3 out of 5 stars
Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep was a solid, entertaining fantasy but it did not blow me away. The world building was fine, the magic system was believable, and the plot ticked all the boxes. That being said, the things that killed it for me were the usual fantasy tropes, the heroine who becomes an expert fighter in mere weeks, the villain (in this case, the Princess Vasilia) with zero redeeming qualities, the plucky band of supporting characters, add in a dash of romance and the whole thing felt lacking and a bit unoriginal.
From the cover description:
Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.
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 war, 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.
It was a quick read and I was entertained which is why I gave it three stars but I probably won’t pick up the second book in the series. That’s all for today. Happy reading, everyone!