After I finished The Prison healer I was beyond excited to get to reading its sequel, The Gilded Cage. In general it did not disappoint, even if it took a different turn to what I was expecting. I enjoyed the complex politics and character dynamics, the continuation of Kiva’s journey and getting to know new characters in both the royals and Kiva’s family of rebels. This middle book focuses on Kiva’s torn loyalties which made for some really interesting storylines.
Star rating: 4 stars
We are re-united with Kiva after the big bombshells dropped at the end of The Prison Healer. She is really Kiva Correntine, has healing magic and has been given a way into the royal family that the rebels could only have dreamed of. But Kiva’s loyalties are torn between her family and the royals who have taken her under their wing. Jaren, the Prince and heir to the throne, trusts her with the biggest family secrets and Kiva has to decide what she will or won’t do with this acquired information. Re-united with her siblings, they have ten years of catching up to do and not everything is as it seems anymore.
I honestly expected this story to take a completely different turn after the reveals in book one! Kiva came off as such an unreliable narrator but it seems she was more reliable than I thought. I loved watching Tipp and she integrate with the royals who take them in without a second thought. Kiva and Jaren’s relationship intensifies, and the family are not concerned with it at all. Kiva’s magic also keeps rearing its head, tired of being shoved down in the deepest parts of her. But if she reveals her magic, the royals will imprison or either kill her, as she is their enemy. I liked the expansion of the magic, both in terms of the royal elemental powers and Kiva’s healing ones. I still think there is room for it to grow!
It was good to be introduced to Kiva’s siblings, who have changed since she last saw them ten years ago. Her brother is kind and a little disenchanted with being a rebel, where as her sister is a little harder around the edges having been put in charge after the death of their mother. Kiva also meets her grandmother, and eccentric old woman with plenty of secrets herself. I loved this character! She is the best Correntine. Getting to know the royal family more was also great, and I was particularly drawn to Queen Ariana who is battling a drug addiction. We know from Jaren that the drugs make her cruel but it was so heart-breaking to see all the sides to her.
The ending was reminiscent of The Prison Healer with more bombshells and reveals. Makes me excited to see what will happen! Overall this wasn’t a bad follow up to The Prison Healer. It has the same life or death moments that keep you on the edge of your seat, but it didn’t quite grip me in the same way. I am sure the ending will be completely explosive!