Review: The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

Title: The Caged Queen (Iskari #2)
Author: Kristin Ciccarelli
Genre: Fantasy, Dragons
Source: Wunderkind PR
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 25th 2018
Hardcover, 400 pages

Kristen Ciccarelli’s distinct brand of lyrical, haunting fantasy continues in the companion to her bestselling debut, The Last Namsara. Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and Renee Ahdieh. 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.

As I said in my review of The Last Namsara, why did I wait so long to read these books?! The Caged Queen was full of twists and turns that left me on the edge of my seat for the entire book. It also gave another view of the rebellion that Dax, Roa and Safire successfully pulled off and it continued building onto the magnificent world that had Kristen created. 

Instead of The Caged Queen following Asha, this book focuses on Roa, the Scrublander and heir to the House of Song turned Queen after marrying Dax in The Last Namsara. Tensions between the Scrublanders and the Draksors are at an all time high, and many are looking upon their new queen with disgust and contempt. Never mind the fact that every believes that the King has been sharing everyone's bed but his wife's. Roa only agreed to the marriage to help save her people by creating a stronger alliance, but it isn't going as planned. Before Dax showed up in the Scrublands several weeks prior, Roa hadn't seen him in eight years. Not since the night that her sister, Essie died. Dax isn't the King she imagined him to be and soon in desperation to save her people Roa is plotting against him. But soon she begins to fall for the King she swore to hate. 

The tension between Roa and Dax through out this book is thick enough to cut with a knife. I found them both to be very prideful characters and at certain times that got in the way of them actually seeing each other. Roa spends a huge chunk of the novel believing that Dax is sleeping with someone close to her and Dax assumes that Roa is still in love with the boy she betrayed back home. I think what I loved most about Dax and Roa relationship was that their story wasn't neat and linear. It was messy and scattered. They had their highs and they had their lows but at the end they found where they belonged. The romance in The Caged Queen pulled at my heart strings, something that a novel hasn't done in a long long time. 

For all the mystery that surrounded Ellie's death and why Dax was at fault, I was dissapointed. I expected something a lot bigger and dramatic then when actually happened. Especially for the amount of hatred and contempt that Roa had held for Dax. 

Overall I really loved The Cage Queen and loved being able to see the brief return of Asha and Torwin at the end. I am super excited to read The Sky Weaver and finally have my hands on Safire's story and her adventure. She has become one of my favorite characters through the series so far and I can't wait for more of her. Thank you so much Wunderkind PR for the opportunity to read and review this series! 

Check out my review of The Last Namsara!
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