Title: The Caged Queen
Author: Kristen Ciccarelli
First published September 25, 2018
400 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780062568014 (ISBN10: 0062568019)
In the land of Firgaard, Roa and Essie shared a bond so unbreakable that it was believed to be magic. However, tragedy struck and Essie’s soul was trapped in the mortal world.
The one responsible for the accident was Dax, the future king of Firgaard. Roa swore to hate him forever.
Years later, Dax returned and pleaded for Roa’s help in overthrowing his father’s tyrannical reign. In exchange for Roa’s army, Dax promised to make her the queen of Firgaard.
With this position, Roa could save her people from the oppressive rule of Firgaard. During the Relinquishing, Roa discovered a chance to reunite with her sister for good.
All she had to do was kill the king. Will Roa be able to overcome her hatred for Dax and save her sister, or will she be consumed by her desire for revenge?
About the Author
Meet Kristen Ciccarelli, an author whose books have been translated into many languages, making her an international bestseller. Growing up on her grandfather’s grape farm, Kristen spent her childhood running through vineyards, making forts in the barn, and adventuring in the deep, dark woods behind the house.
Before carving her path as an author, Kristen explored various jobs, including fruit picking, artisanal baking, L’Arche assisting, community bake oven coordinating, bookselling, and pottery. She even spent a year living in a punk house.
Currently, Kristen resides in the Niagara region of Ontario with her husband and their book-loving toddler. She finds solace in reading a good book by a warm fire or chasing her giggly daughter down the shores of Lake Erie.
To learn more about Kristen Ciccarelli and her works, visit her website or follow her on Substack at kristenciccarelli.substack.com.
In Kristen Ciccarelli’s The Caged Queen, readers are once again transported to the world of Asha and her beloved dragon, Torwin. Ciccarelli is an emerging voice in young adult fantasy literature and her latest novel does not disappoint.
The book is a sequel to The Last Namsara but is a standalone novel which can be read independently without any prior knowledge of the previous book. The novel is set in the kingdom of Firgaard, where we meet the protagonist, Roa, who has been forced into marriage with the Firgaard ruler, Dax, in order to secure an alliance with Roa’s own kingdom, The Isles.
When the king is murdered, Roa is given the opportunity to avenge her people by forging a secret alliance with Dax’s sister, Asha, who is also the feared dragon-slayer. But as Roa becomes more deeply involved in Firgaard’s politics, she must confront the question of what truly matters to her: her love for her people, her loyalty to Asha and her duty to the man she married.
Ciccarelli excels at world-building and her detailed descriptions bring Asha’s world vividly to life. The kingdom of Firgaard is a place where magic and dragons are common, and the author creates a unique atmosphere that is both intriguing and compelling.
The novel is written in the first-person perspective, allowing readers to understand Roa’s motivations and emotions. Her inner conflict and her struggle with loyalty add depth to the story and create a more well-rounded protagonist.
The supporting characters are equally well-developed, and Ciccarelli skillfully builds tension between them. Asha is a complex character who defies the stereotypes of a typical warrior woman, and Torwin’s gentle nature is a pleasant contrast to the violence that surrounds him.
The villains are equally fascinating, with their own motivations and agendas that add depth to the story. Ciccarelli’s writing style is engaging and fluid.
She utilizes descriptive language that helps readers to visualize the setting and the characters, creating a fully realized world. The pacing of the novel is well-done, with moments of intense action and moments of reflection that balance each other out.
The story is well-structured, with a clear beginning, middle and end. However, the novel does have a few flaws that may detract from the overall enjoyment of the novel.
The plot at times does feel predictable and the romance felt underdeveloped. The novel would also benefit from a few more moments of lightheartedness to balance out the more intense moments.
Overall, Ciccarelli has crafted a wonderful novel that will delight young adult fantasy readers. The themes of love, loyalty, and duty are universal and will resonate with readers.
The Caged Queen is a true page-turner that will keep readers engaged from beginning to end.
Recommendation: Recommended for fantasy lovers, especially those who enjoy political intrigue and strong female protagonists.
The Caged Queen is well-written and engaging, and is an exciting addition to the young adult fantasy genre.