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!