Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Blog Tour: Review of The Caged Queen by Kristen Ciccarelli

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Caged Queen, the second book in Kristin Ciccarelli's Iskari series. If you haven't started this series yet, I highly recommend it - it's got dragons, magic, sisters, fighting - all the things I love in one book! On to my review.


The Caged Queen (Iskari #2) by Kristin Ciccarelli
Publisher: Gollancz
Released: 27th September 2018
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. 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.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax's promises go unfulfilled. Roa's people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises - 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 can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.
(from Goodreads)

I have to admit, upon finding out The Caged Queen was a companion novel, rather than a sequel, I was a bit concerned that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as book one - I really loved the characters from the first book, especially Asha. However, I was proven wrong because The Caged Queen is every bit as good as The Last Namsara, and a fantastic continuation of the series.

Roa was the highlight of this book for me. She had married Dax because they had made a deal, and in her eyes, he had not fulfilled his end of the bargain. He was flouncing around flirting with every woman he laid his eyes on, but he was doing nothing to help Roa's people. She was worried that he'd end up even worse than his father and, desperate as she was to bring her sister back to life, she face a lot of difficult ethical questions on what action she should take. I loved seeing Dax from Roa's point of view, how she blamed him for what happened to Essie, how she had no faith in his ability to lead, and the way he changed in her eyes as she learnt more about him and what was going on around her. Above all however, I loved Roa's relationship with her sister Essie. They had been incredibly close when Essie was still alive - and death had done nothing to sever that bond between them. It was so nice to see such a fleshed out sibling relationship, and I think the ending was all the more poignant because of the work that had gone into building the closeness between the characters.

Dax grew on me, just as I suppose was intended. I started off disliking him as much as Roa did, though I knew from book one he wasn't really all that bad. It was his flippant attitude that put me off - but as we learnt more about him, we started to understand why he chose to act that way. He still wasn't my favourite by the end, but I definitely came to respect him more, and again, I really liked his relationship with his sister too. Asha and Torwin did make brief appearances in this book and it was really nice to see them again! 

Plot-wise, this was a slower paced read than The Last Namsara - it was by no means boring, but there was less action, less suspense in every chapter. That being said there was a more subtle tension running throughout the book - what would Roa do? What would be the outcome of her decision? There were so many characters with ulterior motives - it always seems that the humans are more dangerous than the dragons in this world!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was a great addition to the series. I shall eagerly await the next book Kristin Ciccarelli writes!


Kristen Ciccarelli hails from Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula where she grew up on her grandfather’s grape farm. She made her living as a baker, a bookseller, and a potter, but now writes books about bloodthirsty dragons, girls wielding really cool weapons, and the transformative power of stories.


Many thanks to Stevie and Gollancz for letting me take part in this blog tour! Make sure to visit the next stops at A Daydreamer's Thoughts, A Dream of Books and The Book Hour tomorrow.


  1. I haven’t heard of this series but it sounds good and that cover is gorgeous!

  2. Nice article as well as whole site.Thanks.
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  3. This was so beautifully done. Everything I hoped for as a fan of these characters and the previous story~The Last Namsara. One of the best books I’ve ever read. Touching on loss and prejudice and the danger of presuming who someone is when you don’t have all the facts.

    So much depth. And I’m in awe of Kristen’s skill of weaving stories within stories. So magical.

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