KILL THE QUEEN  by Jennifer Estep


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Fantasist Estep (Venom in the Veins, 2018, etc.) debuts a new series with a tale of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age against a backdrop of assassination, magic, and fate.

Seventeenth in line for the throne, the orphaned Everleigh (or Evie) is a footnote at Queen Cordelia's magic-filled court. She has learned to avoid the political infighting by being accommodating and unnoticed—which is made easier by her apparent powerlessness, as her magic is only a heightened sense of smell. Evie is thrust into any dull but royal task, such as baking an ambassador's ceremonial dessert or learning a formal dance of friendship. Of course, as Evie is a protagonist, such skills will turn out to be useful after all (in increasingly contrived fashion), and Evie will be revealed as magically powerful. Vasilia, Cordelia's heir, assassinates not merely her mother, but the entire royal family, in fine villainous overkill. Evie survives thanks to a secret immunity to magic, and within 24 hours has managed to find shelter with the country's most prestigious gladiator troupe, where she apparently learns to fight (never mind she managed to kill four trained guards during the original massacre and has killed before), stand up for herself, and make friends. Most of Evie's troubles are self-created, as the plot demands that she foolishly keep lying to her friends about her identity. Truth does finally come out, just before Evie's ability to dance improbably saves everyone's lives. After that, it's no great stretch to think that Villainous Vasilia is hubristic enough to allow a troupe of fully armed gladiators into her presence, allowing Evie to achieve her destiny (handily foretold in one of those children's-rhymes-that's-really-a-prophecy).

Original worldbuilding suffers against a cartoonish villain and a plot that must continue straining to support its own premises.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-06-279761-2
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2018


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