Content Warning: witnessing the massacre of a family, sexual harassment, anxiety, PTSD, overwhelming guilt, torture [talked about and detailed on-page], child abuse/torture.
I originally read this as an ARC ahead of its release last year. After binging through the CROWN OF SHARDS trilogy [KILL THE QUEEN, PROTECT THE PRINCE, and CRUSH THE KING] in late 2020 I was so excited to see a spin-off take place, as I wasn’t ready yet to leave this magical world. If you’d like to read my original review I have it linked above.
As I’m about to read the ARC of book 2, TEAR DOWN THE THRONE, I thought it was the perfect time for a re-immersion into this fantastic realm. Let me tell you the re-read did not disappoint. After finishing I’m even more in love than my first read and am so excited to be cracking open the ARC of book 2!
In CAPTURE THE CROWN we meet a grown-up Gemma Ripley, who was one of the few survivors of the Seven Spire massacre. At the age of twelve, she witnessed the slaughter of countless people and felt helpless to stop it. Almost sixteen years later Gemma has devoted her life to making sure she always protects her family and people. Though she’s taken on the persona of a vapid princess, who only cares about fashion and parties, those that truly know her, know that she works hard to find any, and all, potential threats to her kingdom…even if that means donning disguises and being a spy.
When tearstone starts disappearing from the mines, Gemma isn’t afraid to jump into some coveralls and work the mines, until she can find any ideas of where the tearstones are going. Alert for the potential danger, she wasn’t prepared to run into Leonidas Morricone, Prince Leonidas Morricone of Morta. Although they’re meant to be enemies, as their families are sworn enemies, Gemma struggles to deny the spark of attraction, and kinship, she feels for him.
Although all grown up Gemma is always worried that she, or her powers, will endanger those she cares about or that she’ll freeze up when they need her most. I love this book so much, especially as I noticed more things during my re-read. The way Estep portrays both Gemma’s strong/fierce/loyal side while also showing her insecurities and battles with PTSD and survivor’s guilt. And though we only see the story through Gemma’s perspective we’re still able to see the complexities of so many characters.
I highly recommend checking out this story of finding your strength and learning to let go of, and work through, guilt and pain. Gemma is a survivor and she’s much stronger than she, or anyone else around her, realizes. I’m so happy I decided to re-read this before jumping into book two!