Title: Protect the Prince
Author: Jennifer Estep
Pub. Date: July 2, 2019
Pub: Harper Voyager
Genre: Fantasy Romance
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.
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…
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible. I was a little iffy about this book at first. I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, but the slow burn romance in this book moved at a snail’s pace.
Yeah, it’s slow burn, it’s supposed to be slow.
I was losing my mind.
I don’t know about you, but I like my high fantasy with romance dammit!
Overall, this book was really good – I loved Evie in this. Her journey is nothing like she envisioned. Her whole life has changed, and all she can do is make the best of it. And I think she handles everything fairly well, considering all she’s up against.
I really enjoyed her internal monologue, her insecurities and her growth and figuring out who she is.
I loved that we got more insight into Evie’s past, and how it all starts to tie together. She’s incredibly smart and cunning and she’s just a great character. She’s nowhere near perfect, she’s got her flaws, but she knows how to play the game. Her court thinks they can manipulate her, and control her, but they forget who she is, and how well she knows them.
There are some really satisfying scenes of Evie putting people in their place.
Then there’s Sully, and that poor boy. Okay, he’s a man, but I stand by it. After getting more insight into why he’s the way that he is, I desperately wanted to give him a hug. His short sightedness is a terribly flaw, and his willingness to see the worst in people is heartbreaking. There were a few moments that I just wanted to shake him and yell “read between the lines you fool!”
But overall, I still love him, and I honestly loved the ending of this book – it makes me excited and curious to see what happens next.
I really had no plans on diving right into the 3 book – I’m trying to not inhale series so they don’t just all run together – but I’m so invested. I need to know what Evie does next, how she chooses to fight. I’m so curious.
Other than the incredibly slow, slow burn, my only complaint is that this book is a little repetitive. I don’t know if I would have noticed just reading the book, but listening to someone narrate it, it was a little obvious. It didn’t really bother me, or pull me out of the book, but my brain kept going “that word could have been deleted” and “that phrase could have been deleted”.
Overall, I found this to be a great second installment. While not much happened to really further the plot, it was very character driven. The first book was incredibly plot heavy, and this one was character focused – namely Evie coming into her own self and power. I can only assume the third one is going to be a mix of both. I’m definitely recommending this series and you should pick it up. It’s high fantasy, slow burn with a little bit of spice (which surprised me) and just really enjoyable. If you’re interested, you can check out my spoiler free review here.