown starts a new series centering around Gemma, the young cousin of Everleigh. This time, it will be up to Gemma to save her kingdom from the enemy.

It’s been awhile since I was last in this world but I found myself easily falling back into it. What made it easier was the whole new cast of characters. I was a bit surprised that Everleigh didn’t make an appearance, but perhaps she will in the next book or two! Gemma is a force to be reckoned with though, she’s very much like her cousin in some ways. She’s not your typical princess and I love that about her.

Gemma was going undercover to figure out why her kingdom’s tearstone seems to be going missing. She disguises herself and add in the fact that she’s a “secluded” princess, not many know her face, so she’s able to pass as a commoner. But when she sees her mortal enemy, Leonidas of Morta show up, she’s ready to take him out…right after she figures out what he’s doing. For there is a past history between Leonidas and Gemma that we don’t quite know yet, but it gets revealed over time throughout the story. I’m more interested in the aftermath of their first meeting that only gets briefly touched on, so hopefully Jennifer will dive into that as the series moves along. Though they met as children and Gemma knew his face right away, it seems Leonidas doesn’t recognize her for her true self and she plans to use this to her advantage.

When Gemma is hurt during her mission, Leo brings her back to his kingdom to be healed. He planned to help her slip out of the castle unseen, but Gemma thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for her to do some more spying to see what Morta plans to do with the tearstone, as she quickly learns Leo’s brother, Milo, is behind it all.

There is definitely a slow building, slow burning romance happening between Gemma and Leo and I am all for it! Gemma is constantly trying to fight her attraction to the man who betrayed her years ago, and isn’t doing such a great job of it. There’s mostly heated moments between them riddle with tension and ohhh when these two finally get together—because we all know they will—it’s going to be explosive!

The pacing to this one was done just right. It was like a constant buildup to more and more exciting things with all this deception and tension along the way. Everyone is always deceiving someone in this world. It’s enough to make your head spin! I’m still trying to figure out what Maeven’s endgame is because she’s still scheming after her bout with Everleigh!

Capture the Crown was filled with action, tension, suspense, and deceptions. It’s a book that will have you constantly turning the pages and add in some heated slow burn romance, it’s a book that you won’t soon forget! If you’re looking for an intriguing new fantasy read, I would highly recommend this one! And though you don’t have to have read the first fantasy trilogy of this world, that one too was still an amazing and exciting read, but you could easily dive into this one and enjoy it without that prior knowledge. Capture the Crown is a book to devour in one sitting and leave you aching for more by its end! Though I will say the cliffhanger wasn’t too horrendous…and now the countdown to next year begins!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars


Capture the Crown releases July 6, 2021






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