Magic, murder, and romance. That’s the tagline set by the publisher for Book 2 of Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards series, Protect the Prince, and it is spot on.
I previously reviewed Book 1, Kill the Queen, on my blog. If you haven’t first read Book 1, stop now and read that review instead. Neither of my reviews contain spoilers, though, so you’re safe either way.
I was provided an ARC of Protect the Prince by Harper Voyager through Edelweiss. Protect the Prince is set to publish July 2nd, 2019. Pre-order your copy today.
This book is even better than Kill the Queen, which I adored. Whereas I gave Kill the Queen 4 stars, I am giving Protect the Prince a full 5 stars.
That doesn’t mean it’s without its issues, but I felt them to be so minor, and that the rest of the story overpowered them enough to get it full marks. More on that in just a little bit.
Review of Protect the Prince
Last time, I had some issues with the cover book’s cover. This is an epic fantasy after all: my bread and butter.
The last cover looked like a bad urban fantasy and medieval fantasy mashup, but here, it’s much more obviously epic. We’ve got a nice cloak, a bloodied sword, even the bodice and boots have the epic appearance despite the skin tight leather pants.
I think it would have been nice to see some elements from the books in the cover, though. One of Everleigh’s iconic accessories is here tearstone crown of shards bracelet, which would have been awesome to see pictured here. Or at least make the sword out of tearstone.
I don’t know what tearstone looks like and I tend to skip details in books (sorry, if you’ve ever read my books, you know I avoid long, long passages of pointless details for the sake of pointless details), but I imagine it as a bluish, turquoise sort of look.
Perhaps that’s just the designer in me thinking too much. Onward and forward!
I said the last book was AWESOME with all caps, and I really don’t know what I can say that beats that. AMAZING, STUPENDOUS, OMGIT’SSOFANTASTIC.
Protect the Prince is a wonderfully captivating story about a girl’s journey to discover herself, her love, and her purpose all while…protecting the prince.
I read the first book in 3 days, and I read this one in the same amount of time. The speed in which I read a book is evidence of it’s addictiveness. On average it takes me a week to read a book, lately, a month. So 3 days is really great.
But let’s be super clear here. The first 40% took me 2 days, and then I read the last 60% in a single day because I just could not put the thing down. COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN.
Protect the Prince pretty much picks up where Book 1 left off, though about 3 months has passed. Everleigh is settling in nicely to being queen, but it is not without it’s challenges. Many people still want her dead and her own people don’t have any confidence in her.
In order to score a diplomatic win and regain some confidence, Everleigh sets off for Andvari, the home of her estranged lover, Lucas Sullivan, to strike an alliance against the dreaded Morta who was responsible for the events of Kill the Queen.
The majority of Protect the Prince takes place in the royal palace in Andvari, and the title of the book is appropriate and carries multiple meanings throughout depending on the scene.
My favorite part: The Plot
If Kill the Queen’s crowning achievement was it’s character development, Protect the Prince’s is its plot ingenuity.
Let me be perfectly blunt. Kill the Queen wasn’t really a surprising book. At all. I spotted the murder weapon before Everleigh, I figured out the love interest immediately, I even saw that twist a mile away, and I knew who was in charge of that castle where Everleigh danced, even the mysterious evil entity wasn’t all that much of a shocker to me.
But Protect the Prince had me on the edge of my seat. I was constantly shocked, surprised, and torn in two over the twists and turns this book sent my way.
Okay, so maybe I still figured out the single most important twist before Everleigh, I just couldn’t for the life of me figure out why, and that’s what really got me. That was the big shocker.
I love a good surprise.
And any book that’s capable of surprising me and delivering not one, not two, but constant twist after twist after deliciously satisfying twist is well worth 5 stars in my books.
It wasn’t really that the plot had something that I needed to figure out, but rather that Estep constantly changed what I thought was going to happen by going a completely different direction.
Instead of a certain character responding with authority, he apologizes. Instead of Everleigh telling another character the truth, she lies to protect him. Even when I thought all was lost until the next book, something that was mentioned in the earliest pages of the book pops up again and surprises me at the very end.
I love it! Love it, love it, LOVE IT.
What about those faults?
My biggest complaint about this book (I can still have a complaint about a book I unequivocally loved, right? I mean nothing is perfect.) is the language.
I don’t really like swearing in the books that I read. I’ll deal with it, but I don’t like it.
I don’t usually even bring this up when I write reviews, but seriously this bugs me to no end in both Kill the Queen and Protect the Prince. Estep only uses the f-bomb.
That’s it. No other swear words. Just the f-bomb. Over, and over, and over, and over again.
Why? I don’t know. I get the distinct impression that Estep’s trying to make the book adult instead of YA and that’s the only thing she can think to do to accomplish it. Most of the time it was just plain pointless and tactless and it bothered me to no end. But it obviously didn’t hurt my rating at all.
I can’t wait for book 3, Crush the King which is slated for sometime in 2020.
Looking for more reviews? You might also like my review of A Threat of Shadows by J.A. Andrews.