I enjoyed listening to Kill the Queen on Audible and, overall, I liked it. The narrator was decent. The differing chatacter's voices were easily discernable and by the end I couldn't picture Evie with any other voice. NOW, that aside, I am compelled to tell you that this book is undeniably trope-y. Yes, it is trope-tastic but it is also written very well. The royal intrigue and machinations that can easily become overwhelming weren't present so there was no danger of becoming trapped in the quagmire of royal names, relations and lineage. The pace was nice but there weren't many twisty turns and for that I think Mrs. Estep missed the mark.
The MC, Lady Everleigh (aka Evie), was a cold rage hardened badass heroine who would rather save herself than wait around to be rescued. She never gave up and never laid around feeling sorry for herself. She wasn't afraid to put in the hard work necessary to achieve her goals and overall, was a highly likeable character. There was also a motley crew of supporting cast so likeable/detestable that I truly loved them all.... except for a certain queen... yes Vasilia, I'm looking at you... you crazy mamma jamma!!
The climatic clash between the Royal Blaires was not as epic as I had hoped. I think that Evie's magical ability/inability was probably the determining factor for how lengthy the fight could realistically have dragged on and in that respect it wasn't paltry. Speaking of paltry, now on to the romance... yes there was romance and before you groan you should know that it was SUPER tame and demure and borderline nonexistent. If you like your Fantasy on the chaste side then this is for you.
Though knee deep in cliches, the writing was so engaging that I didn't feel the need to throw it off the nearest cliff to be dashed to pieces on the jagged rocks below. What was the world building like you might wonder?? WELL, I'm glad you asked but sorry to report that the world building was on the super lean (boarderline anorexic) side, especially for an Epic Fantasy. BUT because the character development was on point, I didn't mind... a miracle you say?!? Yes, a Holiday Miracle!!...or just exemplary writing... they feel the same sometimes.
I classify this as a fun, fast paced, moderately descriptive, non twisty, romance-lite, High(ish) Fantasy. It sounds weird but with the lack of meticulous attention to World/Magic System/Courtly developments means it isn't a "true" High Fantasy in my eyes. I know that seems a bit harsh but I mean it in the best possible way and the description fits so snugly that I'm leaving it there. I do want to add that cliches and tropes and stereotypes are loved by so many for a reason and that they are used over and over again and, as long as the writing can carry its own, we can't help but love 'em! Me included!
If you don't mind your stories a little on the floofier side (it's a thing... or at least NOW it's a thing) with well written yet predictable trope-y cliches abound, then I think Kill the Queen will be an excellent fit for you!
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.
This first entry in the Crown of Shards Series opens up with this magically fantastical and intriguing world that feels part medieval mixed with some modern flourishes. The cover encompasses this medieval-modern-ness that it has going on, perfectly. This is billed as Gladiator meets Game of Thrones (albeit it's a whole lot cleaner than GOT) and from what I know of those works...it's a fairly apt description.
This book doesn't burden you with a whole lot of info dumping, it cuts right to the action and doesn't let up until the end. This fast-pace is paired with a 28-year-old heroine that isn't the typical teenager heroine that you get with Fantasy. There is also only a splash of romance and it's kept fairly tame, but for me personally, I hope that the romance heats up a bit in the second book. Overall this was exquisitely bad-ass and I couldn't stop listening and I totally can't wait to listen to the sequel.
☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+
Thanks to Jennifer Estep publishing and Amazon Digital Services for allowing me an advanced readers copy.
It is set to be released on Jan 15, 2019
SPARTAN PROMISE DESCRIPTION:
Hunting for the bad guys has never been so dangerous . . .
My name is Rory Forseti, and I attend the Colorado branch of Mythos Academy, a school of warrior kids, powerful artifacts, and mythological monsters.
I’m a student, a fierce Spartan warrior, and a member of Team Midgard, a group of kids and adults tasked with stopping the evil Reapers of Chaos. There is one Reaper I’m determined to hunt down above all others: Covington, the man who murdered my parents.
So when the Midgard gets a tip that Covington is going to try to steal a dangerous artifact, I’m ready to fight. But the situation is far more complicated than it seems, and the Reapers aren’t my only enemies.
I’ll have to use all my Spartan strength and skills to survive this. And even then, it might be my blood that gets spilled . . .
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.
This was a fantastic story! As soon as I saw this book online, I knew that I wanted to read it. Since this book is the beginning of a brand new series, I was really excited to give it a try. I did have a bit of a slow start with this book but that had everything to do with me and nothing to do with the book because the book was great. Once I had some time to dedicate to reading, I ended up devouring the bulk of this book in a single day. This was a story that grabbed me and didn't want to let go.
Lady Everleigh's life is about to change. She lives in the royal court and is actually seventeenth in line for the throne but she is treated rather poorly. She is often the token royal sent to do the things that more important royals don't want to do like bake pies or learn complicated dances. Things go horribly wrong at an event at the palace and soon Everleigh is more focused on survival than anything else.
I try to go into books as blindly as possible and I don't think I even read the entire summary for this book before I got started with it. I do recommend going into this one blindly because I think that the book's summary gives a whole lot away. I was completely shocked by some of the turns this book took which I think added to my enjoyment.
I thought that Everleigh was a fantastic character. I loved how much growth we saw in her over the course of the story. She starts out knowing her place in the world and just trying to do what was expected of her to the best of her ability. She proves to be quite resourceful and has a lot of strength she didn't know she had. Even at her toughest, she never stopped thinking about others and was willing to make huge sacrifices in order to protect those she cared about.
This book had a lot going for it. There are some pretty intense action scenes that really kept the excitement level high. I thought that the world building was very well done and loved all of the different ways that magic could manifest in an individual. I thought that the relationships between the characters were very well done and felt quite authentic. I liked that there is just a hint of romance worked into the story.
I would highly recommend this book to fans of fantasy or urban fiction. I thought that this book was a fantastic story filled with a lot of action and characters that I grew to care about. I can't wait to read more from this wonderful series!
I received a digital review copy of this book from Harper Voyager via Edelweiss.
This was really good! I kind of had a slow start with this one but that had everything to do with my life and nothing to do with the book. Once I had the chance to really sit down and read, I didn't want to put this book down for a moment. I just loved the characters and thought that the world-building was very well done. There was plenty of action to keep the story moving forward. I can't wait to read more from the series.