It’s official. I am complete trash for the Iskari series.
The Caged Queen is the second installment of Kristen Ciccarelli’s highly underrated YA Fantasy series, Iskari.
If you are unaware, the three books within this trilogy are actually companion novels. Even though they follow a linear story, with the same cast of characters, each installment features the perspectives of different main characters.
Picking up shortly after the conclusion of The Last Namsara, this volume focuses mainly on Roa, her sister Essie, and the new King of Firgaard, Dax.
Roa and Dax, now married, are working on merging the interests of their two kingdom. As the two are still learning to trust one another, things don’t always go smoothly.
Although Roa did appear in the first book, we really didn’t learn too much about her; she remained the mysterious beauty that Dax hoped to marry, in order to (view spoiler)[gain troops to help him overthrow his father (hide spoiler)].
The Caged Queen gives her full story. Most interestingly to me, is that her sister, Essie, who died in a tragic childhood accident, has remained with Roa in the form a bird of prey.
The two sisters share a very special bond and are able to communicate with one another in spite of Essie unconventional form.
Roa would love nothing more than to get her sister back to her old self and when she learns of a way to make that happen, she vows to try.
The only catch, she’ll need to kill the King, her new husband, Dax, in order to do so. Who will she choose? Her sister, or the man she could learn to love.
I am obsessed with this story. Ciccarelli has fully drawn me into this world. There are so many fabulous elements, I could swoon for days.
I’d like to keep this review somewhat succinct, however, so I will list just a few of my favorites.
The World. I really enjoyed how a good portion of this volume was set in the Scrublands and other outlying areas, as opposed to strictly in Firgaard.
Our main characters are traveling for a bit and I loved the desert atmosphere, with the stark, inhospitable terrain. It made the characters work that much harder for every gain.
The Legends and Back Stories. Interspersed amongst the core narrative are sections that tell of the lore and legends of this world, as well as some character’s early life/back stories.
This is the same across all three volumes and is one of my very favorite aspects. I find it to be such a lush and creative way of building out the world.
The Characters. I enjoy all of the characters. Their thoughts, motivations, inner and outer turmoil, angst, love, longing, grief, agony; it’s devastatingly addictive.
I was intrigued by Roa in the first book. I wanted to know more about her and I got exactly what I wanted with this volume. I loved the focus on grief, forgiveness and sisterhood, in this one as well.
If that doesn’t motivate you to give this series a shot, I’m not sure what will.
If you have had this one on your radar for a long time, like I did, take my advice and pick it up now. It’s a perfect escape for your reading pleasure!! That is all.