Book Review

Tear Down The Throne

Tear Down the Throne

  • Author: Jennifer Estep
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: May 3, 2022
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • Series: Gargoyle Queen #2

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: torture, blood, violence

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bestselling author Jennifer Estep continues her Gargoyle Queen epic fantasy series where magic reigns, alliances are tested, and a dangerous attraction could tear down a throne. . .

Crown princess. Clever spy. Powerful mind magier. Gemma Ripley of Andvari is all those things–and determined to stop an enemy from using magical tearstone weapons to conquer her kingdom.

Gemma’s quest for answers leads her to a trade Summit between the various kingdoms. Among the other royals in attendance is Queen Maeven Morricone of Morta and her son, Prince Leonidas–Gemma’s charming and dangerous nemesis.

Gemma knows that Maeven always has a long game in motion, and sure enough, the cunning queen invokes an arcane tradition that threatens the fragile truce between Andvari and the other kingdoms. Despite her best intentions, Gemma once again finds herself thrown together with Leo and battling her growing feelings for the enemy prince.

When a series of deadly attacks shatters the Summit’s peaceful negotiations, Gemma realizes that someone wants to tear the royals down from their thrones–and that this enemy just might succeed.

After finishing the Crown of Shards series, I was heartbroken to have to say goodbye to the beautiful world that Jennifer Estep created. So when she announced that there was going to be an offshoot series set years later in the same world, I was overjoyed. Capture the Crown, the first book, was fabulous, and lets us into the life of a grown up Princess Gemma Ripley, and this book met and exceeded all my expectations.

I was so ready to read this, especially after finishing a quick audiobook reread of book 1, and it picks up shortly after Gemma has returned to Andvari, her kingdom. But nothing about this was ever boring. It’s a fast-paced story, full of action and surprises that I didn’t see coming. But at the heart of it is also a great romance that I’ve been hoping for since the last book!

We are immediately immersed into magic, mystery, and political intrigue, which lasts throughout the story. Gemma is still dealing with the aftermath of the events in book 1, and while she’s gotten stronger at wielding her magic, she continues to struggle with controlling it rather than letting it control her. She’s also working as a spy, trying to figure out what is going on with the weapons made of stolen tearstone, but not having nearly as much progress as she’d like. 

So when the Summit, a gathering of all the royal leaders from various kingdoms occurs, she’s in a unique position to find out more while working to strengthen her own kingdom’s position. However, it also brings her back into close contact with the Morricones. And Maeven is still up to her old tricks — playing the long game and using new and innovative means to do so. This time, she calls for an old, mostly-forgotten tradition to do it. But it means putting Gemma right into the path of Leonidas Morricone, her avowed enemy. 

“‘I wish I could have shielded you from the Morricones, especially Maeven. But no matter what I do, she always seems to find a way to get the better of me and hurt our family. I don’t know whether to admire or hate her for that.’ My gaze drifted over to the Mortan queen, who was sipping wine from a goblet. ‘Me neither.’”

Speaking of Leonidas, this is the perfect enemies-to-lovers story, wrapped in a thrilling fantasy world with a variety of amazing, well-rounded characters. But the attraction between Gemma and Leonidas is simmering throughout the book, and all I really wanted was to see them together. 

“Leonidas Morricone got under my skin in a way no one else ever had and made my tongue as uncontrollable as my magic so often was.”

Gemma does a great job of attending to her royal duties, spying, and working on her burgeoning friendship with Lady Reiko, a spy from another country that she worked with in the last book. I loved seeing the dynamics evolve between Gemma and Reiko, from competition to a true friendship, although that is definitely threatened through the story. 

This book was everything I’d hoped it would be, and then some. Now I’m just stuck waiting for book 3 to come out, to find out what happens next for Gemma. Some of my favorite characters from the Crown of Shards series returned, although there were two notable exceptions, but I have high hopes that they’ll make at least an appearance in book 3. But the twists and turns, and various intriguing plots running throughout this story are a hallmark of Estep’s, and I love every second of 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: 8

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