HarperCollins Publishers | July 2019 | 448 pgs
Source: Library 

(This review contains little spoilers of the first book, Kill the Queen.)

This is the second installment of Jennifer Estep's Crown of Shards series and the story picks up right where it left off in the first book. 

Three months have passed after the royal massacre at Seven Spire palace in the kingdom of Bellona. Lady Everleigh "Evie" Blair managed to overcome a conspiracy at the last minute but she couldn't save Queen Cordelia from her death. Now that Evie is the new gladiator queen of Bellona, not only she has to gain confidence from the Bellonan people that she'd be competent in her new role but also to think of Bellona's future and what she should do to prevent the Mortans from attacking them again. Why, she'd nearly died from poison from a recent secret assassination if not of her enhanced sense of smell and her immunity to magic. 

For diplomatic reason as well as to secure an alliance, she travels to the neighbouring kingdom of Andvari despite dangers are lurking everywhere. But King Heinrich of Andvari wouldn't let things off so easily for her; after all one of his sons, Prince Frederick, and a respected lord were killed in her land during the royal massacre. 

To complicate matters, it seems there are more dark magic works and conspiracies even in Andvari court and she is keen to flush out the traitor even if it means she has to sacrifice her love for Lucas Sullivan, the bastard prince of Andvari, even though she isn't sure if they even have a future together given their status. 

I've to say I enjoyed this installment more than the first one. While the first book was very much on the world-building and the characters (well, it still is in this one), this latest installment was more onto emotional struggles and of course, lots more conspiracies and not to mention some romance element, too. I'm also glad to see a stronger Evie here as she portrayed her new role as a Winter Queen while still trying to maintain her good old self. And, are you fascinated by gargoyles like I do? Well, they're both deadly and adorable creatures here, depending on the circumstances. All in all, this was a very satisfying read to me. Crush the King is the title for the next installment and I'm so looking forward to it, which will only be available in March 2020.

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8 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    I still need to read the first one!

  2. Melody Says:

    Lark - I think you might like this series, Lark. :)

  3. Kay Says:

    I want to read this series too. I have the first book and my library has this one. Maybe later this winter. :-)

  4. Melody Says:

    Kay - I hope you'll enjoy this series as much as I did, Kay. :)

  5. jenclair Says:

    I need the first one--I think I'd enjoy this series. :)

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I hope you'll like it as much as I did if you get to them, Jenclair. :)

  7. Iliana Says:

    I can imagine that in fantasy novels there is a lot of creating worlds that takes place in the first books as opposed to subsequent books. Glad to hear you enjoyed this one!

  8. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Indeed, Iliana. I'm glad this series is an enjoyable one in all aspects.

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