Capture the Crown
- Author: Jennifer Estep
- Genre: Fantasy
- Publication Date: July 6, 2021
- Publisher: Harper Voyager
- Series: Gargoyle Queen #1
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I am offering my honest opinion voluntarily.
CONTENT WARNING: violence, torture, murder
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…
It’s no secret that I loved the Crown of Shards series, and have been eagerly anticipating this series. Let me tell you: it didn’t disappoint me. This story takes place 16 years after the Crown of Shards series ends, and picks up with Gemma Ripley’s story. She’s all grown up, and … she’s a SPY?
There were so many amazing things to enjoy about this book, and it’s a strong start to a new spin-off series. The world-building is great, with an intriguing magic system and a look into a country that we haven’t gotten to see before. It’s intricately crafted and atmospheric, especially since a good portion of the book takes place in Morta, aka behind enemy lines. My heart was in my throat for so much of the story.
Gemma herself is such a well-developed character — we learn about her past as well as her present, her motivating factors, and so much about her personality. She’s certainly no damsel in distress, instead playing a strong, independent, and brave main character who struggles to forgive herself for some past missteps and is still learning to control her very strong powers. The characters around her are also interesting and well-rounded, and it didn’t feel like any of them were just filler. I’m looking forward to getting to know more of them in future books.
The plot had me absorbed right from the start. There’s mystery, political intrigue, and a slow-burn enemies-to-possibly something more romance that simmers throughout the story. I loved every minute of this book, and flew through it, while simultaneously wishing that there was more of the story. There were battle scenes that were written extremely well, and had me on the edge of my seat. I’m so ready for the next book to be released, and I’ll definitely be watching for it.
People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.
Gasp Factor: 14
Categories: Book Review