Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #2
Also in this series: Kill the Queen
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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Harper Voyager Trade Paperback OriginalMagic, 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.
Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.
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…
When we left Everleigh (Evie) at the end of Kill the Queen, she had just killed her cousin and taken her place as the Winter Queen of Bellona. She’s still learning her powers and finding her footing, but she knows she has to try to salvage relations with neighboring kingdom Andvari if she’s going to defeat the king of Morta, who orchestrated the murder of her family. Lucas Sullivan, aka Sully, her would-be love interest, is the much beloved bastard son of the Andvari king, and he’s able to secure an invitation for her to visit his father, though he cannot guarantee her safety.
Assassination attempts, political maneuverings and the strange growing connection between Evie and Sully means this is one trip none of them will ever forget.
Holly: We read Kill the Queen together, and I’m glad we’re reading the rest of the series together, too. I really came to admire Evie and the Black Swan troupe in the first book, and I enjoyed them even more here. Evie’s strength really came through and I loved how she put all the nobles in their place.
Rowena: Yes, Evie is really becoming that bad bitch Queen. I mean, the way that she just kept right on slapping her nobles down when they tried to come for her at the beginning was freaking fantastic. I loved that she wasn’t having anyone shenanigans but what really cemented my love for her was the way that she conducted herself while in Andvari. They showed her no kind of love but that didn’t stop her from doing what’s right and protecting those she loved…even when she had to hurt Sully to save everyone.
Ames: I loved Evie’s evolution in this book! And yes, she did become a bad bitch Queen. The way she handled all those snobby nobles was awesome and I reading her thought processes and her realization of how she needs to handle everyone really puts us in her shoes. Also, the growth of her character. In book 1 she was like 7th in line for the throne or something like that so she grew up knowing how the game was played but was never expected to wear the crown. That disbelief and self-doubt she felt when she takes on the crown was so believable and made her growth that much more satisfying.
Rowena: This was such a great book and I read the entire thing in a little over a day. Evie’s adventures kept me invested from beginning to end and that ending? Goodness, that ending was just perfect for me. I cannot wait to read Crush the King with you guys.
Holly: I love how Evie is growing into herself and figuring things out.
My one disappointment with this book is the development of the romance. I am not a fan of the way things were glossed over in the garden and I don’t like that they never had a full conversation about Evie’s actions. I was pretty underwhelmed by the ending. It kind of came out of nowhere for me.
Ames: I agree with Holly, the romance was the weakest part of the story. However, the overall story was really strong so although I would have liked more when Sully and Evie came together, a discussion about her actions foremost, the rest of the story was so awesome it was ok.
Wena, I knew when Everleigh told Sully that story that it was going to be acted out by the end. That was so predictable! LOL I really could have done without that.
Rowena: I liked the way he showed his love for her. It was just the right amount of cheesy to satisfy and I dug that.
Ames: Oh the other thing I found predictable was the villain in Andvari. I liked the misleading clues pointing in one direction but I knew who it was.
Rowena: Yeah, I saw who the villain was pretty early on.
Holly: The villain wasn’t a surprise to me, either, but I did like the author’s effort to misdirect us.
Ames: I loved that we saw some friendly faces in Andvari. Alvis! And the introduction of the gargoyles. I liked Grimley.
strong>Rowena: Grimley, Gemma, and Alvis were great! I loved seeing Everleigh’s reunion with Gemma and Alvis. With as much grief as she was getting at every turn, it was nice to finally see some friendly faces.
Holly: I was so happy when Evie reconnected with Gemma and Alvis. Do you think we’ll see more from Gemma in the future? I hope so. She’s pretty awesome.
Ames: I really hope Gemma gets a story eventually. She was an interesting character. Also, I really like the world-building that Estep has created with this series so I would happily revisit it for other characters.
Rowena: My favorite part of the book was really seeing Everleigh coming into her powers and realize what it meant to be a Winter Queen. Her battle with Maevyn was awesome.
Holly: I agree the best part of the book was seeing Evie come into her powers and realize what it means to truly be Queen.
I can’t wait for you two to read the next book so we can discuss.
Rowena: I’m really looking forward to the next book so it shouldn’t be long before I jump right in.
This was a strong addition to the series and I’m stoked that we’re reading it together. I’m curious to see how Everleigh and her friends take down the King of Morta but I’m so here for it all. Even though the romance was lacking, I still really enjoyed this book so it gets a 4.25 out of 5 stars from me. What about you guys?
Holly: I really love the world-building and how well Evie is handling everything. The romance was pretty weak and I thought it was a bit predicable, but it was still really good. I give it 4 out of 5.
Ames: I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5 as well. Very well done, solid political intrigue, admirable character growth but was a bit of a miss on the romance.
Ames: 4 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5