Capture the Crown by: Jennifer Estep

” 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 received this ARC, through NetGalley, from Avon and Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review. ***

Since I read the “Crown of Shards” trilogy last fall I have constantly checked and Amazon waiting for any synopsis and title for this book. I loved devouring the world Jennifer crafted in the original trilogy and knew I needed more. The excitement I felt when I saw there was an ARC available through NetGalley was overwhelming, knowing there was a chance I could dive back in before the July release.

When we originally meet Gemma, in the Crown of Shards series, she’s twelve or thirteen and when we see her again, in this new book, she’s now thirty. She has perfectly crafted a persona of being a spoiled and materially obsessed princess, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. When her subjects think she’s off an other shopping spree, she’s actually disguised and investigating threats to her people and crown.

Although a grown woman, Gemma was so deeply affected by witnessing the Seven Spires massacre, she constantly fears her magical abilities and tries to keep them reigned in. She has many people, who love and adore her, surround her and encourage her but at times she still feels like that scared little girl…frozen as she hides under a table watching chaos unleashed around her.

This book reunites her with Leo, the son of the enemy, someone who she should hate but who constantly leaves her confused and flustered. She should hate him, she should want him dead, but why does it feel so good to be close to him…why does she long for him to close the distance between them?

Through Gemma’s eyes, we’re able to see Morta, the enemy land, in all it’s beauty and chaos. We meet Mortan’s who are kind and others who are just as bad, if not worse, than the King Mauven killed for her crown. We see enemies and friends we met in the “Crown of Shards” trilogy as well as meet new friends, enemies, and people who could be either.

Start to finish this book was an adventure and a great re-introduction to this world. I look forward to seeing the next book (set to release in 2022) as we continue to see Gemma evolve into a strong and confident woman and leader. Although Gemma faced a lot of trauma as a child, I look forward to seeing her fully triumph over it, and become the strong and fierce woman she’s always been meant to be.

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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