An utterly brilliant instalment to the Iskari series!
The Caged Queen is the sister novel to The Last Namsara, which I absolutely adored - it has everything I could have wanted from a YA Fantasy novel; action, adventure, lies, danger, romance and of course dragons! Although you technically don’t need to have read The Last Namsara in order to read The Caged Queen as it’s now a new set of main characters, I would highly recommend that you do, the characters and consequences that happen in The Last Namsara follow onto the plot of The Caged Queen. Also why wouldn’t you want to read a completely incredible book knowing that you have another one waiting for you set in the same world?
As I’ve said above The Caged Queen follows on in same world but with a new cast of characters: First there's Roa, a fierce main heroine from the scrublands who in a bid of desperation to save her people married The Dragon King. Roa, still grieving the loss of her sister Essie is determined to help free her people from the previous Dragon King’s tyranny and hopes to makes the changes needed from within however the political scheming in a Kingdom that isn’t her home and having no one to trust she soon finds herself in over her head. But what I loved about Roa was that she didn’t give up, not even when her schemes to manipulate the Dragon King didn’t seem to work.
Next there’s Dax the famous Dragon King brother to Asha the Iskari. Dax was such an intriguing character to read about. I could never quite get a read on him as a person, Ciccarelli cleverly kept his character shrouded in mystery and secrets, every time I thought I could predict his actions he would do the opposite leaving me questioning just whose side he was on. His back story is told in bits and pieces whilst he battles with the present of marrying what his people see as an Outlander Queen and trying to keep kingdom safe.
I sat down with this book and very quickly the hours flew by and I was finished, it’s been a while since I read a book in one sitting but I found I just couldn’t put this one down. Following Roa and Dax on their journey was so thrilling that I was soon swept away in all the action. The Caged Queen has a huge character arc following Roa on her quest to saving her sister and trying to follow the political machinations on the royal court all the while trying to decide if her husband is the idiot he pretends to be? And if not, will be she able to actually kill him?
What I love is Ciccarelli’s skill to tell a story, enraptured so fully that you’re scared to look away and too afraid to carry on as the pages dwindle. True to form, just like in The Last Namsara Ciccarelli weaves fairy tales and past events in small fragments at the ends of chapters, slowly building the the story, suspense and intensity that you can’t help but use the old adage ‘just one more chapter’.
The Caged Queen is an utterly brilliant instalment to the Iskari series, I was hooked from the very beginning until the last page. Readers of The Last Namsara while mourning the loss of such fantastic characters in Book one will soon be emotionally invested in Roa and Dax, I’m not sure I could pick a favourite between the pairs. I can only pray that Ciccarelli is writing another book in this series…. or just another book right now, I will read anything she writes!