Tear Down the Throne by Jennifer Estep
Gargoyle Queen #2
May 3, 2022, by Harper Voyager
Review by Angela
The third book in the Gargoyle Queen series by Jennifer Estep picks up just a short time after the events in the previous installment. Princess Gemma Ripley of Andvari is back home from Morta, but her time spent there and the tortures she suffered will never be able to be forgotten. She still hasn’t quite figured out what devious plots Prince Milo has planned or forgotten the betrayal of Leonidas. But the Summit is set to begin soon and with the representatives of every kingdom present, there is sure to be plenty of intrigues to navigate.
While the first book felt like a slow build, setting up character backstory and the general politics of this world (for those who didn’t read the original series and aren’t familiar), Tear Down the Throne jumps right into the action. Gemma is still spying for her country and trying to `reason out just what plans Milo has for all the tearstone stolen from the Andvari mines. Her relationship with Leo is more fraught than ever as she feels like she can’t trust him, even though her heart is still drawn to him.
It doesn’t take too long to figure out that Queen Maeven of Morta has devised a new way to punish Gemma and force a union between their two countries. The only question is why? Leonidas is set up as a sacrifice and volunteered to endure the Gauntlet, where he must complete three tasks in order to win Gemma’s hand in marriage. And he won’t be swayed from competing. Leo seems determined to prove his trust and devotion to her through this challenge, even though to fail would mean he forfeits his life.
While the beginning felt like a classic action and intrigue fantasy, the romance picks up shortly once Leo arrives with his family at the Summit. I wasn’t sure just how long this author would string out their relationship build-up, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that readers would get that emotional payoff in just the second book in the series. There is such longing between the two, and I just knew that some big gesture was going to happen to bring the two together. Finally. And I was right.
Gemma’s character grows so much in this installment, going from a young woman in the first book who makes stupid mistakes and is a little tentative about her magic, to a true power who deeply understands the workings of government and court conspiracies, between both allies and enemies. She learns to trust her heart and even though there is still a villain on the loose at the conclusion that will surely come back to exact some revenge in the next book in the series, I’m confident she and Leo will be triumphant in the end.
This was a great addition to the series and I’m looking forward to what comes next.
Final grade- B