KILL THE QUEEN (CROWN OF SHARDS, #1) by Jennifer Estep
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Jennifer writes the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series. Kill the Queen, book #1, will be released on Oct. 2.
The Crown of Shards series focuses on Everleigh Blair, a member of the royal family who is distantly in line for the throne of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. But when the unthinkable happens, Evie finds herself fighting for her life—both inside and outside the gladiator arena.
The thrilling first novel in the Crown of Shards epic fantasy series combines magic, murder, and adventure when an unlikely member of the royal family suddenly becomes a contender in a clash for the crown . . .
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 combat, 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.
ADD TO GOODREADS
“5 – I DANCE TO A DIFFERENT BEAT – STARS!”
Just – WOW!
If I could have given this book a higher than 5-star rating, I most certainly would have.
This book was an incredible story of lies, treachery, deceit, and hidden agendas.
There were so many twists and turns and unexpected circumstances and secrets that were wonderfully executed and beautifully revealed at the end.
This story had an amazing ensemble of characters who played their roles perfectly and flawlessly right till the bitter end.
It was all about the long game, and if there was anything Evie learned from living in the shadow of the castle for fifteen years, it was that she learned how to execute her long game exquisitely.
Evie was an amazing character to read about and she developed beautifully through the story.
I loved how she found her voice, courage, and strength to stand up and be the person… the leader she was meant to be and finally say “no more”.
Great story and an amazing start to a new series!
Two hours later, I poured the last of the cranberry-apple filling into the final pie crust, then reached for the orange flakes.
“Whether you’re a cook master or not, the secret is not to overdo the orange,” Isobel instructed, the same way she had on the previous pies. “Most people shake the flakes on like they’re common salt. But too much orange, and that’s all you’ll taste. So go around the pie once, gently tapping on the jar three times with your index finger. That’s the perfect amount.”
I did as she said, watching the tiny, delicate granules melt into the fruit filling like perfumed snowflakes. Then I drew in a deep breath, letting the air roll in over my tongue and tasting all the scents in it. The buttery crust, the sugary fruit, the hint of orange that curled through it all. Delicious aromas that would bubble up and become even more pronounced, fragrant, and intense as this pie and the others baked.
Despite my own condescending view of my mutt magic, my enhanced sense of smell was one of the reasons why I had always gravitated toward Isobel and the kitchen. All the sweet scents here made the bitter reality of my life a little easier to bear.
“Perfect! That’s my girl.” Isobel beamed at me, and I smiled back at her.
She arranged a few strips of crust on top of the filling, creating a pretty lattice pattern, then slid the pie into the oven. Isobel had taken pity and had helped me make the pie crusts, although she had insisted on my preparing the cranberry-apple filling, orange flakes and all, claiming that it was the most important part.
I often helped Isobel, as I enjoyed spending time with her, and the kitchen was a welcome refuge from other, less-friendly sections of the palace. She had slowly turned me into a decent cook, despite my not being a master. But after making so many pies in a row, I had all the ingredients, measurements, and motions memorized, and I felt like I could craft them in my sleep now. Just as I could bow, curtsy, dance, and make polite, inane chitchat in several languages. And those were just some of the many trivial skills that I’d learned as the unofficial royal stand-in.
While Queen Cordelia and the rest of my Blair cousins were dealing with ambassadors and the like, I was attending all the functions they could not, due to their oh-so-important and exceedingly busy schedules.
Breakfast recitals, charity luncheons, afternoon teas. I went to all those and more every week, both here at the palace and out in the city. Most of the time, it wasn’t so bad. Usually, all I had to do was smile, nod, and shake hands, along with thanking people for their time, admiring their music, artwork, or goods, and giving short and exceptionally vague speeches about how disappointed Queen Cordelia was that she couldn’t attend herself. At the very least, I almost always got a free meal out of the proceedings.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Bigtime, and Black Blade fantasy series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)
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