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A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance. Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance. Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.  There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes. Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.


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A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance. Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder A fierce gladiator queen must face off against her enemies in an epic battle in this next thrilling installment of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series—an action-packed adventure full of magic, murderous machinations, courtly intrigue, and pulse-pounding romance. Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies.  There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes. Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king.

30 review for Crush the King

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    Jennifer Estep knows how to not only create some of the very best imaginative worlds out there, but characters who are fierce and brave. Raw and relatable. People you want to know, embrace and hang out with, danger or no danger that seems to constantly haunt them. She seamlessly knows how to blend realism with fantasy and make something so irresistible and hard to put down, that you never want to leave the worlds you have suddenly become a part of. I have felt that way about many of her books and Jennifer Estep knows how to not only create some of the very best imaginative worlds out there, but characters who are fierce and brave. Raw and relatable. People you want to know, embrace and hang out with, danger or no danger that seems to constantly haunt them. She seamlessly knows how to blend realism with fantasy and make something so irresistible and hard to put down, that you never want to leave the worlds you have suddenly become a part of. I have felt that way about many of her books and series, but with the Crown of Shards series, for whatever reason, I connected with it immediately and never wanted the books to end. Each one is an amazing, action packed adventure with just the right amount of all the good stuff. Romance, danger, magic, food, friendship, deceit, lies, battles to the death, you name it, it has it and then some. Her latest is no exception to the rule. I adored this. I relished it, I devoured it, I. Wanted. More. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    Blogt | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | B&N Thank you NetGalley and Harper Voyager for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. "I had killed a queen, protected a prince, and crushed a king. But most of all, I had survived." The king is dead, long live the queens, and the Crown of Shards series seems to have come to an end. Everleigh has worked, trained, sweated and bled from the moment that her family was slaughtered in Kill the Queen to this point, and the ending was as fitting as it was d Blogt | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | B&N Thank you NetGalley and Harper Voyager for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine. "I had killed a queen, protected a prince, and crushed a king. But most of all, I had survived." The king is dead, long live the queens, and the Crown of Shards series seems to have come to an end. Everleigh has worked, trained, sweated and bled from the moment that her family was slaughtered in Kill the Queen to this point, and the ending was as fitting as it was deserving. The star of Crush the King, from the moment that he made the first appearance, was Maximus. Despite the overdone name that he has been granted, he is a delightful villain and exerts the power and cruelty that befits his personality and station beautifully. Maximus drove the story, and even though he is the “bad guy,” he is a pleasure to read. I was almost rooting for him to win that last battle against Evie, and while her success was crucial, I believe that it was far too easily obtained. To go against a powerful magier—no matter how he gained his power—that has been on the throne for years and beat him, when you have been using your own power to its full potential and training in battle tactics for a mere few months was not quite believable. The thing that saved this face-off resulting in Maximus' death was Maeven's interference and the fact that his end came at her hand. Living through the Regalia Games was as entertaining as I imagined it would be. The story certainly brought to life the energy that everyone seemed to be exuding throughout the three days of celebration. It was, as usual, great to be in the forefront for the gladiator games that were presented—Paloma shone in her fight against Mercer, and her defeat of him was one of my favorite scenes, overall, from the three books—and interesting to visit the island of Fortuna. And the many assassination attempts on Evie and her friends did not disappoint. As usual, they were as fun to behold as they have been this whole time, with the pinnacle of them all being Evie's stand-off on the bridge leading to/from Bellona against the Bastard Brigade. You always know that she is going to win these moments—which is relieving, and a let down, because sometimes a loss introduces even more possibility for drama that is not overdone but rather interesting—but they are still diverting. This book does not feel like the last of the lot, because there is still so much that seems to have been left open-ended. From the possibility that Maeven will come after Evie again, to Seraphine DiLucri's mysterious interest in the Bellonan queen, to the fact that I am almost positive Leonidas is the boy that Gemma came across when she, Xenia and Alvis were escaping Bellona for Andvari in the first book and how that might pop back up in the future for the benefit or detriment of the two kingdoms. Especially considering how powerful both youths have the potential of being. I don't know if more story will be introduced at a later date, but a spin-off would be fitting. Everleigh's character concluded itself to be a good queen for Bellona in the end after all, and the maturing that she has gone through has come at a steady pace. It fits well. However, the abilities that she has attained sometimes don't come across too clearly in action, and her incessant descriptions of scents as relating to emotions—as well as her mention of playing “the long game”--are repeated so many times that they are tiring. And distracting. At this point, I look at anything scented “vanilla” and the name of Sullivan pops into my mind automatically. Speaking of, her relationship with Sullivan, although sparkling at the beginning, oddly enough diluted for me by the time that we arrived at this book. I am glad that they're together, but reading their scenes was more so settling rather than satisfying. I do think that the cast of secondary characters as a whole—namely the tight group of friends on her side—deserve(d) more attention and more life of their own. It left me wanting, and it's another reason why this book seems like it has paused in the middle of this series rather than at its end. I still flew through this book, and there was plenty of action to keep one glued to its pages. It's a captivating installment, and while it may not seem as the last even if that's the impression that it means to give, it certainly closed on a good note.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I devoured this book! I always have a long list of books that I need to be reading and I try to work through those books in order but every once in awhile a book comes along and all of my plans are thrown out. I just had to get started with this book as soon as I had a copy in my hands and once I started, I couldn't put it down. It is just that good! Evie and her group are on the defensive once again. It seems like the assassins just This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I devoured this book! I always have a long list of books that I need to be reading and I try to work through those books in order but every once in awhile a book comes along and all of my plans are thrown out. I just had to get started with this book as soon as I had a copy in my hands and once I started, I couldn't put it down. It is just that good! Evie and her group are on the defensive once again. It seems like the assassins just are not going to stop trying to get to Evie so she wants to turn things around and go on the offensive. It is time for the Regalia Games and Evie is gathering her times to match up against the other nearby kingdoms. There is a lot at stake and all eyes will be on Evie for the duration of the event. I think that I grow to love Evie more and more with each book in this series. She is smart and seems to be able to think several steps ahead at all times. She is incredibly brave and will put herself on the line when necessary. She never planned to be queen and hasn't trained for it like most have the opportunity to do but she is a natural. She wants what is best for her kingdom and really does care about others. This book was incredibly exciting. From the early assassination attempt until the final scene, I couldn't look away. I had no idea how things would go and I was pretty worried about the characters several times during the story. There was a lot of action but there was also a lot of political maneuvering which was a lot of fun to watch as well. I loved that the book was able to keep me guessing until the very end. I would highly recommend this series to others. I would recommend reading the series in order since each book builds on the events from the previous installment. I will say that this book felt very final to me which was a bit of a surprise. I hope that we see more books in the series and the finality that I felt was just the conclusion of a larger story arc. I definitely plan to read more from this very talented author. I received a digital review copy of this book from Harper Voyager via Edelweiss. Initial Thoughts I devoured this book! I have so many other books that I need to read and review but I just couldn't wait to get started with this one and once I started, I just couldn't put it down. Evie and her crew are on the defense once again and are working to go on the offensive. The group is off to the Regalia Games to match up against the other kingdoms. This book had just the right amount of action, magic, and strategy to keep things very interesting. I did think that this book felt very final. I had thought that this would be a series but maybe it is a trilogy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Laura (crofteereader)

    Definitely the weakest of the series thus far, Crush the King takes the trope-heavy style of the previous book to another level. Drifting from conflict to conflict with increasing stakes, Crush the King leaves behind important facets of a well-rounded story, namely character development. The previous books have all been about how Evie grows and adapts to the challenges that she faces, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. She's suddenly so sure of the extent of her magic that she doesn't hes Definitely the weakest of the series thus far, Crush the King takes the trope-heavy style of the previous book to another level. Drifting from conflict to conflict with increasing stakes, Crush the King leaves behind important facets of a well-rounded story, namely character development. The previous books have all been about how Evie grows and adapts to the challenges that she faces, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. She's suddenly so sure of the extent of her magic that she doesn't hesitate to use it in times of danger. Fine, maybe she's practiced. However, when she faces increasingly ridiculous levels of magic that she counteracts with no apparent consequences? That's just lazy. Plus, her memories of childhood and using her magic as a weapon goes against what we learned of her in the first book: that she had never THOUGHT to weaponize her uncanny magic before. The supporting cast was also strangely absent. Paloma and Sullivan, who both played huge and crucial roles in especially the first book, now only exist for banter and sex, respectively. Like, on 3-4 separate occasions Evie sneaks out of bed while Sullivan is sleeping - like, if he's not going to be present, why is he here? Why did we spend two whole books chasing after him just to have him as a decision? Also - Cho who? Serilda who? Xenia who? And the villains. Maximus was a cartoon villain. He was predictable and garish and superior. Most of the words out of his mouth consisted of gloating over his superiority or dismissing someone or yelling at someone. Boring. At least Maeven has a little bit of something going for her - and that something is two previous books where she was a sincere threat and a clever antagonist. Even Evie's interactions with these characters sounded like a confrontation straight out of an animated Disney movie (with some cursing thrown in). One thing that Estep does exceedingly well, though, are fight scenes. She almost goes out of her way to find an excuse to write a sword fight or melee in at least every 50 pages. Plus, the structure of a world built on a gladiator tradition remains really freaking cool. Thank you Harper Voyager and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Madison Warner Fairbanks

    Crush the King by Jennifer Estep 3rd book in the Crown of Shards series. Trilogy conclusion. Urban fantasy. Best read as part of the series. Enemies are never subtle in their attempts to kill Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona. Even though her entire family was killed, Everleigh’s friends from her Gladiator years have her back so she is not alone. It’s a good thing because the conniving King of Morta will do anything to take over the Bellona lands. Magic, sacrifice and betrayal. Fantastic continuatio Crush the King by Jennifer Estep 3rd book in the Crown of Shards series. Trilogy conclusion. Urban fantasy. Best read as part of the series. Enemies are never subtle in their attempts to kill Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona. Even though her entire family was killed, Everleigh’s friends from her Gladiator years have her back so she is not alone. It’s a good thing because the conniving King of Morta will do anything to take over the Bellona lands. Magic, sacrifice and betrayal. Fantastic continuation of the series. The threat is everywhere for Everleigh. She wields her compassion better than her enemies throw threats. She’s not to soft to kill if she has to but it won’t be an innocent in the crossfire. Exciting and captivating. And even though it’s the conclusion of the trilogy, I’m thrilled to know there more coming in the series. I can’t wait.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melliane

    4.5/5 Mon avis en français My English review I really like Jennifer Estep and after having a very good time with the first two volumes, I only wanted to dive into this third opus! Evie doesn’t have time to get bored with everything that falls on her and it’s now the turn of the Regalia Games! But here it is, all the numbers and members of the royalty will be present, which means that her lifelong enemy will also be there. Determined to stop letting herself be carried away and to attack, our heroine 4.5/5 Mon avis en français My English review I really like Jennifer Estep and after having a very good time with the first two volumes, I only wanted to dive into this third opus! Evie doesn’t have time to get bored with everything that falls on her and it’s now the turn of the Regalia Games! But here it is, all the numbers and members of the royalty will be present, which means that her lifelong enemy will also be there. Determined to stop letting herself be carried away and to attack, our heroine will do everything in her power to destroy her opponent. Problem? He has the same idea. It was once again a great novel and I had a great time with Evie and the other characters. We learn some revelations that we don’t necessarily see coming and we find all the characters we love. Evie is evolving while still trying to do the best for her kingdom, even if her life is at stake! I don’t know if this novel is the last one, but in any case, it’s a series that’s really worth discovering.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    ⇢ 3.25 ✰STARS✰ ⤏ FANTASTICAL WITH A MIX OF CONTEMPORARY ⤏ MAGIC SYSTEM ⤏ SEX, LANGUAGE & VIOLENCE ⤏ EVEN MORE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS MY THOUGHTS⇣ I loved the first book and rated it 5 stars. I liked the second book and rated it 4¼ stars and this one just kept that downhill momentum with a rating of 3¼ stars. My quick thoughts on each... Kill The Queen : One of the best covers ever for a fantasy. Loved the adultness of it...the bad-ass heroine with a bad-ass storyline to boot and I also loved ⇢ 3.25 ✰STARS✰ ⤏ FANTASTICAL WITH A MIX OF CONTEMPORARY ⤏ MAGIC SYSTEM ⤏ SEX, LANGUAGE & VIOLENCE ⤏ EVEN MORE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPTS MY THOUGHTS⇣ I loved the first book and rated it 5 stars. I liked the second book and rated it 4¼ stars and this one just kept that downhill momentum with a rating of 3¼ stars. My quick thoughts on each... Kill The Queen : One of the best covers ever for a fantasy. Loved the adultness of it...the bad-ass heroine with a bad-ass storyline to boot and I also loved Sullivan. Couldn't wait for book #2. Protect The Prince : The Gargoyles were fantastic. Not enough Sullivan...not enough bad-assery, way too many assassination attempts...we get it...she's a mutt with her pittance of magic...but since she can drain others magic...she can't be killed. I liked her better when she wasn't such a special snowflake. Oh, and the cover basically sucks. Crush The King : Wanted it to be more than it actually was, Way too repetitive with the multitude of assassination attempts...again. Very little Sully...basically, he was just her consort (or f*ckboy). I didn't like how he was relegated to the background. It was an okay ending, which was a disappointment overall because I really loved the first book and felt that it could have been so much more. This cover is better than book #2, but still kind of blah...other than the color. Overall : I think this series could have been scaled down to two books easily, with fewer assassination attempts and if she could have stopped repeating certain phrases over and over again (i.e. is hot spicy Jalapeno scent, or she plays the long game, and the list goes on)it was maddening. BREAKDOWN⇣ Plot⇢ 3/5 Characters⇢ 4/5 The Feels⇢ 2/5 Pacing⇢ 3/5 Addictiveness⇢ 3/5 Theme or Tone⇢ 3/5 Flow (Writing Style)⇢ 3.5/5 Steaminess/Story Ratio⇢ 5/95 Originality⇢ 3/5 Ending⇢ 3.5/5 BOOK DETAILS⇣ AUDIO PERFORMED BY⇢ LAUREN FORTGANG SOURCE⇢ LIBBY AUDIOBOOK (LIBRARY) AUDIOBOOK LENGTH⇢ 13 HOURS, 59 MINUTES

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    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. 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. A fantastic book with intrigue, battles, revenge, and just enough romance to keep this romance-lover happy. I highly recommend the whole series!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽♔

    Rating ~3.5 *review to come*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mei

    And the title says it all! Evie is even more Machiavellian here! She's playing the long game like a champ! I loved the intricacies! They're not so diffucult to understand, but all the others, friends and enemies alike, don't see them at all! Evie must exlain them step by step otherwise they'll just rush ahead and ruin everything! I loved this book and hope Ms. Estep will continue the story! I'm so curious to know why Seraphine want to kidnap Evie!! And the title says it all! Evie is even more Machiavellian here! She's playing the long game like a champ! I loved the intricacies! They're not so diffucult to understand, but all the others, friends and enemies alike, don't see them at all! Evie must exlain them step by step otherwise they'll just rush ahead and ruin everything! I loved this book and hope Ms. Estep will continue the story! I'm so curious to know why Seraphine want to kidnap Evie!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Do you ever get so caught up in a tale that you find yourself holding your hand over your mouth, tension and excitement battling for dominance, but you just can’t put it down because it’s that good? Well, that is what it is like reading every single book in Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series. Stunning, Riveting, and an Outstanding Epic Fantasy Read! I flat out loved this series! You couldn’t help but get behind Evie, what an amazing heroine, remarkably loyal and leader. Battles, romance, ma Do you ever get so caught up in a tale that you find yourself holding your hand over your mouth, tension and excitement battling for dominance, but you just can’t put it down because it’s that good? Well, that is what it is like reading every single book in Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series. Stunning, Riveting, and an Outstanding Epic Fantasy Read! I flat out loved this series! You couldn’t help but get behind Evie, what an amazing heroine, remarkably loyal and leader. Battles, romance, magic and mayhem with stunning and masterfully executed storytelling, Crush the King had it all. I received this ARC copy of Crush the King from Harper Collins - Harper Voyager. This is my honest and voluntary review. Crush the King is set for publication March 17, 2020. My Rating: 5 stars Favorite Read Series: A Crown of Shards Novel (Book 3) Paperback: 432 pages Publisher: Harper Voyager (March 17, 2020) ISBN-10: 0062797697 ISBN-13: 978-0062797698 Genre: Epic Fantasy Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Crush-King-Cro... Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/crus... Itunes: https://books.apple.com/us/book/crush...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3) by Jennifer Estep is the most recent installment of one of my current favorite adult epic fantasy series. I was thrilled to have been approved to have the chance to read this early for review since I've loved both previous installments. Needless to say, my expectations were sky high and luckily for me I loved every second of this too. I don't know how Estep does it, but this series just keeps ge I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Crush the King (Crown of Shards #3) by Jennifer Estep is the most recent installment of one of my current favorite adult epic fantasy series. I was thrilled to have been approved to have the chance to read this early for review since I've loved both previous installments. Needless to say, my expectations were sky high and luckily for me I loved every second of this too. I don't know how Estep does it, but this series just keeps getting better. It's great to be back in this world and see Everleigh and Sullivan again. It's really sucked me right in. It has just about everything you could want from magic, epic battles, intrigue, and just the right amount of romance. If you haven't started this series yet, what are you waiting for? I'm hoping that we'll get to see more of this world again in the future. I need to read more of Jennifer Estep's novels to tide myself over until that time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Grüffeline

    Queen's don't have the luxury of blind bloodlust. 4.25 stars What a finale. Jennifer Estep rarely disappoints and has brought this trilogy to a really stunning ending, weaving all three books together. It was beautifully done and I'm already looking forward to revisiting Seven Spires. The characters and the writing style were all amazing, my only point against full five stars is that I wasn't really moved by the book. Intrugied, yes. But I didn't cry and I didn't really laugh, I didn't get pul Queen's don't have the luxury of blind bloodlust. 4.25 stars What a finale. Jennifer Estep rarely disappoints and has brought this trilogy to a really stunning ending, weaving all three books together. It was beautifully done and I'm already looking forward to revisiting Seven Spires. The characters and the writing style were all amazing, my only point against full five stars is that I wasn't really moved by the book. Intrugied, yes. But I didn't cry and I didn't really laugh, I didn't get pulled in 100% although setting it aside wasn't too easy. Plus, I really want a strix now.

  14. 4 out of 5

    TJ

    Love this series! This installment is just as action-packed and filled with intrigue and twists as the previous two. I was really disappointed that Sullivan is no more than a background blip in this story, though. Now that Everleigh and he are together, he just melts into the walls only to come out if she needs sex. Why can’t a couple fight together? Evie utilizes her other friends but we see nothing of Sullivan’s strengths. *sigh*. Otherwise it is absolute awesomeness!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"

    Audiobook Review   5 stars   She did it again! Swept me off my feet. And that’s where I just wonder why I waited so long to read Jennifer Estep’s books! I had the same reaction when I read the Red Winter trilogy by Annette Marie.   Both Jennifer and Annette are not as well known as Cassandra Clare, Sarah J Maas and the likes but dang! Can they write epic stories that don’t let you go before the last page!   I began this series as I had seen that Lauren Fortgang, one of my favorite narrators, was na Audiobook Review   5 stars   She did it again! Swept me off my feet. And that’s where I just wonder why I waited so long to read Jennifer Estep’s books! I had the same reaction when I read the Red Winter trilogy by Annette Marie.   Both Jennifer and Annette are not as well known as Cassandra Clare, Sarah J Maas and the likes but dang! Can they write epic stories that don’t let you go before the last page!   I began this series as I had seen that Lauren Fortgang, one of my favorite narrators, was narrating the books. But if the narrator can add something to the story, a badly written or uninteresting story will never feel good, whatever the narrator’s talent! I have been really awestruck by Jennifer Estep’s gift to create a kickass heroine.   Evie is the underdog at the beginning of the trilogy. In a universe filled with magic, she is a mutt, a weak user. Her only talent that we can see is her extreme sense of smell. Not as glamorous as weather mage, or ogre or… But if you have read the first two books, you know there is more than that to Evie! I loved how Jennifer Estep made us slowly discover the extent of Evie’s power. And that’s not as if she had tricked us and hidden something from the beginning! No Evie had no idea the magnitude of her true skills and she learned to master these, right alongside us!   Characters who don’t begin as all powerful is one of my favorite tropes. Because they have to work to better themselves. Kind of the majority of us. And that makes them so relatable! Evie was never fated to become the queen of Bellona. She was no heir of the queen, no chosen one from a prophecy. No, she came into power after a massacre and since she had to prove to everyone in her country, especially every noble that she was worth of the crown. Not knowing her true power in the beginning, she learned to defend herself with a gladiator troupe. And the beginning of her training was brutal. Countless times more experienced gladiators kicked her behind. But she is cunning and determined.   That made her rise into power even more interesting. Exhilarating even as I cheered for Evie all the time! This third book was less focused on her hot love story with Sullivan but rather on her goal to finally crush Maximillian, the Morten king. I loved all the scheming and plotting. Evie plays the long game and things will fall into place that you had no idea before. I was amazed by Jennifer Estep’s scheming! It was a thing of beauty seeing Evie outsmarting the evil king! But the king is powerful So, so powerful! I had no idea how powerful and cruel the king was.   One thing that I also really appreciate on top of the “kicking butt” and “outsmarting” and “goading the villain” was the chapters about Evie’s past. Piece by piece we learn more about what happened when she escaped her parents killing. And it all came together splendidly, many years later.   I am sad to leave this world. To leave Evie, Sullivan , Paloma and everyone else behind. This has been a epic journey and it won’t be my last book by Jennifer Estep.   Have you read this series? Or other books by Jennifer Estep?   Thanks for reading!   Sophie Find me on: Wordpress: Beware Of The Reader Facebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    Crush the King is a fantastic novel. It didn't disappoint at all. Crush the King is a fantastic novel. It didn't disappoint at all.

  17. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    Gads that was good. Full RTC

  18. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    CRUSH THE KING is the third installment in the Crown of Shards series by Jennifer Estep. This series has some really fantastic elements to it that initially made me very excited. While I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was hoping for a little bit more of an exciting premise for this one. I don’t normally say this about Estep’s writing because she can usually pen a really fun read, but for some reason, I struggled with this one a bit more. I’m not sure if it was because I wa CRUSH THE KING is the third installment in the Crown of Shards series by Jennifer Estep. This series has some really fantastic elements to it that initially made me very excited. While I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, I was hoping for a little bit more of an exciting premise for this one. I don’t normally say this about Estep’s writing because she can usually pen a really fun read, but for some reason, I struggled with this one a bit more. I’m not sure if it was because I wasn’t connecting with the characters in the ways I thought I would, but I just found myself putting down the book a little more often than usual. The fantasy elements that usually capture my attention didn’t this time and I think it was more because I just I was growing a bit tired of the world. I do think there are some interesting parts, but I just didn’t like this book as much as the others. Since this is the end of the trilogy, I’m wondering what Estep has planned next. This series was a nice departure from her usual worlds that she writes, but I do hope that if she does try to write Fantasy again that she also tries adjusting her writing style so that it fits with the genre more.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/04/14/... This fun fantasy trilogy has come to an end, and like the previous two novels, this one was a blast. Once more we return to the kingdom of Bellona where Queen Evie continues to fend off threats to her crown. After all the attempted coups and assassination attempts, she has learned a great deal and now must go on the offense instead of waiting for the next attack. She also needs allies, and there is no better opportunity th 4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2020/04/14/... This fun fantasy trilogy has come to an end, and like the previous two novels, this one was a blast. Once more we return to the kingdom of Bellona where Queen Evie continues to fend off threats to her crown. After all the attempted coups and assassination attempts, she has learned a great deal and now must go on the offense instead of waiting for the next attack. She also needs allies, and there is no better opportunity than the upcoming Regalia Games to kill two birds with one stone. During these games is when dignitaries from all over the world come together to watch their greatest warriors compete in the various events to show off their sporting and fighting skills. Evie makes a note to keep a careful eye on the king of Morta, who has already tried to kill her many times. However, she is also hoping to make some friends and cut a few deals, and to do that she will need to impress the right people. As with all plans though, things don’t go exactly as she wants them to, forcing her to think and act fast on the fly. Although she has her magic to help her, there is still a lot to learn in order to reach her full potential. Crown of Shards is one of those series you can kick back and relax with, knowing all the books will deliver straightforward entertainment and a good time. Granted, the action has died down ever since our protagonist became queen and her gladiator roots have faded a little into the background, but now we have some extra intrigue to make up for it. Evie doesn’t stop for a second in this book, whether she is scheming behind the scenes or practicing for the dance-off of a lifetime. They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but what to do when your archnemesis and her evil conniving brother are literally in the next camp over plotting your demise? There’s a lot of manipulation to be sure, of Evie trying to stay one step ahead of Maeve and Maximus, as well as some surprising gamechangers. That said, if I had to nitpick and find one point of criticism, it is that there is barely any suspense or feeling that Evie is ever in any real danger. There’s always her magic to save her, or her incredible foresight has somehow yet again prevented her from certain death. Still, this was what I as alluding to when I said you can truly let your guard down with this book and let it take you on a carefree trope-laden journey where you know everything will turn out just fine—and I do mean that in the best way possible. I don’t deny we’re treading a lot of familiar ground here, but if you’ve been following this series since the beginning, you already know about its penchant for clichés and well-worn plot points. And like me, if you’re still here, you don’t mind. Besides, just because something’s tropey doesn’t mean it can’t be satisfying. Case in point, I loved how the book ended. Sure, it wasn’t the most unexpected of endings, but it was the right one for this trilogy, and for Evie’s character. I also liked that we had just the slightest touch of romance. A main concern for me after finishing the first book was that the rest of the series would be focusing too much on the love story between Evie and Sullivan, but this was definitely not how things turned out. In fact, of the three books, Crush the King was probably the lightest on romance, which was a good move as it allowed the political intrigue in the story to really shine through. In addition, there was nothing to overshadow all of Evie’s successes which she achieved by herself by employing her own intellect and courage. So once again I had a great time with a Crown of Shards novel, and I think this would be a great choice for anyone looking for a lighter fantasy series as a counterpoint to some of the darker, more overly-complicated stuff out there. Reaching the end of this trilogy also made me glad that I picked up Kill the Queen to begin with, as it was my very first book by Jennifer Estep. For her first try at an epic fantasy, I thought it was very impressive, and clearly she found an easy, sassy style that worked for herself and for readers. I look forward to her next project, and if we’re lucky, hopefully she’ll continue to explore the genre.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Jennifer Estep is so good at creating big warm hearted characters, fiercely loyal to friends and family. There are a few similarities between Gin Blanco and Queen Everleigh: they both have a great sense of smell- this will either endear them to you or drive you crazy (his jalapeño rage; his cool vanilla scent). These little tics in both the Elemental Assassin series and this one have *niggled* a bit, but mostly pleased and comforted, returning to an enjoyably relaxing read. That is not to say th Jennifer Estep is so good at creating big warm hearted characters, fiercely loyal to friends and family. There are a few similarities between Gin Blanco and Queen Everleigh: they both have a great sense of smell- this will either endear them to you or drive you crazy (his jalapeño rage; his cool vanilla scent). These little tics in both the Elemental Assassin series and this one have *niggled* a bit, but mostly pleased and comforted, returning to an enjoyably relaxing read. That is not to say that the pace was slow- it certainly wasn’t. And the Evil Baddies in this story are unrelenting in their nefarious attempts on the queen. This Estep series was different for me because it is not urban fantasy. I very much enjoyed the change in setting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: Crush the King Series: Crown of Shards #3 Author: Jennifer Estep Release date: March 17, 2020 Cliffhanger: no Genre: fantasy Evie has evolved so much from book one that it's like she's been reborn into the bolder, fiercer woman she was meant to be. Once she existed in the shadows, simply trying to blend into the background to keep from becoming a target. In the second installment, she had an adjustment period where she settled into being the new queen. In Crush the King, all of Evie's preparat Title: Crush the King Series: Crown of Shards #3 Author: Jennifer Estep Release date: March 17, 2020 Cliffhanger: no Genre: fantasy Evie has evolved so much from book one that it's like she's been reborn into the bolder, fiercer woman she was meant to be. Once she existed in the shadows, simply trying to blend into the background to keep from becoming a target. In the second installment, she had an adjustment period where she settled into being the new queen. In Crush the King, all of Evie's preparations and plans will now be put to the test. Maeven isn't the only enemy she has, in fact, the king of Morta and the DiLucri family pose the biggest threat to her safety. We all know that the Mortans have been attempting to kill the Blairs in order to take the kingdom of Bellona. The DiLucri's are far less transparent, but whatever the reasons for their attacks, it seems to be far more sinister than Evie anticipates. Evie is inundated with assassination attempts in this book. It seems like it's a constant stream coming from every direction, but since the massacre of her family, she's worked hard to be prepared to fight for her life at a moment's notice. And fight she does. Her large group of friends and protectors are always nearby to assist her in dispatching any difficult enemies, but she's more than capable of handling things on her own. Not only is she physically strong, but she really has a firm grip on the capabilities of her magic. She used to think that her magic was weak, simply something to use on the defense, but her immunity can also be used in powerful ways to attack as well. I enjoyed seeing her flex her magic muscles in this book. I had just kicked a nest of coral vipers. Now all I could do was wait and see how many of them slithered out and tried to kill me. As much as I enjoyed the plentiful fight scenes, the games between the royals were something to behold. All of the kingdoms converged at the Regalia competition, and the plotting and backstabbing started the instant the festivities began. Evie didn't hesitate to face off with anyone who challenged her or attempted to make her look weak. She had a strong plan going in, and if she was successful, she'd be well on her way to having a more secure kingdom for her people. Being queen was about far more than just plotting to kill your enemies. I had come to the Regalia with a three-pronged attack in mind to accomplish three separate things: crush the king, advance Bellona’s fortunes, and manipulate Maeven. We really got to understand the depth of King Maximus' depravity in this installment. We knew from the beginning that he was dangerous when it came to Evie, but even his family members and countrymen were not exempt from his wrath. He rules with fear and cruelty, whereas Evie earns loyalty with respect and love. I really loved the bond she has with her friends, and Paloma in particular had a developed history that is just starting to be revealed. I'd seen hints of it coming earlier on, and my suspicions were basically confirmed. This side story as well as Maeven and the mystery of the DiLuca family is left up in the air which leads me to believe there are more books to come in this series. I always though this would be a trilogy, but the ending potentially left room for more. I would have liked to have seen Sullivan play a bigger role in this book. He felt more like just another person on her team rather than her love interest. But overall, the lack of romance didn't bother me all that much. If the series ends here, it would be in a good place for all, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the possibility to continue on with more in the Crown of Shards saga. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anne - Books of My Heart

    This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.   4.5 hearts I have really loved this Crown of Shards trilogy.  It is an urban fantasy in true fashion.  The battles and politics are the main story with any romance on the side.   I would read this trilogy and all urban fantasy in order for the best experience. I love these characters. The queen has surrounded herself w This review was originally posted on Books of My Heart   Review copy was received from Edelweiss. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.   4.5 hearts I have really loved this Crown of Shards trilogy.  It is an urban fantasy in true fashion.  The battles and politics are the main story with any romance on the side.   I would read this trilogy and all urban fantasy in order for the best experience. I love these characters. The queen has surrounded herself with a team of caring people.  Magic is my favorite thing and the magic is varied and fascinating in its forms.  I've enjoyed learning about the different kingdoms and I would have been happy to know even more. I do appreciate both males and females have strengths and can be rulers. Crush the King takes place during the Regalia tournament but not before a few assassination attempts at home, then also at the tournament.  It's like the Olympics only with more politics. First each kingdom has to choose its best or most politically advantageous competitors.  Then the seven kingdoms meet at the supposedly neutral island for the games and political posturing. It's like a massive chess game only more deadly. There are plenty of chances for people to die but most of them don't know Evie or anything about her magic.  Her background, while not easy, is a perfect preparation for her to play a long game.  Her intelligence and compassion provide her with many allies, and she would rather risk herself than them.  It's heart-stopping action with some intriguing surprises along the way.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Emma L.

    *** This review is definitely, absolutely not spoiler-free *** Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3/5 stars). I'm forever eternally grateful towards Scribd since they introduced me to this magnificent, amazing, and super fun adult high fantasy series. And now I have finally read the third and final book in this trilogy (thank the book lords and gods that Jennifer Epsten is writing a follow up/spinoff series. I honestly need those three books like yesterday). I also can't believe I managed to read all three of these boo *** This review is definitely, absolutely not spoiler-free *** Rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3/5 stars). I'm forever eternally grateful towards Scribd since they introduced me to this magnificent, amazing, and super fun adult high fantasy series. And now I have finally read the third and final book in this trilogy (thank the book lords and gods that Jennifer Epsten is writing a follow up/spinoff series. I honestly need those three books like yesterday). I also can't believe I managed to read all three of these book, so a whole trilogy, this month. I'm honestly so shook and proud of that fact. But without much further ado (that's what you say right?) here are my opinions/notes: Whooohooo I'm finally reading this. I'm truly surprised that they have leggings in this fantasy world and how many times the author, Jennifer Estep, brings this up. But hey leggings are the best. Paloma is probably Lady Xenia's daughter😂 It's soooo interesting that Jennifer Estep called her bountyhunters geldjagers. Like in Dutch geld means money & jagers means hunters, so now I'm wondering if Jennifer did this on purpose. Even if she didn't it's still super fitting. Leonidas is such a cutie and I really hope he will go to bellona. Omg, he and Gemma would be so cute together (either in a platonic or romantic way). I'm also still vigorously hoping Meaven will help Everleigh and that both women destroy the mortan king. Damn, this fantasy world is so advanced. Not only do they have leggings but now they also have sangria. Damn. "Bash in his skull with a brick." - Everleigh Blair. Lol, BEHOLD THIS SAVAGE QUEEN. Also, sounds like a delightful way to kill someone and it reminds me of the hunger games. Diante is definitely a ruthless old woman and I absolutely love her for it. She's definitely my favorite nobility character in this series. The Mortans not being there for the tournament truly should have them screaming and running away. Someone not showing up for a very important gathering or event is such a clue that people are about to get murdered. It's such a hint bloodshed will happen and I would run the fuck away. LIKE SERIOUSLY DID NOBODY LEARN FROM GAME OF THRONES? LIKE WHEN CERSEI BLEW UP ALL HER ENEMIES IN SEASON 5? Never stay in a place where you're supposed to meet your enemy but they ain't there. Okay, they actually showed up and no bloodshed has happened, not yet anyways. But lol I would have so left that arena, better paranoid than super dead. “Queen Zariza, Lady Xenia.” I tipped my head to them. “You both look lovely.” “I always look lovely,” Zariza said in a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m sure you think so.” WHAHAHAHAHA BUUUURN. Everleigh can be so savage at times which I honestly love. Also, that is such an amazing and ballsy reply to a compliment. Zariza is such a badass queen and I think I might be in love with her. Seriously JENNIFER! Why did you hold on to this character for so long, I would have loved if we met get waaaay earlier than this. Maximus is one sick psychotic bastard, drinking that strix's blood is simply disgusting and sick. Also, Everleigh better save Leonidas strix Lyra or I'll never ever forgive her. Omg, I think Seraphina is actually controlling her idiot brother. She's the real master of fortuna and not her idiot brother but everybody thinks he's the one with all the power. I've been thinking about this for a while but now I'm sure of it. WHOOOHOOO EVERLEIGH SAVED LYRA🥳 I so knew she was gonna do that but I'm still incredibly happy that she did. Hopefully Lyra can return to Leonidas too. OMG MY BABY LEONIDAS IS ONE POWERFUL CUPCAKE CINNAMON ROLL. HE LOOKS LIKE A CINNAMON ROLL BUT COULD ACTUALLY KILL YOU, DAMN. I would so die for Leonidas though. And sweet baby I don't think your mother Maeven could actually hurt you. EVIE'S SCEME IS BLOODY FREAKING BRILLIANT!! She's gonna free all those strixes. Can't wait to see the look on Maximus face when he finds out what she did. I'm also fearing something horrible will happen to Paloma and that she won't leave that arena alive. EVIE YOU MAGNIFICENT BITCH. I'm dying, this is utterly brilliant. LEONIDAS IS NOW PART OF HER ENTOURAGE AND SHE IS PUBLICLY CALLING HIM A HERO😂😂😂 I will never get over this absolutely brilliant plan. Fucking brilliant. Love you now Everleigh. Lol, I so knew Paloma was related to lady Xenia. I let out a breath I didn’t even realize I’d been holding. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? THIS LINE AGAIN? WHY? WHY DOES THIS HORRIBLE FUCKING LINE KEEP POPPING UP AND WHY IS IT IN AN ADULT NOVEL? I SINCERELY THOUGHT ONLY YA AUTHORS USE THIS HORRIBLE LINE BUT I GUESS I'M WRONG ABOUT THAT. IT'S FUCKING 2020 WHY THE FUCK ARE WE STILL USING THIS SHITTY AS FUCK LINE? WHY OH WHY SOMEONE TELL ME WHY... I'm sincerely deliberating to take a star off my rating simply because this line is used. I really might do that. Okay, I might be severely happy that Paloma survived the tournament but I'm also getting a bit sick of the team getting away with everything. Like so far everything is going according to their plan and they're gaining victory after victory and it would have been nice if something bad had happened too, if the stakes were higher. I truly hope they will experience a big loss soon cause otherwise it's just too fucking easy. So far nobody from the team is killed or severely hurt; everybody magically recovers or survives the day or is lucky. I truly hope this will change since I'm getting a bit tired of this and it ain't realistic. Whooohooo I so knew Maeven was going to be the queen and kill her treacherous brother. Evie's plan worked after all. I would have liked it more if they became reluctant allies and friends but I'll take everything I can get. The battle between Maximus and Everleigh was pretty okay. Still would have liked it more if someone besides the bad guys actually died. It would have made the stakes higher and it would make it more realistic. Everleigh surviving all that shit with everybody intact seems just too impossible. Could have been really cool if Everleigh died and that Cho killed Maximus. But that sadly didn't happen. I still don't like how Serilda & Cho aren't together yet. The only reason why I'm not giving this amazing book a four star rating is because of the stakes not being high enough. I kind of got sick and tired off all the characters miraculously surviving every battle, assasin attempt, etc. that came their way and that's just a bit too unrealistic. I actually wanted some death to happen or that they lost someone or where on the verge of losing. But somehow our heroes were always a step ahead of their enemies or magically survived against all the odds. That's literally my only complaint about this fun, hilarious, addicting and captivating adult fantasy book. Still excited to see what Jennifer Estep is going to do next and I'm definitely anticipating the following trilogy in this world. I also have a feeling this isn't the last we'll be seeing from this world and the characters. Maybe we'll follow new characters but the series definitely ended on a weird bit too sudden note. I definitely don't think it's the end. AND OMG I WAS RIGHT😱😱 I just read the announcement on her website that this is so far the end of Everleigh's story but that Jennifer will continue writing in the crown of shards series but that a different character will be our main character. I love being right. AND OMG IT WILL BE ABOUT ADULT GEMMA🥳 secretly still shipping her with Leonidas my precious baby. Now I can't wait for summer 2021 to read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. This is the final book in this fantastic Fantasy trilogy. Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of her royal family, trained and become a fierce gladiator, learned to harness her magic, usurped the traitor that took her family's crown, become a queen and survived multiple assassination attempts. She's tired. And she's pissed. Everleigh decides to take the fight to her enemies and vanquish them once and for all. 4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. This is the final book in this fantastic Fantasy trilogy. Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of her royal family, trained and become a fierce gladiator, learned to harness her magic, usurped the traitor that took her family's crown, become a queen and survived multiple assassination attempts. She's tired. And she's pissed. Everleigh decides to take the fight to her enemies and vanquish them once and for all. She and her cohorts plot to do this during the Regalia Games, something similar to the Olympics when warriors, nobles, and royals every kingdoms comes together to compete in sporting and fighting events. The gang has concocted plans, and back-up plans, and back-up plans to their back-up plans - and they will need them all. When things don't go as planned, the group will need to improvise, be daring and risk their lives to kill the King of Morta and bring peace to Bellona and the rest of the kingdom. I enjoyed reading a more confidant Everleigh. She's come into her own with her abilities, and even though she's still not comfortable being a ruler, she does what she must to protect her people. But, she still holds out hope that another family member survived the massacre and continues the search for them. I also liked her relationship with her consort, but he seemed pretty wooden and robotic. Other than being protective of her, he didn't have much of a personality or add much to the story. I mean, I get it. It's Everleigh's story, but still. The author could have done a bit better in fleshing out his character and giving him a few more lines. But, that's a minor criticism because I really enjoyed the Court intrigue in this book and loved her giving as good as she got when it came to snarky and sarcastic remarks. I really enjoyed this book and am sad that the series has come to an end, but am beyond excited about the next trilogy set in the same kingdom. The first book is Capture the Crown and I can't wait to read it. I was given a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and HarperVoyager. All opinions are my own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    aarya

    Evie is amazing and this is a solid installment to a tightly-plotted series with magic, political intrigue, and gladiator-inspired fighting choreography. I think anyone who loved the previous two books will love this one, too. HOWEVER. And this is a big however. As much as I adored the plot and writing in all three books, the same two nitpicks kept me from loving it. I still liked the book but it wasn’t a perfect read for me. 1) It’s been three books and the following things are true: a) I don’t l Evie is amazing and this is a solid installment to a tightly-plotted series with magic, political intrigue, and gladiator-inspired fighting choreography. I think anyone who loved the previous two books will love this one, too. HOWEVER. And this is a big however. As much as I adored the plot and writing in all three books, the same two nitpicks kept me from loving it. I still liked the book but it wasn’t a perfect read for me. 1) It’s been three books and the following things are true: a) I don’t like Lucas Sullivan and b) I don’t think Evie and Lucas are good together. He’s not terrible, I’m just... meh. Underwhelmed. Not invested or enthusiastic. And he didn’t add anything to CRUSH THE KING. You could’ve taken him out of the story and nothing would’ve changed. This is absolutely a YMMV situation because I’m the only weirdo who thinks this. All my friends love Lucas and think I’m being unfair (they’re probably right!). I love everything about Evie except for her romantic partner. 😭 2) I love 75% of the fantasy world-building and magic system. The other 25% is when I get jerked out of the text. Here’s one example out of many. Heinrich gave me a sympathetic look, while Dominic waved over a servant, who handed each one of us a tall, frosty glass of kiwi mimosa. I discreetly smelled the drink, but I didn’t sense anything that shouldn’t be there, so I took a sip. The tart taste of the kiwi exploded on my tongue, along with the fizzy bubbles of the champagne. It was a perfect, refreshing way to start the gathering. There are two ways to react to this paragraph. The first is to get really upset because the terms “kiwi mimosa” or “champagne” shouldn't belong in a secondary-world fantasy setting that doesn’t resemble our world. The second is to treat all fantasy novels as a TRANSLATION of the fantasy language/world that it’s written in. Who cares if kiwi mimosa sounds out of place or that champagne is named after a region in France? It’s a translation; it’s for us to appreciate the description and understand what they’re drinking. There’s a really smart article about this phenomenon and it explains the moss-troll problem. https://www.sfwa.org/2010/01/04/the-m... You should read the article but basically it highlights a problem in creating a secondary-world fiction setting: “You can’t, for instance, say something is as basic as the missionary position in a world without missionaries. What about saying something is as swift and sharp as a guillotine’s blade? Well, did Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin exist in this world? You will find moss-trolls again and again whenever you start describing the imaginary people, places and things of your imaginary world. Because one of the first ways we try to describe something is to say what it’s like.” There’s no answer on how to solve this problem of description. In fantasy, particularly euro-centric settings with kingdoms, many books utilize a lexicon of words that are acceptable: dukes, swords, knights, etc. Most readers don’t get mad at those words because we’re used to them in fantasy settings. I wouldn’t blink an eye at “wine” or “mead,” but “kiwi mimosa” makes me squirm. But is that fair of me? Is it fair to get annoyed at some words but not others due to arbitrary standards? Author Jenn Lyons says no in this twitter thread: “I really don't know how to break this to folks, but language doesn't evolve in a vacuum. There are NO words in the English language which do not have historical context, because that's how language works... ENGLISH is anachronistic. Yup, that's right. The entire language. It's ALL tied to historical Earth events. And obviously no one expects anyone to write or read entire works written in a conlang. Mostly. (looking at you, Klingon)... This is a complicated issue. Most folks don't blink at using words like masochist or draconian, but these are words with VERY specific historical roots (and both derived from specific historical figures).” https://twitter.com/jennlyonsauthor/s... Read the whole thread because Jenn Lyons says other smart things, but her conclusion is that she doesn’t care if she uses a modern English word in her fantasy setting. She subscribes to the translation school of thought that I mentioned earlier. I think Jenn is right in theory, but it’s difficult for me to practice as a reader. I grew up with fantasy a la Mercedes Lackey and Tamora Pierce. My brain is used to thinking that certain words have historical context and have no place in a fantasy novel because I can trace the etymology to modern history (a history that doesn’t exist in the book). My brain is wrong (since ALL words have a historical context and I’m just unaware of most of them), but it’s hard to rewire a way of thinking. My rambling tangent is getting to the point now, I swear. I have difficulty with the worldbuilding in this series because it CONSTANTLY uses terms that make my brain squirm. I know it’s unfair but I can’t help it! I literally groaned out loud when I saw the words “kiwi mimosa:” it’s a drink I should be having with my friends, not in a fantasy royal setting! In the first book, I learned that the kingdom uses the same month nomenclature as the real world (the text named the month January). That jerked me out of the text. And I’m not going into other examples, but I have encountered this problem FREQUENTLY in this series. At least two/three times every chapter. Maybe it’s unfair of me, but it did make my reading experience less enjoyable. Conclusion: Crown of Shards is a terrific series and I understand why others love it, but the nitpicks (as explained above) are keeping me from loving these books. Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne (Under the Covers Book blog)

    Really enjoyed this book, I believe this may be the end of the trilogy, but so much has been left wide open for more! I really hope that Jennifer Estep carries on to explore this world and all the characters she has created with in it. Read if you love an action packed fantasy with strong female leads and small dose of romance.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Meeks

    Well here we are at the end of the trilogy but she left some threads that she can pick up if the author decides to write more in this world. Ok, Evie has come a long way from the mousy girl we met in the start of book 1 Kill the Queen . The romance that played a decent part in the first 2 books was almost totally absent here probably because there was so many plots and subplots and a ton of action which I loved. I wanted to give it 5 stars but the author did take some shortcuts that challenged m Well here we are at the end of the trilogy but she left some threads that she can pick up if the author decides to write more in this world. Ok, Evie has come a long way from the mousy girl we met in the start of book 1 Kill the Queen . The romance that played a decent part in the first 2 books was almost totally absent here probably because there was so many plots and subplots and a ton of action which I loved. I wanted to give it 5 stars but the author did take some shortcuts that challenged my intelligence a bit so I had to reluctantly take away 1 Star but for entertainment value and the completion of the story it was a 5 star story. The buildup and the "what will he do next" kept you on edge and wondering what was coming so I really enjoyed it but I won't point out any of the inconsistencies but they barely registered in a story I loved but they did register enough for my mind to question how a couple of things were even possible but apparently when faced somewhere you wanted the plot to go and it got hard you just made guards, friends, whoever suddenly abject morons. So a time or 2 it did pull me out of the story but not for long because I loved it and being a confirmed revenge junkie the ending was sweet and had at least 1 very unexpected revenge surprise .

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I still enjoyed this book immensely, but it felt a little disjointed compared to the rest of the series. For example, in the first two books, Sullivan felt like a major character, and the whole romance plot felt significant. There was a lot of drama and tension getting those two together. Then FINALLY they get together and.... Sullivan disappears. He's just faded into the background. Technically they're together, but you'd never know it. He does NOTHING. He barely even says anything. And I'm fine I still enjoyed this book immensely, but it felt a little disjointed compared to the rest of the series. For example, in the first two books, Sullivan felt like a major character, and the whole romance plot felt significant. There was a lot of drama and tension getting those two together. Then FINALLY they get together and.... Sullivan disappears. He's just faded into the background. Technically they're together, but you'd never know it. He does NOTHING. He barely even says anything. And I'm fine with a book not having romance, but it's confusing to be led to think this is a "fantasy romance" in books one and two, then to have that "romance" part suddenly disappear in book three. I guess I just like a series to be consistent. Otherwise it feels disjointed. I also feel like none of the other characters really developed. Some of them got there halfway, but never fully blossomed into anything significant. I guess that's because the main character has an issue with wanting to do EVERYTHING herself. That means she's the only one who does anything. She has a body guard who never guards her because the MC always gets attacked when she's completely alone, then kills the assassins by herself. It just feels like a wasted opportunity. The side characters are interesting, they just aren't given enough chance to fully develop. Also this didn't feel like the conclusion to the series. I guess it still hasn't been solidified how long this series is meant to be, and given how long some of her other series are, it's entirely possible this one will continue to grow. However, I don't love going into a series not knowing how long it will be. You never know if the end is actually the end. All that being said, this was still very enjoyable!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Annett

    I devoured this book in one day it was that good. Evie was fantastic, deciding to take measures into her own hands and go on the offensive after constant threats on her life. It was non stop action packed full of twists and turns I didn't see coming and it definitely held my attention. It would have been nice to see Sullivan and Evie on the page together more but it didn't hurt the story that we didn't see them together much. When the end came, I wished there was more.I'm happy with the story and I devoured this book in one day it was that good. Evie was fantastic, deciding to take measures into her own hands and go on the offensive after constant threats on her life. It was non stop action packed full of twists and turns I didn't see coming and it definitely held my attention. It would have been nice to see Sullivan and Evie on the page together more but it didn't hurt the story that we didn't see them together much. When the end came, I wished there was more.I'm happy with the story and the conclusion was satisfying but I still want more. Definitely a worthwhile read. And definitely start with book one in the series.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Deur

    I am so sad and bummed that this wonderful adventure is over. I am going to miss Everleigh and her band of friends so much. Plot: Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies. I am so sad and bummed that this wonderful adventure is over. I am going to miss Everleigh and her band of friends so much. Plot: Queen Everleigh Blair of Bellona has survived the mass murder of the royal family, become a fearsome warrior trained by an elite gladiator troupe, and unleashed her ability to destroy magic. After surviving yet another assassination attempt orchestrated by the conniving king of Morta, Evie has had enough. It’s time to turn the tables and take the fight to her enemies. There is no better opportunity to strike than during the Regalia Games, a time when warriors, nobles, and royals from all the kingdoms come together to compete in various sporting events. With the help of her loyal friends, Evie goes on the attack at the Regalia, but things don’t turn out the way she hopes. Soon, she is facing a terrifying new threat, and she will have to dig deep and learn even more about her growing magic if she has any chance of defeating her foes. Because to secure her throne and ensure her kingdom’s survival, Evie must think like a true Bellonan: she must outsmart and outwit her enemies . . . and crush the king This book is the last installment in the trilogy and just like its predecessors it delivers! It is an action packed, fast paced story that lives up to Bellona's motto, let's play the long game. Even though it is fast paced I didn't feel as if the story was rushed, until I got to the very end. I wish the author would've taken a little bit more time to wrap up several storylines. There were a few subplots that in my opinion were left open and I wished we would've gotten a more conclusive end. Otherwise I really loved the plot, I loved Evie's badass moments and I loved how strong she has gotten and how much she has learned. I'd say this book was 95% pure amazement but it lacked for me in those last 5%. I had a feeling some things that were added to the story didn't contribute much and perhaps should've been left out at all. It felt a little messy but still this book was a great end to the trilogy. I love that the main themes in this series was friendship, family, love, loyalty but above all, it focused on believing in yourself and doing what is right. I am certainly going to miss these wonderful characters and I hope the spin-off the author has planned is just as good.

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