"Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series is a fantasy lover’s thrill ride. Stunning magic, epic battles, masterful political plays, strong friendships, shocking twists, a touch of romance, and enemies to absolutely hate while others surprise you make this story unputdownable and one for the keeper shelf. Estep gives us a heroine to root for, whose bravery and cunning set her apart and whose compassion and loyalty will keep readers turning the pages to see what this remarkable leader will do next. Everleigh Blair isn’t only a Winter Queen; she’s an avalanche."
"Betrayal put Everleigh Blair on the throne and treachery threatens to take her off. But Queen Everleigh survives the dangerous and vindictive courtly world and emerges a true Winter Queen - this is a gripping tale of one woman's survival and triumph."
"CRUSH THE KING is a truly epic climax to a fantastic trilogy. With glittering pageantry, lethal magic, and political conniving among warring kingdoms, the story kept me rapt with anticipationand the truly glorious ending satisfied in style. The Crown of Shards is an action-packed, magical ride, and I loved seeing Everleigh grow from hunted girl to confident queen. Long live the Winter Queen!”
"Estep has crafted another winner... this addicting series remains a fun thrill a minute and is highly recommended."
Estep concludes her Crown of Shards trilogy (Protect the Prince, 2019, etc.) with a young warrior queen's long-delayed vengeance.
When the murder of Bellona's royal family set Evie on the path to claim the throne herself, she swore to kill the man responsible: evil King Maximus, of neighboring Morta. Now, after forming some alliances, she's ready for the task, as well as ready to keep fending off yet more attempts on her life. As in the previous books, the task of fighting magical assassins is made easier by Evie's unbeatable secret power of simply being immune to magic. Evie and her friends, the members of her former gladiator troupe, travel to the Regalia, a tournament of skill, with plans to use the festivities to confront and defeat Maximus—a villain so over-the-top in his sadism and arrogance that he's hard to take seriously. It's hard to take any of the threats Evie faces seriously either: Whether it's hordes of assassins, a magical tidal wave, or the supposed unmatched arcane power of Maximus himself, Evie's trump card—her magical immunity—continues to save the day. It's sadly predictable, as is the plot itself; the finale is telegraphed early on, and a supposed twist at the end is nonsensical. The supporting cast suffers, too: Lucas Sullivan, Evie's lover who drove much of Book 2, does nothing here but gaze at Evie with alternating lust or worry; Paloma, Evie's bodyguard, gets a potentially interesting subplot...that is resolved completely off-page. The endless descriptions of parties, dresses, attractive people—and the constant narrative claims that our heroine is supposedly good at intrigue—just add to the sense that we've been here before.
A disappointing conclusion to a series that certainly wants to be epic and edgy but only manages to settle into its own ruts.
Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the Seven Spire massacre, assassination attempts, and other battles on her unexpected journey to the throne. Making allies with other nations is crucial at this juncture as she is faced with the growing threat of war with Morta, whose king murdered Evie's family. Now Evie is bringing her best fighters to the Regalia Games on foreign soil, hoping to bring the other royal families to her side, while plotting her own vengeance against King Maximus and his Band of Bastards, and keeping her subjects and loved ones safe from harm. She just has to survive the games first. VERDICT Estep (Protect the Prince) knows how to create strong and relatable fantasy female leads. Evie's rise into her power in deeds and magic is a fabulous, inspiring read. Solid writing, bold characters, and action-filled sequences create an exciting finish for this trilogy. [See Prepub Alert, 9/16/19.]—Kristi Chadwick, Massachusetts Lib. Syst., Northampton