Harper Voyager | 17 March 2020 | 432 pgs
Crush the King is the last installment of Crown of Shards series and not surprisingly it was packed with more actions, more magic, and of course more murderous machinations and courtly intrigue surrounding rival kingdoms, Bellona and Morta.
In the previous two installments (Kill the Queen and Protect the Prince), the reader read about how gladiator Everleigh Blair had took the throne of Bellona after the mass murder of the royal family, leaving her the last Blair to continue with the legacy and to lead the kingdom despite her role and her lack of experience. While Everleigh may be lacking in some courtly matters, she is after all a warrior trained gladiator but she has immunity to magic, which is her strength considering she also could "smell" magic and destroy them if necessary. Everleigh has never forgotten about the Seven Spire massacre and has vowed to take revenge and that time has finally come with the arrival of the Regalia Games, whereby the warriors, nobles and royals from all the kingdoms will come together to compete in various sporting events.
Everleigh may have a grudge against Maeven who had murdered the last queen, but she is more wary of her half brother, Maximus, the conniving king of Morta who doesn't take humanity kindly and will dispose anyone who gets in his way. Although Maeven is his half sister, she's also considered a bastard sister to Maximus so he often give her a cold treatment, which in turn leads to another interesting segment to the already complicated courtly machinations.
This installment may be the last of the series, but I felt the ending leaves some possibility of a future book featuring the world of Crown of Shards and true enough, the author will have an all-new trilogy coming out in July 2021 featuring a new heroine (well, not new if you read this series). Truth be told, I was actually sad to see this trilogy has come to an end. It was like reading an adventurous coming-of-age story although this isn't categorised as YA genre. It was great to see how Everleigh has matured over the time and see her ambition changes for the sake of Bellona and the people. Her relationship with her friends was one of the fun things to read alongside the battles and they definitely deserve some attention considering they're Everleigh's entourage when plotting and fighting are concerned. I also find the worldbuilding fascinating; and not to mention the magic elements and the Strix creatures which give magical power to anyone who drinks their blood. I'd recommend this series if you like an extraordinary fantasy.
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