Wednesday, May 8, 2024

🍷🍷.5 #Review of Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep

Title: Capture the Crown
SeriesGargoyle Queen
AuthorJennifer Estep
Format433 pages, Paperback
PublishedFirst published July 6, 2021
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 
SourceFirst published July 6, 2021
Reviewer: Crystal
Rating:  🍷🍷.5  
Best-selling 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...

Crystal's Thoughts:

This was surprisingly my first read from author Jennifer Estep. The book's premise grabbed my attention; magic, gargoyles, royalty, and spies? I'm there for it! Unfortunately Capture the Crown turned out to be underwhelming.

The repetition was aggravating, and the book probably could have been cut in half with out it. It got to the point where every time I heard the phrase, "Seven Spire Massacre" I would sigh in frustration. The plot was drawn out, slow moving, and ofttimes boring with every minuscular step given great detail. I thought the magical elements of the story were interesting but the author never went into detail WHY some people had magic, some didn't, or WHY their abilities would vary. It also seemed like a convenient save all in some situations. I didn't quiet understand the chemistry that the author was trying to portray between Gemma and Leo either. Besides saving each other in a couple dramatic events, and trying to kill each other as children (which readers are told repeatedly), at no time did I see or feel a deep connection between the two characters. I never got a sense of the world around them either, there was little world building but, like the magic aspect, that may be because the author is expecting readers from the Crown of Shards trilogy...the entire story line could have used some fleshing out instead of the constant reiteration of Gemma's internal dialogue.

While A Gargoyle Queen is a spin-off series of the Crown of Shards trilogy, I didn't find it too difficult to jump in with that unread. There was an obvious backstory there and the reemergence of past characters, but I thought that this story held up well on its own. At this point though, despite reading the book through, I don't see myself continuing with the series.

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