Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Tear Down the Throne by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #5, Gargoyle Queen #2
Published by Harper Voyager on May 3, 2022
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Crown princess. Clever spy. Powerful mind magier. Gemma Ripley of Andvari is all those things, but these days, she’s also extremely worried. Her problem? Figuring out how to stop an enemy’s plot to somehow use 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 Morta. Despite her best intentions to keep her distance from the Morricones, 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 . . .
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 first trilogy had the main character of Everleigh Blair, this next trilogy (?) is about Gemma Ripley. Some of the things I said in my review of Capture the Crown are still true.
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 continued to annoy me a bit. She is learning, and does develop in Tear Down the Throne. I still feel like she is immature for her age, takes many risks without the preparation in skills and strategy. Why does she not learn to better use her magic and power? She also doesn’t seem to realize that any rumors and leads may be a trap and chasing the bad guys may mean running into a larger group of bad guys.
The setting here is in a border town, where all the kingdoms have come for the Summit. The event is a regular trade negotiation meeting. There are rules to keep it safe for participants but of course, there are those who don’t follow the rules. Morta is a key example, so the Morricones are not well liked or trusted.
I wanted to love this book and I did enjoy reading it. Leo continued to be an upstanding guy and in spite of his horrid family, he made every effort to prove himself to Gemma. His mother is a piece of work. His brother and fiance are disgusting. I do like Delmira though.
Gemma did make some progress in utilizing her powers as she found herself in dire situations. But best of all, she decided to be honest with herself with how she felt about Leo, and was open about those feelings. She also showed the maturity to be kind and save others’ lives, even if they haven’t done the same for her.
I do look forward to Conquer the Kingdom next year. I am excited to see Leo and Gemma working together with a bit more strategy and planning. I hope Milo gets what he deserves. I love the gargoyles and strix. I can’t wait to see Violet have the entire gargoyle population in her thrall!
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