Apr 21, 2023

Review--Conquer the Kingdom by Jennifer Estep


Magic reigns, plots abound, and a new love might not conquer all, in this must-read finale to the epic Gargoyle Queen trilogy by international bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Time is running out for crown princess Gemma Ripley. Despite being a cunning spy and a powerful mind magier, Gemma hasn't been able to track down the most dangerous enemy her kingdom of Andvari has ever seen. Adding to her worries is the Sword and Shield tournament. With gladiators flocking to the capital city of Glanzen, Gemma can't tell who is friend--or foe.

Determined to protect Andvari at any cost, Gemma hatches a bold plan, but things aren't what they seem. Soon, everything she holds dear is being threatened, including her burgeoning relationship with Prince Leonidas Morricone.

With the kingdom she holds dear slipping through her fingers, Gemma will have to conquer her fear and unlock the true secret of her magic--or watch her friends and family die and her beloved Andvari fall . . .


Conquer the Kingdom brings Jennifer Estep’s Gargoyle Queen trilogy to its epic conclusion! For months now, Gemma and Leo have been dealing with threat of Milo trying to take over Gemma’s kingdom and this is the final showdown, blood will be shed, secrets will be revealed, and choices will be made. This is it folks!

Gemma has been trying to find Milo and Wexel for months now and she hasn’t gotten any closer than when she started. But with the Sword and Shield tournament happening within days, Gemma fears Milo will use the distraction of the hustle and bustle within the crowds to sneak in and set whatever diabolical plot he has into motion.

Gemma fears many possible outcomes Milo could have planned what with all the tearstone arrows he has been creating. Her father and grandfather have collected as much tearstone as they can and locked it away in the castle, just so it’s less for Milo to get a hold of. But as the activities for the tournament escalate things start to happen and soon Gemma suspects that Milo might already be within her kingdom.

Then there’s still the problems that come with Gemma and Leo being together. Gemma’s people are hard pressed to accept a Mortan as their possible king consort. There is also the fact that Maven still isn’t Gemma’s #1 fan either. That Gemma is hunting for Leo’s brother with the intent to kill him makes things just a little tense between them. Leo does know his brother is terrible and deserves to die, but you can imagine the strain this puts on their relationship when put altogether.

Gemma is definitely a character I love to root for! She’s strong and independent and fights for her kingdom. She’s not your dainty Disney princess waiting to be saved, she does the saving. Her relationship with Leo is even built strongly as they both know what the other seems to need when it comes time for battles. They never try to hold the other one back and will fight by their side. They have a nice solid relationship and it is something I love seeing, especially in fantasy books! 

I found this to be a most exciting and exhilarating read! Estep has a way with fantasies. She knows the right blend of magic, mayhem, action, and romance o make one compelling and unputdownable read! I love that her fantasies are on the lighter side. Her world and magic systems are very easy to understand and the names and places are all easy to pronounce. I love that I don’t have to trip over convoluted spellings and wonder what word I am trying to pronounce!

The pacing to this one was nice too! I wouldn’t exactly call it fast paced, but it’s not slow either. It truly is that perfect pace where things move along smoothly, but other things are happening too! I found myself unable to put this one down many times! Gemma gets into the thick of danger more times than I can count and I was always eager to see how she would get herself out of it.

The ending to this one was just as on eight expect it to be. Things were wrapped up smoothly, although I did question what really happened to a particular character, as Gemma noticed it too. That Estep put a bit of a spotlight on it has questions running through my head. Things were also brought up that make me believe that Estep might not quite be done with this world just yet and am I all for that!

Conquer the Kingdom brings us the end to the Gargoyle Queen trilogy, but I was satisfied with where we left Gemma! It’s no surprise that Estep is a fan of happy endings based on her last trilogy’s ending. I am sad to leave Gemma and Leo behind, but I feel like Estep gave them the right send off! What the future holds for this world is unclear as of yet, but I am hopeful that there might be one more journey to have with another character at the forefront! This is one magical world you do not want to miss out on! It’s one of the best fantasy series I’ve read in quite some time and I cannot recommend it enough!

Overall rating 5/5 stars



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