blog tour: the caged queen πŸ‘‘


✨  My rating: ★★★★

Publisher: Gollancz (Orion Publishing Co)

Published: 27 September 2018

Page count: 400

Reading age: 13+

Genres: young adult, fantasy 


Synopsis ➹

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. Roa and Essie called it the hum. It was a magic they cherished—until the day a terrible accident took Essie’s life and trapped her soul in this world. Dax—the heir to Firgaard’s throne—was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa’s people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen. Only as queen could she save her people from Firgaard’s rule. Then a chance arises to right every wrong—an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Relinquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa discovers she can reclaim her sister for good. All she has to do is kill the king. 


❥ My Review 

I truly did not expect to love The Caged Queen as much as I did. Although I was aware of the hype around it, I never actually got to reading The Last Namsara which made me a bit apprehensive about diving straight into this companion-type novel, but I had nothing to worry about - not once does Ciccarelli leave you confused about the world or the characters within it, and I’m now left with a gaping hole in my heart that I’m pretty sure can only be filled once I’ve actually done the whole thing properly and read the book that precedes it.

The political intrigue of this world forms the basis of the plot, which I always love in fantasy and this was no exception. The Iskari world is full of complexity and I was immediately enthralled from the first chapter (especially when I saw the word ‘dragon’ appear on the page). But what really made this story special for me was the characters. It’s not often you find a book where at least one character isn’t a cardboard cutout, but this cast truly felt so authentic and real to me and despite their flaws there was something to love about every one of them. I thought Roa was a fantastic main protagonist and narrator - the internal conflict of loyalty she battles with throughout was portrayed extremely well, and although some of her decisions were questionable, I felt I would made pretty much all of the same ones in her position. She’s a clear badass female fighter and I was rooting for her from start to finish. My feelings about Dax were very mixed until around the final tenth or so of the book where my heart was threatening to burst out of my chest and envelope him in the warmest embrace. Yes, he’s a flirt of the worst variety for most of the book, but I really liked the message he gave of surprising people who treat you as a fool. AND THAT ENDING BROKE ME.

Now I know a lot of people get funny about romances in YA fantasies, often deeming them as “unnecessary”, but in The Caged Queen romance had quite a significant undertone which I personally really enjoyed and by no means thought didn’t need to be there because it really brought a lot of passion and emotion to the story. One of my favourite things about this book though was how the author interwoven backstory about the character’s childhoods as well as snippets of lore into the storyline. These segments really enriched the reading experience for me as they illuminated some unforeseen facets of the story, plus the writing was in a particularly lyrical style that reminded me of reading fairy tales which is always a bonus.

I don’t know about The Last Namsara, but The Caged Queen is definitely one of the more character-driven fantasies, which I loved of course, but I actually found that I would have liked a bit more action at times; the pacing felt pretty slow at the beginning with a lot of inner turmoil and not a lot of doing stuff. However, the writing style flowed really well and I flew through this book much quicker than I expected (which is always good when you’re being physically and mentally crushed by your TBR pile). My only other complaint is I wanted more dragons because we don’t get enough of them in YA fantasy.

Overall, I’m so glad I read The Caged Queen and I would highly recommend it to anybody who loves fantasy, regardless of whether you’ve read The Last Namsara or not (although I will warn that reading this will make you immediately buy The Last Namsara on impulse like I did).



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