Review Blog

Jan 08 2019

The caged queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Gollancz, 2018. ISBN 9781473218161
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Love. Loyalty. Roa and her sister, Essie, share a bond that goes beyond understanding and even death. Essie's spirit is trapped in the body of a hawk, living in the limbo between life and freedom. Roa's driving desire is to release her from this trapped existence, but to do so she must sacrifice another life, and the victim must be the young King, Dax. Dax comes from the Dragon people, and grew up with the girls to escape his own dangerous father. But he is also the one that Essie saved as she lost her own life. Roa is a strong, capable and feisty young woman and in order to save the people of her homeland she has negotiated a marriage with the hapless, Dax. Dax though has his own solutions to problems, and they are not pleasing to Roa, and his affections seem to be shared with too many other young women! This fraught relationship between king and queen swings from open dislike to something that surprises Queen Roa. With plots to destroy the allegiance that Roa's marriage has enabled, Roa becomes embroiled in the complications of her own confusion and in resolving her connection to her former love interest.
Foremost though, this is an amazing and highly readable fantasy tale with broken relationships, hidden love, knife fights, political subterfuge and romance. These are all immersed in the world where dragons may appear and communities share stories and aspirations, and sometimes resort to violent solutions to their problems. Even though this is not the first book in The last Namsara saga, it is highly readable on its own and can be recommended to lovers of fantasy and romance alike.
Highly recommended for readers aged 15+.
Carolyn Hull

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