Synopsis: Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.
First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.
Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.
Dark forces are also at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, her immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes Evie wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.
Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s … well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.
Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen… (Amazon)
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Rating: 3 stars
Odd, it seems, when the second book in a series falls shorter than the first. If anything, the initial book might sometimes seem a little weak since it's the one that builds the world of a series, slowly introducing all the aspects that we need. But, once in a while the case appears backwards, and this was one of those moments.
Make no mistake, I enjoyed Protect the Prince regardless of any shortcomings. This story is still a lot of fun, with endearing characters to boot, and an entertaining plot full of mayhem and intrigue. But those beforementioned shortcomings were rather pronounced, and not easy to ignore.
Most of the book centers around Evie visiting Andvari so that she may meet with its king, and not only smooth over the murder of his youngest son and trusted advisor by Vasilia, but to create a pact between both kingdoms so that they can stand together against the enemy kingdom of Morta. The start of it all was excellent, very believable with the Andvarians less than eager to not only have Evie in their home, but with any chance of brooking an agreement with her. Evie's less than stellar hold on her reign is more than expected, well portrayed, and I still had a bit of difficulty picturing her in the role.
All in all, it all fit once one takes into consideration everything that she has been through until this point. But once we enter the second half of the book, things begin to get a little messy.
Characters, especially the closer they are to one another, tend to be incredibly dramatic. They're over the top. There are so many exclamation points—especially between Sullivan and Evie—that you can't help but wince. Yes, Sullivan, it's exciting that Evie has woken up after being almost killed, but since you have woken up and watched her for about ten seconds, suddenly screaming out her name and rushing to her side is a little bit delayed. And while I am a fan of Sullivan and Evie as a couple (thank goodness that finally came to fruition, albeit slightly less explosively than I had hoped for), their story in Protect the Prince went through a lot more turbulence than was necessary.
Evie's big plan to become engaged to Dominic so that she can be close to him, protect him, and therefore attract the attention of those trying to kill him so that they may turn on her and therefore be caught (I'm winded just writing that), was a little weak. It felt like a forced attempt to introduce more turmoil into the relationship between her and Sullivan, and in the end it was less than necessary. Dominic was never again targetted, and she was going to be sought out by Maeven and her assassins eventually.
They have, after all, been attempting to kill her since the beginning of Kill the Queen. This is not going to change until one of them is dead.
The culprit behind the ploy to murder king Heinrich and Dominic was very evident the moment that Evie began to go after Helene, so there was no surprise there. And while it is starting to seem typical for the Mortan “bastards” to kill themselves—or be murdered—once they're revealed or captured, taking their secrets to the grave, it's beginning to get a little old. Keeping Dahlia alive would have not only added another facet to the story, but it would have been fascinating to see how Sullivan, as her son—and Heinrich, as her lifetime lover—would have dealt with that, giving us even more depth into their tale.
Things wrapped up somewhat weakly despite Evie and Sullivan's declaration of love—which was sweet, even if quite sappy for them—but I'm still holding out hope that the next installment will restore this series to what it started off as being (totally exciting, without pause).