by Jennifer Estep
Series: Gargoyle Queen #1
Published by HarperVoyager
Release Date: July 6th 2021
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Magic, Sci-Fi
Format Read: ARC
Buy on Amazon
Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.
Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being a pampered princess who is more interested in pretty gowns, sparkling jewelry, and other frivolous things than learning how to rule the kingdom of Andvari. But her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that Gemma is a powerful mind magier—and a spy.
Gemma is undercover, trying to figure out who is stealing large amounts of tearstone from one of the Ripley royal mines when she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta—her mortal enemy. Gemma tries to steer clear of the handsome prince, but when she finds herself behind enemy lines, she reluctantly joins forces with Leo. Also coming to Gemma’s aid is Grimley, her beloved gargoyle.
Despite the fact that Andvari and Morta are old, bitter enemies, a dangerous attraction sparks between Gemma and Leo. Further complicating matters is Leo’s murderous family, especially Queen Maeven Morricone, the mastermind behind the infamous Seven Spire massacre.
The closer Gemma gets to the stolen tearstone, the more deadly plots she uncovers. Everyone is trying to capture the crown, but only one queen can sit on the throne…
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“𝐀𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬, 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬, 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐥, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲’𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐧 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐩𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞-𝐭𝐡𝐞-𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐰𝐧.”
Cue: Noble Blood by Tommee Profitt (feat. Fleurie)
This was my first read by Jennifer Estep and I was not disappointed. I had heard about The Crown of Shards world but I had never dove in. Will I go back and read them? I hope to make time to, this year. This is an epic-fantasy. When I saw it was not YA, I couldn’t begin to explain my excitement. As a reviewer and lover of fantasy in my thirties, sometimes I can’t relate to YA stories anymore. What I can relate to is a 29 year-old heroine, hell bent on living her own life outside of the responsibilities of her crown.
“𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐝,” 𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝, 𝐦𝐲 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞. “𝐌𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐦𝐲 𝐨𝐰𝐧, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐠𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐢𝐭.”
Enter Crown Princess Gemma of Andvari, or as most of us got to know her as, Gemma. While other people in the surrounding kingdoms call her Glitzma because they only see the Princess side of her, dressed in gowns and dripping with jewels, we see the real Gemma, the spy. The spy who will do anything to secure the safety of her country. Even working with Leonidas, a Mortan prince and sworn enemy from the Morricone royal family.
“𝐇𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐩𝐬 𝐬𝐜𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐲 𝐬𝐤𝐢𝐧, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐛𝐥𝐚𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐬, 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐝𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝𝐧’𝐭 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐮𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐧𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐡𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐈 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐝.“
When these two star-crossed lovers (yes, I’m calling them that because that’s what it feels like) paths cross again since childhood, a set of perilous events occur that result in Prince Leonidas whisking Gemma… I mean Armina… off to Morta to save her life. Gemma decides while in the heart of enemy territory to spy on the Mortan royals to help save her own country and Leo decides to help her to defeat his evil brother. Can Gemma resist Prince Leo? Can Leonidas resist the spy with the bluest eyes in all the kingdoms? Can they stop the kingdoms from going to war?
“𝐌𝐲 𝐦𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐜 𝐦𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐚 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐦, 𝐛𝐮𝐭 𝐢𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬𝐧’𝐭 𝐜𝐚𝐮𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞’𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬. 𝐍𝐨𝐭 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲, 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐲. 𝐍𝐨, 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐦𝐨𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐞. 𝐌𝐲 𝐩𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫, 𝐦𝐲 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬, 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞. 𝐈 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐦. 𝐔𝐧𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐜𝐭𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐔𝐧𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞. 𝐔𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞.”
While I couldn’t put this story down, there were a few things that stood out for me that I needed more of. Jennifer built this EPIC magical world around Gemma & Leo but I found myself getting lost in the construction of the narrative. My heart wanted more Gemma & Leo banter. I needed more moments between them. While the ones we got were powerful enough to satisfy me, I could have easily given the book a higher rating if we got more dialogue between them… and a little more steam. Despite that, I am very excited to read the next book and see where the story and relationship goes. They have a lot to overcome and I am along for the adventure.
“𝐒𝐩𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐰𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐤 𝐛𝐲 𝐥𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐈𝐠𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐥𝐨𝐮𝐝𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮’𝐥𝐥 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐛𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐚 𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐩.”
Cue: You Should See Me In A Crown by Billie Eilish
Oh Hi! I’m Krysten (@ladyofbookshire). Wife. Mom to two fur-babies. Lover of Fiction, Fantasy, Romance and I spend every day (almost) trying to make Romantasy an actual genre. It’s my favorite. I call sunny Orlando, Florida home. That’s right… i’m 15 minutes from Disney World. I mainly only text in GIFs. I have a ridiculous sweet tooth. I’m originally from Maryland. The only thing I may love more than reading is coffee… this is still up for debate. I’m passionate about finding new stories and sharing them with others and am always open to having a reading conversation. Not a fan of love triangles unless they are done really well and I love dark romance… especially a dark romantasy. That genre will always call to my heart.