Crown of Shards, book one
Published Oct 2018 by Harper Voyager
Format Read: Book from Personal Library
Description from Goodreads:
In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.
But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.
Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.
But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.
Holy cow, did I love this book.
I am a fan of high fantasy, but I also love quick reads, and sadly, the two are not always one in the same. However, this book delivered all the things I love about high fantasy - a world with a fully-fledged magic system, a loosely medieval society, and epic battles - in a super easy to read writing style. I devoured this book...and immediately pre-ordered the sequel!
The main character of this book is a girl with a strong core, but has been brow-beaten enough that she believes she is worthless. The girl finding her inner strength and going on to kick ass trope is one I'm all in for... every single time. I love that in this book, too, there is romance, but it is completely secondary to her doing what she needs to do AND the friendships she builds with others along the way. This is no princess that drops everything for a man. No, indeed.
The magic, the sword-fighting, the royal intrigue, the secrets, the romance, and the main character all sold this book for me. I am waiting WITH BATED BREATH until July (wahhhh!!) for the sequel, Protect the Prince, to be released.