Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.
First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.
Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.
But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.
But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.
Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…
First person, single pov.
I think you'd need to read book one to appreciate this book despite the author's attempts to make it accessible to new readers.
Poison, assassination attempts, duals... It's got it all going on.
Her nobles are plotting and scheming and she must outmanoeuvre and simultaneously win them over as well as travel to the neighbouring kingdom of Andvari and reinstate trade and peace treaties while taking it one step further and convincing them to ally with Bellona against the threat of the Mortan king.
Sounds dramatic, right? And it was!
This book was one heck of a ride and I loved every single second of it.
Evie has come a long way from the girl she once was. She's growing into her position, learning more about what it means to be a Winter Queen and beginning to understand what her true power actually is and her friends are by her side every step of the way.
I loved the plotting and scheming of the royal courts - both Andvari and Bellona.
I loved how Evie was could be both ruthless but also vulnerable and unsure depending on the situation.
My heart ached over her complicated love-affair with Lucas and the personal sacrifices expected of a queen... I was so frustrated by the barriers keeping them apart for they were so stupid! But at the same time, I could understand why they felt they couldn't cross them.
Thankfully, the author didn't make us wait another book for a resolution and gave us romantics a nice ending! But before we got to that romantic ending, we had to survive Mortan assassins, outright assaults and betrayals the cut straight to the heart of our beloved characters.
Needless to say, the book was a rollercoaster; not good for the blood pressure but a hell of a lot of fun!
My only complaint about the book (and the reason it's four stars and not five) was the overly descriptive writing... I don't know if it's just Estep's style or if it's specific to this series (for the first book was the same) but by god, she can go on and on about things!
I can't speak for other readers but I get rather bored after the fifth or sixth description of someone's dress or tunic and I don't give a monkey's ass what colour the bloody thread is!
And don't get me started on the repetitive nature of how Evie interprets smells... (Which is one of her magical gifts.) I was on my knees by the end begging for mercy over peppery anger, lime truthfulness and jalapeno rage.
Ranting over the writing style aside, I loved this instalment and cannot wait to see how it ends in Crush The King!
The covers are one of the strongest selling points of this series, imo.
They're fierce and eye-catching and awesome.