Capture the Crown by Jennifer Estep
Gargoyle Queen #1
July 6, 2021, by Harper Voyager
Review by Angela
Capture the Crown is the first book in the Crown of Shards spin-off series featuring two well-known characters. The Gargoyle Queen series will follow Gemma Ripley as she first acts as a spy for the kingdom of Andvari, uncovers sinister plots, and teams up (and maybe falls in love?) with an enemy to prevent a war.
Readers first met Gemma in Kill the Queen, when she was a young girl hiding under the table during the Seven Spire Massacre. She has clearly come into her own in the years since and when the book opens she is acting as a spy and looking into loads of tearstone that have gone missing from an Andvari mine. Her investigation leads her into danger and discovering that the kingdom of Morta is once again up to no good.
Her unlikely ally turns out to be Prince Leonidas Morricone, the second son of the ruler of Morta and a man who she once encountered while fleeing the enemy after the massacre. They have no reason to trust each other and a difficult history behind them, but after saving each other’s lives, they tentatively decide to work together to discover what Leo’s older brother is planning to do with all the stolen tearstone.
Most of this book is a set-up for what is to come. We get reacquainted with Gemma and Leonidas and settle back into the politics of this world. Morta is still the bad guy and Queen Maeven just as terrible as she was in the original series. This time though readers spend most of their time in the Kingdom of Morta and seeing the relationships between the royal family. Leo and Gemma do start to build what I think will be an eventual romantic relationship, although I do believe it will be something that doesn’t manifest until much later in the series. But the potential is there and I look forward to watching their relationship grow.
This was a slow read starting out, gradually picking up toward the end. It does leave off on a cliffhanger, but I expected that since I figured that this would at least be a three book series. I was very happy to get back to this world and look forward to the second book in the series and discovering what comes next.
Final grade- B-