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Capture the Crown

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Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.  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 Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.  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… 


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Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.  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 Bestselling author Jennifer Estep returns to her Crown of Shards world with an all-new trilogy and a bold new heroine who protects her kingdom from magic, murder, and mayhem by moonlighting as a spy.  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… 

30 review for Capture the Crown

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madison Warner Fairbanks

    Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep Gargoyle Queen, book 1. Crown of Shards world. 15 years after the first trilogy which does not need to be read before this. There are many events and people referred to so I believe the experience would be better if they have been read. At least the first, Kill the Queen. Fantasy. Gemma Ridley. One of the few survivors of the massacre when she was a child. Now a spy even though still a princess. Leonidas of Motra. The enemy. Maybe? But why is he helping Gemma? Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep Gargoyle Queen, book 1. Crown of Shards world. 15 years after the first trilogy which does not need to be read before this. There are many events and people referred to so I believe the experience would be better if they have been read. At least the first, Kill the Queen. Fantasy. Gemma Ridley. One of the few survivors of the massacre when she was a child. Now a spy even though still a princess. Leonidas of Motra. The enemy. Maybe? But why is he helping Gemma? Doesn’t he recognize her from when they met years ago? Danger follows Gemma as she works as a miner uncovering secrets and death. Death counts are high. Tragedy and torture in memories and real time. Triumph for some. Questions for the future are heavy and plentiful. Fantasy elements and magic master the game of power and survival. At this point looking forward to the next in the trilogy but not as strong as the first set. 🎧 I mostly listened to the audio version narrated by Lauren Fortgang. I also have a paperback and alternated at times. I found the audiobook a bit more engaging which was opposite my experience for the first trilogy. Same narrator. She has a pleasant voice to listen to with great depth for the various characters such as a gargoyle and magic bird. Emotion are well portrayed.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    My thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Netgalley. I read this book to the 51% mark, then I quit. This isn't because I thought the story was awful. Matter of fact, I was almost having fun! But, eventually the youthfulness is what did me in! Insta love is always bothersome, but it was actually the color purple that killed it for me. 2 kingdoms. One is purple and the other is blue. I never made it to blue. So many shades of blue. Everyone wears shades of purple in our first kingdom. Every My thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Netgalley. I read this book to the 51% mark, then I quit. This isn't because I thought the story was awful. Matter of fact, I was almost having fun! But, eventually the youthfulness is what did me in! Insta love is always bothersome, but it was actually the color purple that killed it for me. 2 kingdoms. One is purple and the other is blue. I never made it to blue. So many shades of blue. Everyone wears shades of purple in our first kingdom. Every one. And it's always, and I mean always a detailed description of what shade of purple. "Also, my favorite color is purple." Finally, by my forth or fifth description of lilac, or maybe lavender...I groaned. That's when I decided to call it quits. Otherwise, I did like the story. A bit young for me, but I liked it. Also, gargoyles!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

    Actual rating : 4.5🌟 I literally couldn't put it down!!! So. Freaking. Good. It felt like I was losing a race I didn't know I signed up for! This was awesome I can't wait for the next book! ⇢ Edit : This book's about a girl who has a reputation for being a pampered princess. However, her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that she is a powerful mind magier and a spy. On one of her missions she encounters her mortal enemy — Prince Leonidas. And even though she tries to stay away f Actual rating : 4.5🌟 I literally couldn't put it down!!! So. Freaking. Good. It felt like I was losing a race I didn't know I signed up for! This was awesome I can't wait for the next book! ⇢ Edit : This book's about a girl who has a reputation for being a pampered princess. However, her carefully crafted persona is just an act to hide the fact that she is a powerful mind magier and a spy. On one of her missions she encounters her mortal enemy — Prince Leonidas. And even though she tries to stay away from him, she soon finds out they have a mutual enemy. They decide to work togheter and here comes the enemy-to-lovers trope you all know I stand for 😏 It's a YA Fantasy, but based on the language & events happening in the book I'll put it in the NA category. We have gargoyles, different other creatures, a beautiful fantasy world and well written characters. Badass princess (hell yeah) and the ✨ prince ✨ Can't help but appreciate the villain in this book. It's such a well made character, loved it! I totally recommend it to the fantasy lovers out there!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie - One Book More

    I loved Capture the Crown, the first book in Jennifer Estep’s new A Gargoyle Queen series! The story follows Gemma, a princess/spy, who while on an investigative mission uncovers things that result in more danger and political intrigue than she ever imagined. Princess Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being spoiled and pampered, more interested in gowns and jewelry than politics. She encourages this gossip and cultivates the persona of a glitzy, silly woman – anything to distract from the truth. I loved Capture the Crown, the first book in Jennifer Estep’s new A Gargoyle Queen series! The story follows Gemma, a princess/spy, who while on an investigative mission uncovers things that result in more danger and political intrigue than she ever imagined. Princess Gemma Ripley has a reputation for being spoiled and pampered, more interested in gowns and jewelry than politics. She encourages this gossip and cultivates the persona of a glitzy, silly woman – anything to distract from the truth. Gemma is really a spy. While investigating who is stealing tearstone from one of her kingdom’s mines, she becomes an unlikely ally of Leonidas Morricone of Morta – her mortal enemy and the man she wants dead. I love Gemma! She is strong and fierce, independent and intelligent. She loves her family and her country, and she fights hard for what she believes in. Gemma also struggles with traumas from her past, which exacerbates her anxiety. She is well-layered and interesting, and I enjoyed the complexities of her character. Leonidas is another great character and the perfect anti-hero. Not always honorable, trustworthy, or honest, his character is veiled in mystery, and I so loved trying to figure out his true intentions. He is so different from Gemma, who is fairly obvious in her feelings and motivations. Of course, Gemma’s life and family are very different from Leo’s. Unused to the support and love of family, Leo faces familial manipulation, threats, and even attempts on his life. However, Leo is different from most of his family members. He doesn’t possess the cruelty that many of the others do, and he tries valiantly to protect those he loves and cares about. I like that Leo is so well-layered, and I feel like there is so much more to learn about his character. Determined to show Gemma that not all of his people are evil, Leo shows a deep love for his country. However, political intrigue abounds in his world, and it seems as if everyone has a scheme in the works. So many people are vying for the throne, and no one is safe. Gemma knows she can’t trust anyone, though Leo tries to convince her otherwise. There are so many twists in the story, and I was shocked at some of the turns of events. With murder coups, brewing wars, and a woman behind enemy lines, there is tons of tension and action. Plus, there’s the beginning of a swoon-tastic romance! I am a fan of a good love story, and this slow-building, enemies-to-lovers romance is fantastic. Gemma and Leo have such a complicated and impossible romance, which reminds me a bit of Romeo and Juliet. Their families are enemies, and Gemma has despised Leo since he betrayed her when they were children. Gemma is slow to trust the mysterious and secretive Leo, even though she feels drawn to him for some inexplicable reason. Because of his brutal upbringing, Leo struggles with intimacy. Like Gemma, Leo is slow to trust, but his feelings for her are strong. He resists them for many reasons, but this proves impossible. Things are not always as they seem, and the more this pair (especially Gemma) learns about each other, the past, and the present danger, the more they realize that their perceptions might be wrong. I love the tension between this couple. There are so many obstacles in their way, and it seems improbable that they could end up together, but I’m still rooting for them. In addition to the layered characters and swoon-worthy romance, the world-building is immersive and interesting. I love the different animals, magic, and other supernatural elements that wove through the story. Gemma’s loyal gargoyle is fantastic, as is Leo’s feathered friend. They both have big personalities, and though they should be enemies, they actually seem to have a begrudging respect for each other. I can’t wait to learn more about the world, the magic, and the other supernatural elements and creatures in the upcoming books. Though this is a spin-off of the Crown of Shards series, you don’t need to read that series to read this book. That being said, I loved this book so much that I’m going to read the Crown of Shards series next. I think this is a great book for readers who like fantasies with dynamic characters, immersive stories, tons of political intrigue, and a fantastic enemies-to-lovers romance. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series and am so thankful to NetGalley, Jennifer Estep, and Harper Voyager for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Haas

    Just like the original series, Kill the Queen, (this is a spin-off) I found myself getting bored in some areas and then my mind would wander then I would have to reread the same page multiple times. I honestly feel like it’s me, not the book (cliche huh?) because when I think back on the book as a whole it was actually good and the writing is done really well. If I remember correctly when I read the original series I was in the middle of horrible book slump and currently I find myself teetering Just like the original series, Kill the Queen, (this is a spin-off) I found myself getting bored in some areas and then my mind would wander then I would have to reread the same page multiple times. I honestly feel like it’s me, not the book (cliche huh?) because when I think back on the book as a whole it was actually good and the writing is done really well. If I remember correctly when I read the original series I was in the middle of horrible book slump and currently I find myself teetering on the edge of one so I’m going to round up from 3.5 stars to 4 stars and put this on my reread list for when I’m out of this slump. I will say that I think this series is slightly better than the first, I enjoyed the story line a little more and the fact that there wasn’t a love triangle, at least not yet. Please, NO LOVE TRIANGLE! 🤮🤮It’s what mainly ruined the first series for me.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Sellers

    First, I want to say thank you to NetGalley, Jennifer Estep, as well as Avon and Harper Voyager for giving me the opportunity to read this incredible book in advance! Oh my gosh! I need the next book NOW!!! Seriously, yall. March has been a great month for me with books, and this one is no exception. This being the first book by Jennifer Estep I have had the pleasure to read, and IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST, I have to say I am blown away with her writing. Her writing style is so enchanting it draws yo First, I want to say thank you to NetGalley, Jennifer Estep, as well as Avon and Harper Voyager for giving me the opportunity to read this incredible book in advance! Oh my gosh! I need the next book NOW!!! Seriously, yall. March has been a great month for me with books, and this one is no exception. This being the first book by Jennifer Estep I have had the pleasure to read, and IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST, I have to say I am blown away with her writing. Her writing style is so enchanting it draws you in from the first sentence to the very last punctuation. The characters, as well as the world are wonderfully diverse and rich. Each character is truly their own person, making me appreciate even the most evil of her villains. The slow burn attraction that runs through the story is both sweet and vicious. By the end you will be cursing Jennifer’s name and begging for book two, because one is just not enough. One of my favorite parts of this books, other than the amazing story, are the characters. (Yes, I said that already, but it is sooooo true!) They are so complex that I want to dive into each one and know more about their stories. I can truly see several series braking off from this one. Especially one based on Delmira! I LOVE HER! Anyway, that is enough rambling from me. Read it. You will love it. The End.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    My thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Netgalley. I read this book to the 51% mark, then I quit. This isn't because I thought the story was awful. Matter of fact, I was almost having fun! But, eventually the youthfulness is what did me in! Insta love is always bothersome, but it was actually the color purple that killed it for me. 2 kingdoms. One is purple and the other is blue. I never made it to blue. So many shades of blue. Everyone wears shades of purple in our first kingdom. Every on My thanks to Harper Voyager, Jennifer Estep and Netgalley. I read this book to the 51% mark, then I quit. This isn't because I thought the story was awful. Matter of fact, I was almost having fun! But, eventually the youthfulness is what did me in! Insta love is always bothersome, but it was actually the color purple that killed it for me. 2 kingdoms. One is purple and the other is blue. I never made it to blue. So many shades of blue. Everyone wears shades of purple in our first kingdom. Every one. And it's always, and I mean always a detailed description of what shade of purple. "Also, my favorite color is purple." Finally, by my forth or fifth description of lilac, or maybe lavender...I groaned. That's when I decided to call it quits. Otherwise, I did like the story. A bit young for me, but I liked it. Also, gargoyles!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. I loved this first book in a new YA Fantasy trilogy set in the same world as the author's Crown of Shards books. Here, we meet Princess Gemma Ripley, whose frivolous reputation hides her secret identity as a spy, and her skills as a powerful mind magier. Gemma goes undercover with her loyal gargoyle Grimley to see who is stealing tearstone from her family's mines. While sneaking around she crosses paths with Prince Leonidas Morricone 4 stars You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books. I loved this first book in a new YA Fantasy trilogy set in the same world as the author's Crown of Shards books. Here, we meet Princess Gemma Ripley, whose frivolous reputation hides her secret identity as a spy, and her skills as a powerful mind magier. Gemma goes undercover with her loyal gargoyle Grimley to see who is stealing tearstone from her family's mines. While sneaking around she crosses paths with Prince Leonidas Morricone (Leo) of Morta, one of her family's mortal enemies. When Gemma gets into trouble she finds herself pairing up with Leo to uncover the mystery of the missing tearstone. Gemma never dreamed she would be working with Leo, and is surprised and disturbed when she finds herself attracted to him. Both royals will need all the skill, and luck, they can muster to get out of the increasing trouble they find themselves in. This book caught my attention from the start. I really enjoyed the previous series, which is set in the same world about 15 or so years before the events in this trilogy. Gemma is a strong character, but as is typical in these books, there is something holding her back from achieving her full potential. She is challenged multiple times throughout the book until she's able to push through and take control of her powers. I think perseverance and belief in oneself are an important messages that can never be stressed enough. Even in a YA Fantasy. :-) Leo is the typical YA brooding love interest with his own secrets and issues. We don't learn much about him as this book is focused on setting up Gemma and the long-term difficulties she will face throughout the trilogy, but I expect we will learn more about him in the next books. Some of the book is formulaic and there is a bit of repetition regarding the Seven Spires massacre (from the previous series) and the couple's childhood interactions that could have been omitted, but this book is such a fun read that those issues are minor irritants. This is a good first book in a new fun and exciting trilogy and I am really looking forward to the next book in the series. You may miss some nuances in the story if you haven't read the Crown of Shards series, but there is enough background in this book that you could read it without having read the previous series and still be able to enjoy it. However, I highly recommend you read the Crown of Shards series because it is SO GOOD! I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Harper Voyager. All opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life)

    This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ I really enjoyed reading this book! I loved the Crown of Shards trilogy so I was thrilled to get the chance to read more books set in that world. I have to admit that I have a hard time remembering much about secondary characters once I have finished a book so I really knew nothing about Gemma, Leo, or any of the characters but some of the events mentioned in the story were very familiar to me. This would be a perfect place to start This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/ I really enjoyed reading this book! I loved the Crown of Shards trilogy so I was thrilled to get the chance to read more books set in that world. I have to admit that I have a hard time remembering much about secondary characters once I have finished a book so I really knew nothing about Gemma, Leo, or any of the characters but some of the events mentioned in the story were very familiar to me. This would be a perfect place to start if you were thinking about reading any of the books set in this world. Gemma is known as a pampered princess but the reality is that she works to protect her kingdom by working as a spy. She has been working in a mine when she stumbles upon more than she bargained for when she crosses paths with Prince Leo of Morta. She doesn’t hesitate to take full advantage of the opportunity to go undercover in Morta even though it is a risky move. Before it is all over, she will find herself in more danger than she could have ever imagined. This was an exciting story! I was really worried about Gemma, Leo, and the rest of the characters for much of the book. There were a few scenes that were really intense. I was never quite sure who Gemma should trust. I liked Leo and they had a lot of chemistry together but he is loyal to his mother, Queen Maeven. I enjoyed the magic in this story. I love Gemma’s abilities and I have a feeling that she will master even more skills as the series progresses. I really loved the gargoyle, Grimley, and the strix, Lyra, and look forward to seeing more of them in future books. I would recommend this book to others. I thought that this was an excellent start to a promising series set in a world that I already love. The characters were very well done and there was plenty of intense action to keep the pages turning. I cannot wait to read more of this series! I received a digital review copy of this book from Harper Voyager via NetGalley.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shivani (shivsreads_ )

    A powerful princess who moonlights as a spy? Hell yes!! Gemma Ripley, princess of Andvari is a powerful mind magier who has the carefully cultivated persona of a glitzy, pampered princess but is really a spy for her kingdom. When a mission goes horribly wrong and she finds herself in the enemy kingdom of Morta, she reluctantly joins forces with her childhood nemesis Leonidas to uncover a dangerous plot against her kingdom. Capture The Crown is a fascinating, fast moving story with vivid world buil A powerful princess who moonlights as a spy? Hell yes!! Gemma Ripley, princess of Andvari is a powerful mind magier who has the carefully cultivated persona of a glitzy, pampered princess but is really a spy for her kingdom. When a mission goes horribly wrong and she finds herself in the enemy kingdom of Morta, she reluctantly joins forces with her childhood nemesis Leonidas to uncover a dangerous plot against her kingdom. Capture The Crown is a fascinating, fast moving story with vivid world building, complicated relationships and almost Game of Thrones level plotting and scheming by a host of multilayered,enigmatic characters. Gemma is a fierce and independent character whose love for her family and kingdom causes her to bravely risk her life multiple times. Her guilt and shame over her inaction during a traumatic event in the past adds to her determination. Leo is a tough nut to crack for most of the book.It is not very clear where his loyalties lie. This story also has great secondary characters who bring more intrigue and drama to the plot. I did feel that the author could have gone a bit lighter on Gemma’s numerous inner monologues as they became quite repetitive after a point. Although I know that past events have had a hand in shaping the characters’ persona, I would have preferred lesser references to said events too. Nonetheless, I would recommend Capture The Crown for readers who like fantasy books filled with intrigue, drama, politics, magic, a badass heroine, a morally grey hero and a touch of romance. Now, I have one question for Jennifer. When is the next book coming out, because I’m already a mess trying to figure out what happens next? Find me on : INSTAGRAM

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mindy Lou's Book Review

    I'm always eager to try out a new series when the heroine is the hero in story. I like reading about women who can kick butt and take names. I will admit that Gemma fell just a tad bit short here, but I also think she is being set up to really come into her powers in the next books in the series. Gemma is a princess and a spy. I found that very intriguing and looked forward to the adventure I knew she would take us on. After the first initial slow start, things pick up with the first hint of dang I'm always eager to try out a new series when the heroine is the hero in story. I like reading about women who can kick butt and take names. I will admit that Gemma fell just a tad bit short here, but I also think she is being set up to really come into her powers in the next books in the series. Gemma is a princess and a spy. I found that very intriguing and looked forward to the adventure I knew she would take us on. After the first initial slow start, things pick up with the first hint of danger and it kept my attention all the way to the end. I found it interesting that Gemma's love interest is a man who is really her enemy, and one she can't trust...or can she? I'm also super intrigued by the enemy queen. I can't quite get a read on her. Is she truly evil? I think she is, but she also does a few things that made stop and contemplate. I liked that. It shows that this story is unpredictable. I'm going to have to reserve my judgement until I read more in this series. For now, it was intriguing despite having a few things that made me question if Gemma really is as powerful as we are being lead to believe. That can make or break this series for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Read this review on Fresh Fiction CAPTURE THE CROWN marks Jennifer Estep’s return to writing Fantasy. I was immediately intrigued about this concept when I heard about its premise. Estep has been known to create interesting worlds and this one that she had created in the Gargoyle Queen series is no exception. While this first book in the series did take me a little while to get into in the beginning, there was a lot going on in terms of the action and deception. However, the concept of the spy wa Read this review on Fresh Fiction CAPTURE THE CROWN marks Jennifer Estep’s return to writing Fantasy. I was immediately intrigued about this concept when I heard about its premise. Estep has been known to create interesting worlds and this one that she had created in the Gargoyle Queen series is no exception. While this first book in the series did take me a little while to get into in the beginning, there was a lot going on in terms of the action and deception. However, the concept of the spy was the thing that kept me interested. I’ve read a few spy books before, but none of them have been with this type of backdrop, so the combination intrigued me a lot and since this is only the first book in the trilogy, I can only expect it to get better. If you’re a fan of exploring kingdoms and lots of action and suspense, then I think that you’ll enjoy this new series from Jennifer Estep too. Gemma’s character certainly shines in this book and I have high hopes for the other characters as well, especially Leo. CAPTURE THE CROWN certainly showcases Estep’s writing to the fullest. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Capture the Crown was so much fun to dive into! Now it has been a while since I've read a book by Jennifer so I will admit that freaked out when I got accepted to read this one. That last series I dove into was so freaking good that I went into this one with high expectations. Honestly, not disappointed by anything right now. In it, you will meet Gemma. She is a princess and a spy. In the words of Hannah Montana.. she's got I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Capture the Crown was so much fun to dive into! Now it has been a while since I've read a book by Jennifer so I will admit that freaked out when I got accepted to read this one. That last series I dove into was so freaking good that I went into this one with high expectations. Honestly, not disappointed by anything right now. In it, you will meet Gemma. She is a princess and a spy. In the words of Hannah Montana.. she's got the best of both worlds. Maybe? Not sure. I will admit that she was a pretty interesting and likable character though. Plus the adventure that she went on was loads of fun. Definitely made this a page turner. Oh and her love interest? Public enemy number one. Which, hello, I'm sold (again). Honestly, each and every one of her enemies were very intriguing. I just wanted to get to know them a bit more and explore their side of evilness. With each twist and turn, I was constantly on the edge of my seat. I had no idea what was going to go down and that's what kept this being a fun book to devour. Even though the beginning started off a bit slowly for me. It definitely picked up before things felt like they were dragging. In the end, I loved this book and can't wait for the next one to come out!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Under the Covers Book Blog

    Jennifer Estep is writing Fantasy again! When I saw this, I immediately wanted to try it because the premise sounds different to what I am normally drawn to. One of the interesting things about Estep’s series is that she tends to feature a lot of different creatures and characters. I felt like this book was a little out of my comfort zone, so it took me longer than expected to get into. However, I do think that it’s highly detailed and features an interesting protagonist. The concept of a spy Jennifer Estep is writing Fantasy again! When I saw this, I immediately wanted to try it because the premise sounds different to what I am normally drawn to. One of the interesting things about Estep’s series is that she tends to feature a lot of different creatures and characters. I felt like this book was a little out of my comfort zone, so it took me longer than expected to get into. However, I do think that it’s highly detailed and features an interesting protagonist. The concept of a spy is also something new for me. I can say that I’ve only read a handful of spy novels, but paired with this backdrop, I feel like this series will be an interesting one to watch. I am looking forward to seeing what Estep plans to do with this series with the future books. Reviewed by Annie ❤ ♡ Don't want to miss any of our posts? Subscribe to our blog by email! ♡ ❤

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna (Bobs Her Hair)

    I like Jennifer Estep. I was frustrated with the repetition (the Seven Spire Massacre, trying to kill each other when they were children, etc.) and the minutiae of getting from point A to point B. This is set in the same world as the Crown of Shards trilogy, which I enjoyed. While certain elements didn't work for me the interaction and chemistry between Gemma and Leonidas was engaging. Plus, I remember them as children in the Crown of Shards series. I love this type of trope. I look forward to b I like Jennifer Estep. I was frustrated with the repetition (the Seven Spire Massacre, trying to kill each other when they were children, etc.) and the minutiae of getting from point A to point B. This is set in the same world as the Crown of Shards trilogy, which I enjoyed. While certain elements didn't work for me the interaction and chemistry between Gemma and Leonidas was engaging. Plus, I remember them as children in the Crown of Shards series. I love this type of trope. I look forward to book 2 in the Gargoyle Queen trilogy. library eloan

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Formulaic? Yes. Does it matter? Not one bit! Reading a book by Jennifer Estep always feels familiar because it is. Big hearted heroine ✅ lots of magic action ✅ attention to detail when describing food and outfits(there was a lot of purple in this book)✅ lots of muscly chest in the love interest✅It was all good and an entertaining escape from the real world.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Sellers

    Oh my gosh! I need the next book NOW!!! Seriously, yall. March has been a great month for me with books, and this one is no exception. This being the first book by Jennifer Estep I have had the pleasure to read, and IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST, I have to say I am blown away with her writing. Her writing style is so enchanting it draws you in from the first sentence to the very last punctuation. The characters, as well as the world are wonderfully diverse and rich. Each character is truly their own pe Oh my gosh! I need the next book NOW!!! Seriously, yall. March has been a great month for me with books, and this one is no exception. This being the first book by Jennifer Estep I have had the pleasure to read, and IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST, I have to say I am blown away with her writing. Her writing style is so enchanting it draws you in from the first sentence to the very last punctuation. The characters, as well as the world are wonderfully diverse and rich. Each character is truly their own person, making me appreciate even the most evil of her villains. The slow burn attraction that runs through the story is both sweet and vicious. By the end you be cursing Jennifer’s name and begging for book two, because one is just not enough. One of my favorite parts of this books, aside the amazing story, are the characters. (Yes, I said that already, but it is sooooo true!) They are so complex that I want to dive into each one and know more about their stories. I can truly see several series braking off from this one. Especially one based on Delmira! I LOVE HER! Anyway, that is enough rambling from me. Read it. You will love it. The End.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robert Fontenot

    I got this book from a Goodreads Giveaway I tried to finish it but I just couldn't. It ticked all the wrong boxes for me. Mary Sue protagonist? check Overly broad "mind magic"? check Enemies turned lovers? check Instalove? check Hurt/comfort? check Convoluted back story infodumps? check Oddly placed food porn? check Nationalities are color coded? check Even down to eye color? check And almost every color is described in gemstones? check Paragraphs of fantasy name word soup to rival Lewis Carroll's Jabberwoc I got this book from a Goodreads Giveaway I tried to finish it but I just couldn't. It ticked all the wrong boxes for me. Mary Sue protagonist? check Overly broad "mind magic"? check Enemies turned lovers? check Instalove? check Hurt/comfort? check Convoluted back story infodumps? check Oddly placed food porn? check Nationalities are color coded? check Even down to eye color? check And almost every color is described in gemstones? check Paragraphs of fantasy name word soup to rival Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky? check The sort of lazy world building in which there is no electricity but there are light switches (and running water to boot!)? check The sort of lazy world building in which there is no Europe but there is Swiss Cheese? check Writing style that veers from the much younger side of YA to almost inappropriately adult? check By the time I got to where he had scars on the outside but if only he could see that she also had scars, but on the inside, I knew that I was done.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    DNF @ 25% After having this book on my conscience for three weeks, I'm finally giving up. Things that appealed: - An enjoyable point of view character. She had a tough past and was still willing to put herself in danger for her country. Although, is that something that a princess ought to be doing? - Writing that was engaging and easy to read. It's the kind of prose that I typically associate with YA, and it worked well here. - The story was fun. I was genuinely interested in seeing who was moving th DNF @ 25% After having this book on my conscience for three weeks, I'm finally giving up. Things that appealed: - An enjoyable point of view character. She had a tough past and was still willing to put herself in danger for her country. Although, is that something that a princess ought to be doing? - Writing that was engaging and easy to read. It's the kind of prose that I typically associate with YA, and it worked well here. - The story was fun. I was genuinely interested in seeing who was moving the plot behind the stolen gemstone, and why. Things that weren't so great: - Aggressive shallowness. Nothing goes beyond a surface level, including descriptions of trauma. - It was kind of cool that emotion was consistently expressed in similes and metaphors, both within Gemma's mind and when she was reading others' emotions. But after a while it was too intrusive and broke me out of the story. - Slipshod and lazy world building. It's one of those books that's supposedly set in a fantasy world, but if you look at it closely, people are living much like they do in the 21st century. You've got fantasy refrigerators, and fantasy light switches, and running water (with accompanying fantasy infrastructure, I guess?), and public education, and 8-hour work days, and easy access to a wide variety of food for people of all classes (fantasy logistics?). And no cars or guns, of course. There might be times that I could enjoy a book like this, but this seems not to be one of them. Thanks--and apologies--to Harper Voyager for sending me a proof copy in a Goodreads giveaway.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Gemma heads out on a secret spy mission against her father and grandfather's wishes. She is investigating the strange disappearance of large amounts of tearstone. While she investigates the mind where an informant disappeared, Gemma runs into her longtime nemesis, Prince Leonidas Morricone. She finds herself in a precarious position, to save Prince Leo from an attempt on his life. Deciding to do the right thing, she saves Leo opening good and bad feelings Gemma had tried to forget. The attraction Gemma heads out on a secret spy mission against her father and grandfather's wishes. She is investigating the strange disappearance of large amounts of tearstone. While she investigates the mind where an informant disappeared, Gemma runs into her longtime nemesis, Prince Leonidas Morricone. She finds herself in a precarious position, to save Prince Leo from an attempt on his life. Deciding to do the right thing, she saves Leo opening good and bad feelings Gemma had tried to forget. The attraction burns hot but Morta and all the royals are her enemies. How far will Gemma go to uncover the Morta plots and ultimately the very crown is at risk. A spin-off one of my favorite epic fantasy series, THE CROWN OF SHARDS, I found Capture the Crown simply Mind-blowing! I FLAT OUT LOVED THIS BOOK! Estep is a masterful storyteller! She weaves a web of mystery, magic, and mayhem that enraptured me. Although in my humble opinion May 2022 is just too far away, I will be anxiously waiting for Tear Down THE THRONE…it can’t come fast enough. I received this ARC copy of Capture the Crown from Avon - Harper Voyager - HarperCollins. This is my honest and voluntary review. Capture the Crown: A Novel Jennifer Estep FRONTLIST | On Sale Date: July 6, 2021 Ship Date: June 9, 2021 9780063023031, 0063023032 Paperback $16.99 USD, $21.00 CAD, £10.99 GBP Fiction / Fantasy / Epic 432 pages | Announced 1st Print: 50K Series: A Gargoyle Queen Novel 8 in H | 5.3 in W | 0.7 lb Wt

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/07/19/... Since I loved Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards trilogy, picking up Capture the Crown was a no-brainer, as it is the first book of a new series set in the same world. In this novel, we follow protagonist Gemma Ripley, the cousin of Everleigh. On the outside, she may appear to be your typical pampered princess—self-absorbed and shallow, concerned only with parties and pretty gowns. However, the reality of it is more complica 3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2021/07/19/... Since I loved Jennifer Estep’s Crown of Shards trilogy, picking up Capture the Crown was a no-brainer, as it is the first book of a new series set in the same world. In this novel, we follow protagonist Gemma Ripley, the cousin of Everleigh. On the outside, she may appear to be your typical pampered princess—self-absorbed and shallow, concerned only with parties and pretty gowns. However, the reality of it is more complicated. The spoiled princess image is merely a mask she puts on to hide her true activities working as a spy for her kingdom. She’s also a mind magier, which gives her a range of abilities from reading people’s thoughts to moving objects with her mind. In her disguise as a commoner, Gemma works undercover as a miner in the border town of Blauberg, where large amounts of tearstone have been going missing from the royal mines. Before long, Gemma uncovers a smuggling ring operating in town. But her mission hits an unexpected snag as she encounters Prince Leonidas Morricone from the rival kingdom of Morta, who is in Blauberg carrying out his own mysterious plans. Due to something in their shared history, Gemma does not have a high opinion of Leonidas, who appears not to recognize her. In order to maintain her cover, she decides to let him whisk her back to Morta where she can convalesce from her travels, while also using the opportunity as a way to spy on the enemy and perhaps find out who is really behind the stolen tearstone. Fans of the Crown of Shards trilogy should find plenty to like in this first installment of the Gargoyle Queen trilogy as well. Still, a caveat: don’t expect Gemma to have the same charisma or presence as Evie. In case you’re wondering though, you can indeed read this one without having read the previous series, and in fact, to tell the truth, I might even have enjoyed this book more if I hadn’t. While I wouldn’t say Capture the Crown was bad by any means, I wouldn’t call it really memorable or meaningful either, and while the sequels may change this in the future as the characters and story become more developed, for now I remain slightly underwhelmed. I’ll begin with my thoughts on the protagonist. I liked Gemma; she had spirit and she had style. But her voice also sounded young, making this book feel skewed more towards Young Adult (and as far as I know, this book was not marketed as YA, featuring content that would definitely be considered as more “adult”). This in turn set the tone for her eventual romance with Leonidas, which was filled tropes and angst. I didn’t feel that there was much chemistry between them either, despite the “mortal enemies to lovers” arc the author was clearly trying hard to set up. Instead, their romance felt awkward and forced. Then there was the plot. Look, I get it. Gemma’s a spy, and as such a lot of her work involves snooping and observing the people around her, and not everyone can be like Evie, who joins a gladiator troupe and kicks some serious ass in Kill the Queen. But for much of this book, and especially after the intro, it just felt like not much was happening. Mostly, the story was dominated by court intrigue and relationship drama, lots of dialogue, and at times it was a struggle just to stay focused. On the plus side though, magic played a huge role in this book, and I also delighted in the different creatures like Grimley the gargoyle, who’ll no doubt be a fan favorite. Fantasy fans will also appreciate the many cool ideas kicking around here, I’m sure. That said, world-building is definitely not the novel’s forte. Cultural differences between the various kingdoms were overly simplistic, for example. And while Gemma’s magical abilities were impressive, it was rather unclear what the extent or limits of her powers were, and there appeared to be no rhyme or rhythm to how they worked. As a result, the fantasy aspects were not quite as well integrated with the rest of the story, feeling more like an affectation. It’s probably not a deal breaker in the scheme of things, but it still might be a source of frustration for some. All in all, I can’t deny I’d hoped for more out of Capture the Crown, but even with its weaknesses, this was a fun romp. Besides being on the lighter side for epic fantasy and the fact that the story has a mild taste of YA despite being an adult novel, it was an entertaining read that went by quickly. I’m still greatly interested in following Jennifer Estep’s work and my admiration for her storytelling will be the main reason I’ll most likely pick up the next volume.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen

    Book – Capture the Crown Author – Jennifer Estep Series – Gargoyle Queen #1 Cliffhanger? - Yes Publication Date – July 6, 2021 Genre – Fantasy Rating – 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars Complimentary copy generously provided by Harper Voyager through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My Thoughts - Story I really love starting a new Fantasy Series and going through all of the world building and character development...meeting new people, creatures, magic, towns and becoming part of the relationships that bui Book – Capture the Crown Author – Jennifer Estep Series – Gargoyle Queen #1 Cliffhanger? - Yes Publication Date – July 6, 2021 Genre – Fantasy Rating – 4 1/2 out of 5 Stars Complimentary copy generously provided by Harper Voyager through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My Thoughts - Story I really love starting a new Fantasy Series and going through all of the world building and character development...meeting new people, creatures, magic, towns and becoming part of the relationships that build. Espionage, Romance, Vengeance, Torture, PTSD...are just some of the experiences from this story...but there is so much more contained between these pages. Ms. Estep outdid herself in her development of Gemma (our heroine) ---- a scared twenty-something who battles the demons from when she was 12 years old and witnessed her family mutilated. From this she suffers with anxiety on how to control her magic. She starts out weak and hides behind a necklace that keeps her magic controllable, but as she forms relationships, she starts to understand that she must take a stand for her friends and her country. Ohhhh...and if you read the series, Crown of Shards...there are some mentions of Bellona! The romance? Well, that's another tricky thing. Gemma sees Leo as her enemy and all she wants is vengeance for that fateful day when she was 12 years old. But as more mysteries unravel, Gemma may just be wrong about her feelings toward Leo. Now I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series since Gemma has finally threw away her crutch and has let her magic free. Reason for Reading – NetGalley Review Story – 5 out of 5 Stars Steam – 4 out of 5 Stars Angst – 5 out of 5 Stars Writing – 4.5 out of 5 Stars Content Flow – 4.5 out of 5 Stars Would Read More from Author? Yes Recommend To – Lovers of a slow burn...then heart pounding fantasy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeanny

    1.5 stars. Audible version. Narration was well done. The story failed to hold my interest mostly bc I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters. I thought Gemma the FMC incredibly useless & to be honest TSTL. I suspect if the characters were more engaging the plot would’ve worked well enough. I will not continue the series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    ☕️Kimberly

    Full RTC

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex (The Scribe Owl)

    See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 2/5 stars Capture the Crown is a mess of a novel with a chaotic magic system and jumbled worldbuilding. I always feel bad writing negative reviews, but Capture the Crown was hot garbage. I wanted to like the whole idea of the princess-turned-spy, but everything was too much of a mess to find the remnants of a good synopsis. First of all, most of the questions ab See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! 2/5 stars Capture the Crown is a mess of a novel with a chaotic magic system and jumbled worldbuilding. I always feel bad writing negative reviews, but Capture the Crown was hot garbage. I wanted to like the whole idea of the princess-turned-spy, but everything was too much of a mess to find the remnants of a good synopsis. First of all, most of the questions about this book that I see are about the previous series. No, you don't have to read it to read this book. It's just set in the same world; I wouldn't even call it a companion novel. I haven't read the first series either, but I got the gist of it. As you know, I always look at the characters first. I didn't particularly like any of them. And I didn't understand the romance either. As soon as they see each other, Gemma talks about aTtRaCtIoN between them. THERE IS NO ATTRACTION. YOU KEEP SAYING IT, BUT SHOW ME IT. As for the worldbuilding, the only difference between the two main countries is that one is violently blue and the other violently purple. I could not quote enough times that Gemma talks about "Morton purple" and two people literally get into a fight about the differences between lilac and lavender. I live in America, but do you see me prancing around in red, white, and blue every day? I might as well throw in bald eagle head boppers for all the crazy wearable patriotism in this novel. So the characters and relationships weren't great and the worldbuilding was nonexistent. A book normally has some redeemable element. What about the magic system? NO. THAT WAS THE WORST PART! Gemma is a mind magier, which obviously means that she can hear people's thoughts, move objects, make weird booms when she screams, turn into a ghost while she sleeps, and visit other people's dreams. Duh. And if one of those can't get her out of a situation, don't worry, she'll make another ability out of thin air! You know all about Dauntless cake and Katniss's favorite lamb and plum soup, but what about all the food in Capture the Crown? Gemma's on a mission and pretending to be a peasant, so she brings common food to lunch at her job. A sandwich on sourdough bread with apricot jam and Havarti cheese with pear lemonade on the side. And then she has a peasant breakfast. Hot oatmeal with dried figs and toasted slivered almonds dusted with cinnamon and chocolate flakes. And then she saves this guy and he pulls a whole charcuterie board out of the cupboard. Maybe food is another one of her powers? All in all, this book was a mess. At least it gave me something to write about.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Lizbeth

    A solid fantasy that just didn't feel unique enough for me. I enjoyed the Gargoyle and magic aspects of the book, but found myself rolling my eyes at some of the characters A solid fantasy that just didn't feel unique enough for me. I enjoyed the Gargoyle and magic aspects of the book, but found myself rolling my eyes at some of the characters

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    I actually didn't finish this book which was disappointing. I just simply lost interest. It wasn't bad but I just couldn't get vested in the story and the characters. I actually didn't finish this book which was disappointing. I just simply lost interest. It wasn't bad but I just couldn't get vested in the story and the characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Manu ✦★✦

    DNF 50% I just wish I had DNF this sooner! 25% in I already knew I wasn't liking it, but I was expecting some improvement, a little thing that would make this book a little less horrible. And oh surprise... there wasn't. First of all, I've already read Jennifer Estep before, my teenage self loved the super trashy fantasy of Touch of Frost and the whole Mythos Academy series. It was my kind of bad, a trashy book that you still enjoyed despite how stupid it was. And I expected the same from this on DNF 50% I just wish I had DNF this sooner! 25% in I already knew I wasn't liking it, but I was expecting some improvement, a little thing that would make this book a little less horrible. And oh surprise... there wasn't. First of all, I've already read Jennifer Estep before, my teenage self loved the super trashy fantasy of Touch of Frost and the whole Mythos Academy series. It was my kind of bad, a trashy book that you still enjoyed despite how stupid it was. And I expected the same from this one, but I don't know whether I've outgrown my bad taste or this book was beyond bad BAD, though I suspect is the second. To understand my dislike for this book there are three major points: characters, romance, and plot. And my problem with the characters was that they were annoying, boring, and completely unidimensional. They were also super cliche, but that's not a problem to me when well managed! But the other thing this book suffers from is a lot of telling and zero showing. Let's put as an example Gemma, the main character. In the book synopsis, she's described as this pampered princess who actually is a super powerful spy. But the thing is... she isn't. Whenever Gemma has the chance to use her powers she can't because she's overwhelmed about how powerful she is, which is the worst show of power I've ever read. And add to that she is the worst spy ever; she constantly gets out of her "spy" character, she is the worse at going undercover, and she can't keep her mouth close in the most crucial moments. And the worst is that I did like Gemma's character in the first chapters, she was funny and lowkey relatable. But 15 chapters later she was super annoying, her comments were no longer funny, and her decisions and motivations were questionable. And she wasn't even the worst character, Leonidas was. there wasn't a single moment I liked Leonidas, mainly because his only qualities were being handsome and "kind enough to not kill little girls". Like WTF, in which alternative universe can I like him? He was plainer than a rock and more boring than this book. And though I just described to characters everyone else was equally boring and bad. Add all that and the romance is horrible. But what made it even worse was the most horrible insta-love ever, and though they didn't immediately fall in love with each other, Gemma couldn't stop saying how she felt a "weird attraction for this super attractive man who is her swore enemy". I think I don't need to further explain how horrible this was. And finally, the plot, that despite having one of the most basic average fantasy worlds ever, I didn't understood shit. Mainly because there's a super big dump of information at the very beginning and because of all the stupid flashbacks that Gemma felt the need to mention even though they were not necessary at all. So I'm missing a lot of things that I hated but I think this sums up all the reasons why this book is horrible.

  29. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Graceley Knox Capture the Crown over-delivers in each and every aspect of what you’d expect from a novel written by Estep. Romance and intrigue, layered and detailed worldbuilding, both relatable and swoonworthy characters, a whole lot of edge-of-your-seat action, and perfectly timed quick-witted banter sprinkled in there to ease the readers tense shoulders at just the right time. And for those of you who are new to Estep’s writing, any fan of fa Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Graceley Knox Capture the Crown over-delivers in each and every aspect of what you’d expect from a novel written by Estep. Romance and intrigue, layered and detailed worldbuilding, both relatable and swoonworthy characters, a whole lot of edge-of-your-seat action, and perfectly timed quick-witted banter sprinkled in there to ease the readers tense shoulders at just the right time. And for those of you who are new to Estep’s writing, any fan of fantasy novels in general will adore this book. But, be warned, this book is by no means just another fantasy novel that’s interchangeable with a shelf full of others and you can trust me on this one because my home library is full of fantasy novels of every kind. But I can wax poetic about my books later… moving on to the good stuff… Read the FULL REVIEW on The Nerd Daily

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars See the full review & more at HarlequinJunkie Superb world building and an action-packed plot made Capture the Crown an unforgettable reading experience. Jennifer Estep is already one of my go-to authors for fantasy, and this new series is setting up to be a wildly enjoyable ride. First off, this Gargoyle Queen series is a spinoff of Estep’s Crown of Shards trilogy. But you can read this as a standalone where much of what happened previously is mentioned throughout this sto Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars See the full review & more at HarlequinJunkie Superb world building and an action-packed plot made Capture the Crown an unforgettable reading experience. Jennifer Estep is already one of my go-to authors for fantasy, and this new series is setting up to be a wildly enjoyable ride. First off, this Gargoyle Queen series is a spinoff of Estep’s Crown of Shards trilogy. But you can read this as a standalone where much of what happened previously is mentioned throughout this story. Second of all, this is set in the same world/countries but is about sixteen years after the Seven Spire massacre that took place in the Crown of Shards books. So our heroine Gemma, who was twelve at the time of that terrible battle, is now in her late twenties. And she’s a spy. Sort of... Read More

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