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review 2020-05-28 02:47
Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Bright Blaze of Magic (Black Blade) - Jennifer Estep

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I am so glad that I finally read this book! I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of this book near its release date but it fell through the cracks somehow. As more time passed, I realized that I would need to refresh my memory of the first two books in the trilogy before I could review the book properly so I put off reading it. I decided to push this book to the top of my list recently and it was a very good decision. I thoroughly enjoyed my re-read of the first two books in the trilogy and was eager to experience this book for the first time. I really had a good time with this one.

This is a trilogy that really needs to be read in order. Things have been building to the events in this book for the entire trilogy and I was excited to see how things would work out. Victor Draconi has been working towards a plan to eliminate the other Families and take control of everything himself. Lila and the other Sinclairs are aware of his plan and they are working to do whatever they can to stop him.

This story was exciting and there were a few scenes that were incredibly action-packed. There were a few scenes where I was really worried about how things would work out for this group of characters that I have grown to care for and some scenes that broke my heart. I loved the way that the monsters and magical abilities were such a vital part of the story. It was great to see Lila really become a trusted member of the Sinclair Family as they came together with the other Families to fight a common threat.

Brittany Pressley did a fantastic job with the narration once again. I looked forward to putting my headphones on and escaping into Lila's world for a few hours. I really felt like she brought this story to life. She did a fantastic job with all of the character voices and brought a lot of emotion into her reading. I believe that her narration added to my enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderful trilogy set in a very interesting world. I had a great time going on this adventure with Lila, Devon, Felix, Oscar, and the rest of the characters. I cannot wait to read more of Jennifer Estep's work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I am so glad that I finally read this book! This was a battle that has been brewing for the entire series and I was excited to see the Sinclairs take on the Draconis. There was a lot of excitement and action in this book and some pretty intense scenes. I thought that the characters were at their best in this installment and there were some pretty emotional scenes. I listened to the audiobook and I thought that the narrator did a fabulous job bringing this story to life.

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review 2020-04-18 18:13
CRUSH THE KING BY: JENNIFER ESTEP
Crush the King - Jennifer Estep

A sincere thank you to this book for being exactly what I needed to pull me out of this quarantine slump. I thoroughly enjoyed being back with this crew and the setting taking place at another gladiator event was perfection. It was like coming full circle. The Regalia Games did not disappoint. Evie was really in her element, I loved seeing how far she has come and what a confident leader and warrior she has grown to be.

 

 

The showdown between Evie and the Mortan king was exactly what I was hoping for, but I think the long game she had been playing with Maeven exceeded any expectations. I definitely had a feeling what direction that was heading in, but Evie took it to another level by the end and I couldn't help cheering her on the whole way.

 

 

 

While I was totally fine with the romance being pretty low key in this one, the action kept me plenty satisfied, I do wish Sully would have had a stronger role in everything. Although I super LOVE how strong and fierce the leading ladies are, I think with the concern he had in the second book of just being a downlow consort it would have been nice to see him really flourishing in that role rather than fading more into the background.

 

All in all Crush the King was pretty much everything I was hoping for as a conclusion to this story. It was a fitting ending but as always with the worlds I've come to love, I am sad to say goodbye. I would definitely be psyched to see a spinoff series set in this world. Just throwing that out there into the ether.

 

 

Many thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Goodreads for this first reads book!

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review 2020-01-29 04:28
PROTECT THE PRINCE BY: JENNIFER ESTEP
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) - Jennifer Estep

I am so glad that this sequel was nearly as fun as the first book. Admittedly I was a little like Paloma in that I missed the gladiator life a bit in this one, but it was understandably absent and it had more than enough court drama and assassination attempts to keep you flying through the pages. There were some surprises along the way and some things that were fairly easy to see coming but were entertaining none the less. I'm really glad there isn't much wait for the next book to come out because I'm super excited to see what happens next! Also, kinda hoping Estep was setting some groundwork here for a potential spinoff later with a certain young girl and her loyal gargoyle. Seriously I'm down for more Grimley and Gemma down the line! 

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review 2020-01-23 22:48
KILL THE QUEEN BY: JENNIFER ESTEP
Kill the Queen - Jennifer Estep

I read this one in day. It pretty much sucked me right in and I didn't want to put it down once I got going. I wish they'd be more careful with tag lines for books sometimes, 'Gladiator meets Game of Thrones' was very ambitious and while I can see some elements here, basically court politics and gladiator fighting, it puts a lot of pressure on a story to be a lot more intricate than it is, or has to be, I think.

 

I liked pretty much all of the characters, Evie's journey was interesting and entertaining and I love that this was only the beginning of it really. I was quite surprised to find out Evie was 28 years old. This felt much more like a YA coming of age journey to me than an adult story. Which was totally fine by me, I love that type of thing. I'm thinking the next book might kick it up a few notches from occasional swearing and one frank sex thought lol. The scenery changes were perfect, I loved discovering each new place, even if it was just different sects within the kingdom and out of the palace. I extra loved the idea of the ultimate people pleaser finally getting to find a kind of freedom and ultimately a better version of herself in doing things for her own pleasure for a change.

 

Honestly this felt like a lighter fun fantasy that had some heavier more complex stuff going on for sure but it never felt heavy to me. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the story progresses in the next book!

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review 2020-01-07 00:28
4.3 Out Of 5 STARS⇢ Protect the Prince (Queen of Shards #2) by Jennifer Estep
Protect the Prince (Crown of Shards #2) - Jennifer Estep

SYNOPSIS FROM AUTHORS WEBSITE

 

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.

Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

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…

 

 

THE KEY POINTS OF THE STORY⇣

 

HIGH FANTASY WITH AN URBAN APPEAL

POISONINGS & ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS

INTRIGUE

MAGIC

ADULT ROMANCE (DEFINITELY NOT YA)

GARGOYLES

 

THE DEETS⇣

 

AUDIO PERFORMED BY Lauren Fortgang

BOOK COVER I liked the cover on Book #1 better...but it's cool.

SETTING Bellona & Andvari

SOURCE Libby Audiobook (Library)

AUDIOBOOK LENGTH 12 hours, 40 minutes

 

MY THOUGHTS⇣

 

Despite excellent narration, an intriguing plotline, and exceptional action scenes, I found myself not into this quite as much as I was the first book in the series, but only slightly.  The best part and a new addition to this series were the gargoyles...I've never read anything with gargoyles before...and I quite liked this author's take on them.  Who knew a stone could be so lovable. 

 

If I had pinpoint what it was about this book that I didn't care for, it would have to be all the lies and deceptions going on between the two main characters.  I guess I thought Evie wasn't into that kind of drama and whatnot. Overall, I will continue with the series and I'm still hanging in there until the end, Book #3, Crush The King is due out March of 2020.

 

MY RATING 4.3 STARS | GRADE A-

 

THE BREAKDOWN⇣

Plot 4.2/5

Characters 5/5

The Feels 4/5

Pacing 4.3/5

Addictiveness 4/5

Theme or Tone 4.3/5

Flow (Writing Style) 4.5/5

Backdrop (World Building) 5/5

Originality 5/5

Ending 4.3/5

 

 

 

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