Kill the Queen Audiobook by Jennifer Estep (REVIEW)

Posted by on Oct 30, 2018 in Reviews | 32 comments

Review of: Kill The Queen Audiobook
Jennifer Estep

Reviewed by:
On October 30, 2018
Last modified:October 30, 2018


Kill the Queen Audiobook

By: Jennifer Estep

Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang

Published by: Harper Audio 10/02/18

Kill the Queen (Crown of Shards #1) by Jennifer Estep read by Lauren Fortgang

4 Hearts rating image Hot Listens

Crown of Shards #1

13 hrs and 4 mins

Genre: Fantasy

Kill the Queen Audiobook Sample

Kill the Queen Audiobook

4 Hearts

I’ve been a big fan of Jennifer Estep ever since I read Spider’s Bite back in 2013. She really grabbed me with wonderful world-building and fantastic characters that you can’t help but love. Even after 17 books, I continue to enjoy spending time in Ashland with Gin and the gang. I even really enjoyed her Black Blade Trilogy, which is YA, and I’m extremely picky about YA series. She does have some other backlist series that I still need to tackle, and I will someday, but must tackle the shiny new thing first. 🙂 So, I was very excited to get a chance to listen to her new series, Crown of Shards.

If you know me, you know I like to go into books as blind as possible. I didn’t read the blurb, but I have seen a few tweets about this book before reading. So, I knew it was more fantasy and taking place in a world different than Gin’s (though Ms Estep couldn’t shy away from including a small Easter egg from Gin’s world into this story). I also knew there was a gladiator aspect to the story. That was the extent of my knowledge of this series going into it. I have to say, it is a great story. I’m so glad that I grabbed it.

So this is the story of Evie. She’s a somewhat distant relative of the queen. She came to live with the queen after she was orphaned when both parents died. She has little magical abilities in a world where magic means almost everything. She is looked down on by members of her family. She is often the whipping boy or forced to do things the other royals don’t want to do.

I really loved all the different species that Estep creates. The different shifters, which aren’t quite like what you think of. The one that stood out to me the most are the ogre shifters. They can look human, but can become ogres. There is a mark on them that shows what they can shift in.

This book opens with a lot of action and keeps up throughout much of the book, without being overwhelming. Evie has to go from being a low level royal, learning mostly things like dancing and being proper to later becoming a gladiator and fighting literally for her life. There is a lot of character growth in this single book. Makes you wonder about how much more she can grow in future books.

I really enjoyed this beginning of a series. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Kill the Queen Audiobook Narration

5 Hearts

Lauren Fortgang is again the narrator for this series (she also narrates the Elemental Assassins and Black Blade series for Jennifer Estep). She does a great job with all the different characters. I love her male and female characters. I think she’s great with all the different species that she’s done in this series (and in previous series). I did notice that she dropped the hint of Southern accent in this series when compared to Gin (which I just listened to recently too), which makes sense If you haven’t listened to Lauren, I highly recommend you give her a try.

Jennifer Estep
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer has worked as a features writer and page designer for a daily newspaper and has more than 10 years of journalism experience. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and other writing groups.

Jennifer’s books have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, and a variety of other publications.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

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Lauren Fortgang
Lauren Fortgang lives in New York City where she currently works as an actor and voiceover artist. Born in Wilmington, DE, she split her time there with an upbringing in a variety of rural towns in northern California. She had early training at A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory and is a graduate of Fordham University: College at Lincoln Center, where she majored in theater. Her curiosity for finding new niches in the industry has afforded her a broad career spectrum, both in and out of the ‘spotlight’ as actor, singer, spokesperson audiobook narrator, podcaster, and even costume designer.

Television credits include roles on Law and Order (NBC), Law and Order: SVU (NBC), and Important Things with Demetri Martin (Comedy Central). Recent theatrical endeavors include Creation Production Company productions of Escape (LaMama E.T.C. – 50th anniversary season) and Laughing Pictures (The Flea). She’s worked in a variety of capacities with a delightful smattering of companies headed by Fordham alumni and professors, and hopes to continue to support the work of this network of artists and friends. She seeks evolvement in independent films such as the recent Astoria, Queens and The Sunnyside Murders, both of which were featured at a variety of festivals, including Queens World Film Festival, NYTVF, Breckenridge Festival of Film and NewFest.

Her commercial gigs cover national on-camera and voiceover spots for Ikea, Walmart, TJ Maxx and Woolite. She’s given voice to material spanning from video games to textbooks and works regularly as an audiobook narrator at Audible, Hachette, Penguin, Random House and beyond, having recorded roughly 150 unabridged titles and some 200 segments for monthly programming. She has received recognition from Audiofile Magazine, the Audio Publishers Association, the American Library Association and the Young Aldult Library Services Association, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly.

A hobbyist-extraordinaire, she (at any given moment) might fancy herself a baker, gardener, chef or seamstress and plays coed touch football weekly.

Finally, no bio would be complete without noting the enormity of gratitude owed her parents for supplying her freedom of imagination and a bottomless well of encouragement during the ups and (more importantly) the downs. A couple of folks ‘having your back’ for a lifetime is no small thing…

Lauren is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.

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I like to thank Harper Audio for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewed by:

ML Simmons Reviewer

  • 4
    editor rating
Melanie Simmons
I’m Melanie and I live in Ohio. I have two horses and a dog. I’m an animal lover, avid book reader and audiobook listener. I like to live vicariously through fictional characters. I enjoy reading and listening to mostly fictional books in the paranormal genre, including Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance and Horror. My favorite paranormal creatures are shifters, doesn’t matter the flavor.


  1. I read this and loved it. Glad to hear the audio was good as well.

    • I’m a huge fan of Lauren Fortgang. She does a great job. I highly recommend her if you see her listed as a narrator for a book you’re interested in.

  2. I was tempted to get this one in audiobook after I learned Lauren was narrating. But I did enjoy reading it. I liked it and the world is fascinating. I do hope for a stronger Evie in the next book… she felt a bit young to me. But still… very good!

    • She did feel young. I wonder how much of that could come from the way she was treated. She lived a somewhat sheltered life, being royal, but also wasn’t part of the gang there either. I don’t think she had a lot of friends growing up. And now I’m talking about her like she’s a real person. LOL

  3. I’ve seen this reviewed in print Melanie and it’s on my list good to know you loved the audio.

    • I will always take anything with Lauren Fortgang as the narrator on audio. She’s so good at it.

  4. Maybe one day, after book 2 is out. I still worry about things

    • I’ve done that several times, wait to see how the second book is before starting the series.

  5. I MUST try this narrator. Now that I can do audio, I’m on the hunt for “my” narrators. Atm I love Mary Robinette Kowal, too bad my library doesn’t have audio’s of her books. That needs to be remedied

    • Try asking for them to purchase. My library has been great about getting me titles. Also check Overdrive and Hoopla. Finding your favorite narrators is fun. My list keeps growing.

  6. I’m definitely late in the Jennifer Estep bandwagon as I’ve only read one of her books. Fail.

    • I have so many authors (and narrators) like that. There are just entirely too many great books out there to get to all of them. #BookLoverProblems LOL

  7. I’ve been hearing good things about her books so I need to start reading her.

    • I do really like her work. She has characters that I just love and want to spend time with them. They make me laugh. She does mention really yummy food a lot, so you’ve been warned. 😀

  8. I like that this is a fantasy world since I want to include more fantasies in my reading after enjoying a few this year. I still haven’t tried her older stuff, but its more a when not an if.

    • I know the feeling. I have so many authors that are a when, not if. I hope you get a chance to try her soon.

  9. I loved this book and could totally see myself doing an audio re-read in the future so I am happy to hear that the audio was well done.

    • Lauren Fortgang is the same narrator that does her Elemental Assassins series, so I knew I would love the narration.

  10. I really loved this and am so excited to see where it will go from here!

  11. Oh yes I really had a good time with this one!

  12. And yet another author I need to read. Somewhere along the line I might have read one, I just can’t remember. I love that is the first book in the series and it sounds like there’s no first book problems. I need to try this narrator.

    • I know that feeling, thinking you’ve read an author, but can’t remember. There are so many good ones out there, it is easy for one to get lost in the shuffle. 🙂

  13. I listened to this one and loved it too. I thought the narrator was fantastic and the story was riveting. Estep is always and author that I love and I am excited for this new series! Glad you loved it too.

    • Lauren Fortgang is great. She’s read a few series for Jennifer Estep. I’ve listened to a few other things with her. She’s a lot of fun.

  14. I’ve been wanting to read her books. This new series sounds really good and the perfect reason to finally read her books.

    • Yes, it is hard to start with a series like Elemental Assassins that has 17 books out currently. I hope you get a chance to try this one and love it as much as I did.

  15. I LOVE Estep and Fortgang but I gave up on this one on audio. I kept thinking it was a “Gin” story. LOL Also I didn’t seem to be in the right mood for it. I will go back to it at some point but I’m not sure if I’ll read it or listen. I may need to read it to put Gin out of my head.

    • I know how that goes. I still need to get back to Kelley Armstrong’s Cainsville series. I love the first two books, but couldn’t get into the third. I still haven’t picked it back up. I’m sure I will one day.

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