Book Review: Tear Down the Throne by Jennifer Estep

About the Book:

Title: Tear Down the Throne

Author: Jennifer Estep

Series: A Gargoyle Queen #2

Page Length: 464

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Synopsis: Crown princess. Clever spy. Powerful mind magier. Gemma Ripley of Andvari is all those things–and determined to stop an enemy from using magical tearstone weapons to conquer her kingdom.

Gemma’s quest for answers leads her to a trade Summit between the various kingdoms. Among the other royals in attendance is Queen Maeven Morricone of Morta and her son, Prince Leonidas–Gemma’s charming and dangerous nemesis.

Gemma knows that Maeven always has a long game in motion, and sure enough, the cunning queen invokes an arcane tradition that threatens the fragile truce between Andvari and the other kingdoms. Despite her best intentions, Gemma once again finds herself thrown together with Leo and battling her growing feelings for the enemy prince.

When a series of deadly attacks shatters the Summit’s peaceful negotiations, Gemma realizes that someone wants to tear the royals down from their thrones–and that this enemy just might succeed.

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon | Book Depository

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My Review:

Tear Down the Throne is such a great continuation to the Gargoyle Queen series! The story is set primarily at an annual summit where representatives of each ruling kingdom meet. As the leaders meet, old allies and enemies are put to the test, and Gemma must face her feelings for her sworn enemy. Can Gemma forgive Leonidas’s lies and betrayal? And how can she ever trust her enemy when his mother still intends to do harm?

I love Gemma’s journey as she battles her duty and her heart.  Life becomes very complicated for her as she tries to figure out who she can trust, who is manipulating her, and who has true intentions, and when the villainous Queen Maeven calls for an old and deadly competition, Gemma realizes that her kingdom and her heart are at risk.  

There are so many relationships explored in this book.  Friendships and families are challenged and strengthened, and allies are put to the test.  I love that the story explores so many different relationships and shows how complicated and difficult some can often be as well as how rewarding others are.  There are also some adorable moments with new and old animals that I loved. These sweet and silly moments added a bit of fun and levity to a suspenseful and intense fantasy.  

Of course, my favorite relationship in the book is the romance. It is absolutely swoon-tactic! These enemies have a forbidden romance, and they face so many obstacles.  Though Gemma fights her long-time feelings for Leonidas, he is pretty open in his determination to win her over.  Both characters reflect on and talk about their past and the events that happened when they were kids and how they affected and changed them, which is really interesting.  Even though they are enemies, they have such a connected past, and I liked learning more about it. And their chemistry in the present is amazing! They make enemies-to-lovers look good!

The supernatural elements and world-building are also fantastic, and the story is super immersive.  The powers and abilities many of the characters have are fascinating and prove invaluable as they battle new and old enemies and obstacles. I also really like that the story delved deeper into Leonidas’s mother’s story.  Maeven is a villainous antagonist, but in this book, her character is much more developed, and you begin to see her as more than just a villain.  She is flawed and manipulative and downright evil at times, but there are other times and circumstances where she shows compassion, regret, and other positive attributes.  It takes a gifted storyteller to get the reader to feel sympathy for the villain, and Estes does just that. 

The story has a ton of action and suspense and so much political intrigue.  Since all of the leaders of the kingdom are together, there are a lot of political dealings going on, and Leonidas’s mother adds to the already tense gathering by instigating a challenge that would unite Leonidas and Gemma. Plus, it seems there is an assassin in their midst, and danger lurks around every corner. It’s intense and intriguing and has several surprise twists.

I loved this book.  It was well-paced, action-packed, and filled with intrigue, suspense, drama, a deadly competition, a little bit of humor, and an epic romance!  Since this is the second book in the series and is not a standalone, I would recommend reading the first book before diving into this one.  That being said, if you like romantic fantasy, you will definitely enjoy this!


Rating:

Favorite Parts:

  • The romance.
  • The supernatural elements.
  • The action.

Favorite Lines:

I’d come here as a spy, but I was going to leave here as an assassin.

“This is madness.” I repeated my earlier sentiment, although my voice lacked conviction. “Then be mad with me,” Leonidas replied.

“I’m going to earn your trust, Gemma Ripley,” he said in a serious, earnest voice. “And your heart too, if I am lucky enough to manage it.”

Recommendations:

Want to learn more about the series? Check out my review of the first book:

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