I’ve never instantly fallen in love with a character I expected to hate.
The Last Namsara introduces Roa, ambitious – secretive: deadly. A perfect ideal for a strong female character, whilst also being exactly what I dislike. Rude. Abrasive.
But The Caged Queen is her redemption, the picture of her pain. It shows what she’s been through, what she’s suffered. It shows us everything – and I still want more.
Roa is bonded to her sister, who’s soul is trapped in a hawk – waiting for death. But the bond keeps her here, half alive, half dead and all bird.
And I adore her. She is the better half needed and she’s a BIRD. What more could you want?
Anyone who knows me can confirm that I absolutely adore The Last Namsara. As in, it was my favourite read of last year, I have a collection of 4 copies and I’m searching for 2 more AND I cried when I saw The Caged Queen proofs on Gollancz’s table at YALC. Those four precious editions that I will never have my hands on (although I do have my first edition now thanks to them and that makes me happier than anything).
I love the writing, I love the worlds.
And this book was no exception.
The Caged Queen was a pleasant surprise really, with a gripping start that pulled me in from the beginning. There was then a lot of character development that meant the plot didn’t feel like it was going anywhere, for a while – but the writing style kept pulling me along anyway. The flow of the words kept me turning pages, the sentences kept me reading.
Then the plot did.
Throughout, I couldn’t decide who to ship. Usually there’s such a clear couple in YA fantasies, but I really didn’t know who I wanted to end up with who. I just wanted everybody to be happy.
Even Dax. Who, in the last book, was a soft -if oblivious- airhead goofball (which I obviously usually love), who now seems to be a cheating asshat who won’t put in a single moment of effort for his wife. Or anyone else.
I just wanted him to be the precious baby I remembered, not who he had become once a crown was on his head.
Power corrupts, I guess. But I don’t have to like it.
THOUGH I WANT TO LOVE DAX MORE THAN ANYTHING. Redemption arcs, anyone?
There isn’t too much I can say without spoiling everything but, most of all, I can say this: pick up The Last Namsara. Pick up The Caged Queen.
If you love dragon riders, desert worlds and a beautifully tortured cast of characters – these books are for you.
These words are for you.
Stories are meant to be told, meant to be heard. And if you believe in them enough – they’ll have the power to raise dragons. Raise kingdoms. Raise hopes beyond expectations. Stories are meant to be told and never held back.
Kristen Cicarelli never holds back.