Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Series: Crown of Shards #4, Gargoyle Queen #1
Published by HarperAudio on July 6, 2021
Length: 13 hours, 30 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
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..
I loved the Crown of Shards trilogy. As with any urban fantasy or even other types of series, I prefer to read in order and have the full world building and character backgrounds.
The Gargoyle Queen is a continuation, but a full 16 years later. Gemma Ripley is now grown. However, Gemma still has fears and doesn’t know how to control or use her power effectively. She still feels very young. I tired of her repeating her past, her guilt, her shoving down her power and being a little too daring.
Gemma pushes herself to be a spy to try to help her people and to make up for her past inactions. She does learn some things but she also goes too far getting herself terribly injured. She finds Leonides from Morta tangled up in her activities. She feels he betrayed her as a child and his mother was responsible for the massacre which killed so many of her family and others. She doesn’t trust him but she somehow can’t let his own people kill him.
Gemma is attracted to Leo and falls into a false sense of security. She ends up in even more trouble but she does learn more about Morta and the stolen tearstone. Gemma and Leo share a common set of values as far as killing if needed in self defense but feel no need to torture or kill for pleasure. They are also both willing to put themselves at risk for others.
Gemma learns that much is not as it seems about Morta or even Queen Maeven. She makes some new friends, and learns more about her own power. I will be excited to learn more about the vines and Leo’s sister. I also love the stryx and the gargoyles who bond so fiercely with their humans. It’s only the beginning for Leo and Gemma, who are sure to find their way to each other again.
Lauren Fortgang is a narrator I have enjoyed previously. Her voices for different people and creatures were distinct with the emotions infused appropriately. I listened comfortably at 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip:
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I’ve read a couple of reviews that said this wasn’t as good as the first series. But it sounds like it’s strong enough to continue ?
Well I really enjoyed it. The difference may be this feels more young adult / new adult and by that I mean less mature. Gemma is 22 but she could be 16-18 for the emotional / intelligence. Or Gemma repeating her thoughts / feelings on the massacre over and over.
i really miss reading her and need to pick up one of her books. Thanks for the fantastic review
Thank you Debbie. Gemma feels younger, more sheltered? than Evie did. But I enjoyed it.
Excellent review, Anne? Believe it or not, I’ve never read anything by this author despite her popularity.
Well it depends on what you like. I’ve read the start of the Spider books (the first 10 and now there are 19) I’ve read all the previous trilogy and now this one. I also read all the Mythos Academy books last year when the second set came out on audio. I own the Big Time series but haven’t gotten to reading it. So I enjoy this author. My favorite is the Crown of Shards trilogy which precedes this new one.
Glad this one worked for you. I enjoyed the original series, but didn’t have room in the schedule for this one, so I’ll pick it up eventually – probably in audiobook. Thanks for the review.
I did enjoy this one. It feels younger than the previous trilogy but Gemma did have some personal growth here.
I’ve burned through all my UF series, so I need a new one to love. Haven’t yet read this so I’ll look into this series. Fab review, Anne!
This one has just the previous trilogy and this one so only 4 books so far.
Another series I highly recommend if you have not read it is Alex Verus by Benedict Jacka. I did that for the Read-along in 2019 and LOVED it. The final book comes out this December (#12). The audio for it is amazing. I don’t remember how I came onto it but it is fabulous.
I’m reading this now and enjoying it!! Great review!
Thanks Samantha! I really enjoyed it too.
It took me a little bit to get into this one but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing more of Gemma and Leo.
yes, it felt too young to start but Gemma had to progress as it continued.
I really like Leo and am curious about certain things. Cannot wait for the next one. Great review.
Thank you! There is much I am curious about like the vines. I’m holding out on Leo for now. He should have realized how dangerous it was there and that he couldn’t really protect her.