Author: Jennifer Estep
Bestselling author Jennifer Estep continues her Gargoyle Queen series with a highly anticipated sequel to Capture the Crown: Gemma Ripley must protect her kingdom and herself from threats of war, assassination, and a dangerous attraction that could break her reign…or her heart.
Crown princess. Clever spy. Powerful mind magier. Gemma Ripley of Andvari is all those things, but these days, she’s also extremely worried. Her problem? Figuring out how to stop an enemy’s plot to somehow use 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 Morta. Despite her best intentions to keep her distance from the Morricones, 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 . . .
Tear Down the Throne is the sequel to Capture the Crown in the Gargoyle Queen series. The series reads best in order as the story is continuous. The reader continues to follow Gemma Armina Merilde Ripley, crown princess of Andvari on the continent of Buchovia. After the events at the end of the previous novel, this story picks up soon after where the annual summit is coming up. Here representatives from each ruling kingdom will meet. Not only will Gemma and her family attend, but her enemies Mortan Queen Maeven Morricone and her eldest son, Milo Morricone, her not-quite friend, but not quite enemy, Maeven’s daughter, Delmira, and Gemma’s love interest and enemy, Prince Leonidas Luther Andor Morricone, Maeven’s second son, will all be in attendance. While Maeven, Milo, Leo, and Delmira are all part of the same family, Gemma’s different relationships with each added a lot of complexity to the first novel and I love how it continues to be explored in this one.
As the events in this story begin with the politics of the summit, it was interesting to explore the dynamics of kingdoms outside of Andvari and Morta. Gemma’s life in constantly in danger both by her own doing during spy missions and outside of her control as there are those trying to get rid of her and her family. While Maeven and her family seem the most likely culprits, there may be more to it than meets the eye. Maeven also surprises everyone at the summit by enacting an ancient tradition involving Gemma and Leo, which added a lot of complication to everything. Throughout the story Gemma is trying to determine who she can trust and how to survive. There are those who she believes are on her side, such as her friend, Reiko, and her gargoyle, Grimley, but there are those that are constantly in question, such as Leo.
There are multiple relationships explored in this story: political, family, friendship, and romance. While all of these were very well done, I am a huge sucker for romance, and I love Leo and Gemma’s story. Each feel duty bound to protect their own kingdoms, but they have a difficult time denying the connection between them. If it was just two of them, they would be together without question; however, there are multiple external facts that make this a very captivating will-they-won’t-they story. Leo and Gemma are each such interesting characters on their own and I love how their backstories were integrated into the present timeline.
While this series takes place in the same universe and includes same characters as the Crown of Shards series, I love that the reader is not required to read both to follow the story. I happen to be one of those readers, although Crown of Shards is something I really want to read soon. The plot twists were well incorporated, and I loved the pacing of this story. There are multiple scenes with faster action that are well-balanced with slower character and plot building moments. This novel had it all from politics, mystery, action, and compelling characters that it will be a very difficult to wait for the third novel to be released!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Avon and Harper Voyager, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**