Book Review: Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Book 2 of Crown of Shards
Publisher: Harper Voyager (July 2, 2019)
Length: 448 pages
Author Information: Website | Twitter
Last year’s Kill the Queen was my first book I ever read by Jennifer Estep and it had me hooked! I was pleased to be back into this world with Protect the Prince and was looking forward to seeing where she will take the characters and story next. If you haven’t caught up to this point yet, be aware as this review may contain spoilers for the first book.
Last time we saw Everleigh “Evie” Blair, she had just saved the kingdom from a usurper and now finds herself ruling as Bellona’s new queen. But even though she was never meant for the role, Evie isn’t stupid; she has spent her whole life in the halls of the palace, watching and learning the ways of the royal court even as the other nobles went about their lives ignoring her. Now they want her off the throne, but so far Evie has succeeded in holding her own.
But apparently Evie has underestimated how badly her enemies want her gone, even going as far as to send an assassin after her. Still, Evie will not be cowed. Despite the increased threat levels, she decides to go ahead with a scheduled diplomatic visit to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari, with whom she hopes to secure a new alliance. But the Andvarian king, still angry and demanding retribution for what happened during the Seven Spire massacre, is a tough nut to crack.
Then there’s the situation with Lucas Sullivan. The sexual tension is thicker than ever between them, but they’re unable to act upon it. In spite of everything, he is still a bastard prince, and now that Evie is queen, she will be expected to marry someone approved by the nobility and produce an heir—and that someone is definitely not Sullivan. Evie is forced to make some tough decisions, going against her true desires. Initially concerned about how much romance would feature in this sequel, I was actually relieved to find that it is well balanced with the rest of the story. What I enjoyed most about Kill the Queen was the its crossover appeal, hitting that sweet spot between romance and epic fantasy, and Protect the Prince continues this trend.
And yes, while I missed some of the gladiator action from the first book, I think the courtly intrigues and the developing political conflicts in and around Bellona made up for some of the slower pacing. There’s less intensity in the plot, but there’s still a lot going on—poor Evie can’t seem to stay out of trouble, but it’s not always her fault. Between working on figuring out who wants to kill her and trying not to start a diplomatic incident with Andvari, she’s got her work cut out for her. With all these different threads, Protect the Prince still managed to move at a fast clip and ended up being a highly entertaining read.
Then there’s the magic! I wanted more detail about the magic system in the first book (which was somewhat light on the world-building) and I got my wish here. We get a closer look at Evie’s particular powers, and I love how she uses them to her advantage against her enemies and the smug nobility who think they can pull the wool over her eyes.
Speaking of Evie, I’m also enjoying her character development. She’s strong, independent, and prefers to solve her own problems even if it means turning down help freely given, or it could get her killed. As a protagonist, she’s very likeable and her charisma helps carry the story. I like that she’s no pushover and can stand up for herself even against pretty much the entire court. She has a long memory and remembers who was kind to her, who was cruel, and what everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are—all very good things to know, now that she’s queen.
The series so far is still littered with all kinds of fantasy tropes, but surprisingly, I don’t have a problem with it. The truth is, it gives these books a certain kind of charm, and I love being able to kick back with something light and fun. I also have a feeling Estep is working on the bigger picture, building towards something even better. I look forward to reading the next book.
More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Kill the Queen (Book 1)
Glad the series is still strong! I actually need something light and fun right now…😁
This series would be great for that!
I had a really nice time with this one as well!
I saw! And I loved your review 😀
I have book one on your rec, looking forward to eventually starting this series!
I hope you’ll enjoy it! It’s nothing too original, but it’s fun and easy 🙂
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Evie sounds like the kind of character I enjoy reading, so I had better try and start this series before it falls under the avalanche of other books I would like to read! 🙂
Thanks for sharing!
I loved Evie! This series isn’t anything too original or earthshattering, but the main character was so good, none of that mattered 😀
I really should try it! I have been worried and I can no longer remember why!
Hmm, maybe some prior experience with her work? I wouldn’t know though, this series was my first time trying Estep 😀
These look pretty fun, and glad to hear this built upon the first book in terms of world building and Evie’s character development. Sometimes the same old tropes aren’t a deal breaker if the story is good. 🙂
Exactly! And the characters too – I loved Evie!
I like this book but I feel most of the elements come from the “throne of glass” series
I’ve read the Throne of Glass series (except for the last book) and I can definitely see some parallels!
You’re making me very tempted to read this! I didn’t ADORE the first book, but it did have its charms…
Yeah, I know what you mean – it’s very much a generic fantasy, but you’re absolutely right about its charms! I think that’s what I enjoyed most about the first book.
This sounds like a fun series. Not sure how I overlooked this one! Great review. 😀
Thank you! It’s a fun series. I was initially a little nervous because I think Estep is generally known to be a Paranormal romance/urban fantasy author, but I think she balanced the romantic elements with the fantasy quite well 😀
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I think I would like this series very much – and I did see this one on Edelweiss but I didn’t request it because I haven’t read the first one yet – drat.
Haha, I have those moments all the time when I browse books via Edel and NG 😀
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