Estep, Jennifer. Capture the Crown. New York: Harper Voyager, 2021.
ISBN-13: 978-0063023031 | $16.99 USD | 464 pages | Fantasy Romance
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 an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own.
Capture the Crown is the first in the Crown of Shards spin-off series, Gargoyle Queen. It’s not necessary to read the previous trilogy, as there is a time jump between the two and it largely follows a completely new set of characters. And just as I found that previous trilogy a bit uneven, although ultimately solid, I also find this one to have potential to be in a similar vein.
I really liked the duality to Gemma’s personality, how she plays at being a pampered princess, while also being engaged in activities as a spy behind-the-scenes. I enjoyed following her as she navigated cutthroat politics and sized up her enemies, each of whom provides compelling stakes.
And while it’s not the sole focus, there is a very prominent romantic arc. The transition of true enemies-to-allies-to-lovers she is immersed in with Leonidas is gripping and well-executed thus far, and I’m excited for what’s to come for them.
This seems like it will be an exciting new series from Jennifer Estep. If you love fantasy with strong romantic elements, you won’t want to miss this one!
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. She has written more than 40 books, along with numerous novellas and stories.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, and reading fantasy and romance books. She also watches way too much TV and loves all things related to superheroes.
Bookshop (affiliate link)