cover image Capture the Crown

Capture the Crown

Jennifer Estep. Harper Voyager, $16.99 trade paper (464p) ISBN 978-0-06-302303-1

Bestseller Estep returns to the world of gargoyles, mind magiers, and political intrigue first conjured in the Crown of Shards series with this romantic and exciting fantasy adventure, the first in her Gargoyle Queen trilogy. To most, Gemma Ripley seems like nothing more than the pampered princess of Andavari, obsessed with dresses, balls, and herself—but she also secretly works as a spy. While undercover as a tearstone miner at the border town of Blauberg, she discovers a smuggling ring and lands herself in mortal peril. But the real danger might come from her rescuer, the handsome and mysterious Morta prince, Leonidas Morricone. Whisked to the royal castle of Morta, Andavari’s rival kingdom, Gemma must figure out who she can trust while confronting her traumatic past and the magic she has suppressed. Some of the ensuing intrigue feels thin, and the characterization is often rather black-and-white: Andavari equals good, Morta equals bad. Despite the flaws, though, the gripping romp flies, like Grimley, Gemma’s beloved gargoyle, at a breakneck speed that will keep readers turning pages. Fans of Tamora Pierce who are ready for a little more gore should take note. [em]Agent: Annalise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (July) [/em]