I think I can sum this up in three words: Not enough meat.
I loved The Last Namsara but very little of what I liked of The Last Namsara could be found here in the companion novel – The Caged Queen.
Here, we follow the storyline of Roa and king Dax (Asha’s brother) as they try to take control of Dax’s frail reign after the assassination of his tyrant father. Roa, however, has her own ulterior motive: save the soul of her sister currently trapped inside a hawk. She must simply murder Dax.
The problem, as I stated above, is there just isn’t enough story here to warrant the 380 page count. Everything was so underdeveloped, under explored and thin. Roa herself wasn’t very likeable and I got incredibly tired of reading her same internal monologue of wanting to save her sister at all means necessary. She was just flat and … boring.
I did enjoy Dax – he was the most fleshed out character as the flashback pages explored his past and his motives more in depth. But for the first three-quarters of the book he was, unfortunately, written as a spineless jellyfish. I think the only reason I enjoyed him as much as I did is because I skimmed the ending and knew where his character would end up … had I not, I think his spinelessness would’ve enraged me.
There are cameos in the book from The Last Namsara, but as with everything else here, when they appear, they are dull and lifeless. It almost reminded me of background avatars in video games that aren’t being controlled by anyone … just boring!
It’s just a repetitive, thin plot. I truly loathe when all the “conflict” in a book could be resolved by one person simply asking a question … that any normal person would ask, and not take 350 pages. It’s just fake, manufactured drama that doesn’t hold its flame.
It wasn’t great.
While I really enjoy Kristen Ciccarelli’s writing style and a good hate-to-love storyline, the world here wasn’t expanded upon or even fully realized. Her characters were so lifeless and underdeveloped … honestly, if you loved The Last Namsara, I wouldn’t recommend this. It might taint your original opinion.