Cover Image: To Cage a God

To Cage a God

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Member Reviews

I have been looking forward to this one for ages as I've enjoyed May's Falconer series. So when I saw that this has caged gods requiring a price for their powers, multiple POV, sisters, and rebellion I was hooked! To Cage a God is a book I read in a matter of days. I can't figure out who I loved more whether it be how Galina desperately wants to drown out her past or Sera who's trying to atone for what happened and keep her sister safe. Or even anyone else I don't want to spoil! Each character has their own spark that you can't help being drawn to.

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Elizabeth May you have done it again! I loved the Falconer series so this was a highly anticipated read for me and it did not disappoint! To cage a god is a next level fantasy book and a must read for any fantasy readers. And it’s sapphic!!!

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“To cage a god is divine. To be divine is to rule. To rule is to destroy.”


Sisters and commoners, Sera and Galina, have gods bound to them through their mother’s experiments, something that hasn’t occurred in a millennia. This makes them the perfect weapons to take down the Empire no matter the cost. Now with their mother gone, the revolution falls to them. If left unchecked, the alurean rulers will conquer with fire and blood destroying any commoner who stands in their way. The sisters have a plan; however, that plan is threatened by the princess who has captured Galina’s attention and maybe even her heart.


May has written an engaging tale of war, politics, and what happens to those caught in the middle. Told through multiple POVs, we get a very clear picture of the unrest and injustice commoners face at the hands of the rulers. I loved the relationship building between the sisters and their partners resulting in two enemies to lovers plot lines. While I enjoyed the sweet bonding between Galina and the princess, I was more invested in the fiery passion between Sera and her estranged husband. There’s a fine line between love and hate, and they straddle it well. One thing both couples have in common though is the excellent banter. I’m a sucker for good banter between characters. The plot is fast paced full of action, twists, and betrayals. The world building was well developed to easily picture the world Sera and Galina lived in. Aside from the characters themselves, the most fascinating aspect of this tale was the magic system. It was such a unique concept to use bound gods to give the alureans power as opposed to some innate ability. I highly enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend taking the time to savor it.

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To Cage a God was a thrilling romantasy set against the backdrop of an imperial Russia-like world. I went into this book hesitantly - I haven’t had the best luck with romantasy lately but this one intrigued me from the start. We get five POV characters and I feel like they all worked to bring a wider scope to this world that May builds. I loved learning about the gods and magic in this world. I also loved seeing the relationship bloom between two of our characters, soft and sweet. I thought the chronic pain representation in this book was done very well, and I can’t wait to see what our characters get up to in the sequel.

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CW: graphic burning, violence, murder

To cage a god is divine. To be divine is to rule. To rule is to destroy.

Galina and Sera's mother used ancient secrets to cage gods in their bodies. No commoner has had this kind if power in a millenia, and the sisters are raised as weapons to overthrow a cruel empire. After their mother passes, they decide to take control of the rebellion. Sera reunites with her estranged lover and rebel leader while Galina infiltrates the palace. She finds an isolated princess there that could be her downfall or her salvation. Can they save the common folk?

This was a dark read and not for the faint of heart. I was captivated from the start
with talks of gods being trapped in their bones. The author has you rooting for the rebellion with her depiction of the cruel empress and her tyrannical acts against the people that she's supposed to protect. Vitaly sounds like a very attractive thief and his love for Sera is lovely. There is a bit of spice for those of you who are sweet readers. The only thing I wished there was more of was a bit more background about the gods.

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Thank you to the publisher for my arc!

I absolutely loved this. The writing was beautiful, the story was fast paced and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the found family as well as the romance.

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Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book was right up my alley and an enjoyable read. I loved the world building, characters, etc
Definitely loved the fact they used Russian mythology as a base, as it was a breath of fresh air. Started off a little slow, but once it got started, look out!

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“𝙄’𝙙 𝙘𝙧𝙖𝙬𝙡 𝙖𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙪𝙘𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙮𝙤𝙪”

First off, the banter in this book is perfection. That alone makes it worth reading. Chefs kiss. 💋 The characters were cocky smart asses… & 𝗜 𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝗵𝗶𝘁 𝘂𝗽! 🙌🏼
If you take anything from this review, take that.
Awesome banter. ✅

“𝙒𝙖𝙣𝙩 𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙛𝙪𝙘𝙠 𝙤𝙛𝙛, 𝙤𝙧 𝙠𝙚𝙚𝙥 𝙜𝙤𝙞𝙣𝙜? 𝘽𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙄 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚”

This book took me by surprise. Admittedly it started off slow, and it took me about 100 pages to become fully invested in the story and characters, but it’s definitely worth sticking it out. While the beginning seemed slow to me, it made sense, and was needed to fully understand the journey.

The magic system is complex and you definitely need to be paying attention to understand what’s going on. While it was more complicated, I enjoyed seeing dragons in a new way, and ultimately didn’t struggle to understand what was happening.

⭐️ 𝗠𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗶-𝗣𝗢𝗩
⭐️ 𝗗𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗼𝗻𝘀 🐉
⭐️ 𝗦𝗹𝗼𝘄 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻 🔥
⭐️ 𝗘𝗻𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀
⭐️ 𝗠/𝗙 & 𝗙/𝗙 𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲
⭐️ 𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗯𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗲𝗻 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲
⭐️ 𝗠𝗼𝗿𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝗴𝗿𝗲𝘆 𝗰𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀
⭐️ 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗶𝗰 𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀 & 𝗱𝗶𝘀𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻
⭐️ 𝗘𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲
⭐️ 𝗪𝗮𝗿
⭐️ 𝗦𝗹𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆
⭐️ 𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁
⭐️ 𝗽𝗼𝗹𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗴𝘂𝗲

“𝘿𝙞𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙞𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙄 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙤𝙪𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙮𝙤𝙪?”

It was a slow burn, but god damn was it worth it! 🥵

Spice rating
🌶️🌶️🌶️ (multiple detailed sex scenes)

𝗧𝗟𝗗𝗥
Read this awesome book about dragons caged inside of morally grey characters, who like to mouth off, blow shit up, and fuck. 🙌🏼🤣🥵

Thank you to Netgalley, and the publisher, for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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- First in a duology
- Multiple POVs
- Dragon gods
- Sapphic
- Revenge
- Royalty
- Imperial Russia inspired
- Forbidden love
- Disability rep
- 🌶️

- 4.5 stars -

You know when you pick up a book and a few pages in you just /know/ that it’s going to become one of your favourites? This was that for me. Needless to say, I absolutely loved To Cage A God

Galina and Sera’s are foster sisters, whose mother grafted gods into their bones - zmeya - who normally only the nobility possess. Primed for revenge against the empress, they infiltrate the palace, only for Galina to fall for an isolated princess, Vasilisa, and for Sera to be reunited with her estranged lover, Vitaly.

The magic system in To Cage A God is unique and refreshing; dragon gods are caged in human bodies in their bones, with each possessing different variations of abilities and powers. It was so fun reading about the different abilities that characters possessed, as well as their strengths, and the way their gods responded to them.

The Romances (plural) were everything, and I especially loved Galina and Vasilisa together, they were just so cute! I really can’t wait for the sequel to see how they grow in their relationship together. Sera and Vitalys dynamic was also so fun so read about; Vitaly just thinks about offing everyone, with Sera trying to keep him in check.

I absolutely can’t wait for the sequel and to be reunited with all these characters again!

Thank you so much to NetGalley for an arc of this book! 💗

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Too info-dumpy, and it was a plot of “tropes” in my opinion. I love fantasy, but this wasn’t for me. The premise of this book sounded so interesting which is a shame. The worldbuilding & prose could not hold my interest.

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DNF at 20%

I was really looking forward to this. I love Slavic books. I usually find them really rich in history and folklore, but this one I just couldn't get into. Everything about this was just off-putting. It had everything I should have been interested in: Imperial Russia, gods caged in human bodies, gods that are dragons, politics, etc. But the execution was just so poor and confusing, that I just couldn't get keep reading. It got to the point where I was forcing myself to read and then dreading picking up my Kindle, which is when I knew to just call it quits. By the reviews, I'm not the only one, but there are loads of that loved it, so it seems to be a very marmite type book. I wish the author all the success with it.

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The god caged in Sera's body hated her.
They were both shackled together as a cursed pair: an imprisoned dragon and a girl who never asked for her body to be offered to such à vindictive god that demanded a sacrifice in exchange for power.

Galina’s god wanted to help her, made her extremely powerful, yet both Galina and god were both suffocating in the cage of her mind, unable to forget the nightmares plaguing her.

The sisters live in a world ruled by cruel nobles, all bonded to unwilling deities unwillingly and granted godpower that obliterated empires.
To prevent war and save common lives, the sisters plan to infiltrate the palace and place Galina in a position to stand up.

“I have this under control." She was about sixty-five percent certain she had it under control.
“Coming from you, those words make me shit bricks.”

Katya existed at the whims of the Empress — the empress having murdered the fifteen handmaidens before her, including her sister. Craving freedom, she forms an alliance with Sera, an informant in the palace.
Her pov’s were the most nail-biting despite normally being the furthest from the action as everything she does feels at knife-point from the Empress’s fickle attitudes. She just wants to save the people around her from pain and escape her enslavement which the Empress views as a great fortune and freedom. Having no real power, she relies on her mind and wiles to pacify the Empress whilst not betraying her true beliefs.

Sera and Galina’s sister relationship is touching to behold. Sisters through all but blood, they would destroy the world for each other.
Whilst Sera is the protective, defensive older sister, Galina appears broken and afriad of eery shadow. Yet, it is Galina who has the most potential.

The romance:
Sera has a smoking hot past with a fugitive assassin who's got a penchant for blowing things up. He’s incredibly dangerous and full of plots to bring down the palace - which now includes Galina.

“You could stab me in the heart and still be the only person I give a damn about."

Galina meets the sequestered Princess who, on first meeting, jokes about poisoning her tea. Alone in a palace ruled by fear, they form a tentative bond. Their relationship was soooo cute! The Princess’s easy banter and inner remonstration was extremely enjoyable.

“But I promise you this. If anyone touches you, I'll consider killing them for you."
Galina's heart skipped a beat at the tenderness in the other woman's expression. "Vasilisa Yuryevna, are you flirting with me?"

This will definitely satisfy romantasy fans, hitting that craving for snarky back-and-forth banter, tender hard-hitting proclamations, and just the right amount of burning passion.

One thing that did annoy me in this regard (which appears quite common in romantasy), ill-timed sexual scenes. You’re about to die, or your friend is being tortured, or you’re under a detrimental time constraint, yet you have fun time? I don’t know, seems strange to me.

There are a plethora of perspectives. I swear every character who says more than five lines is given a chapter at some point. Whilst I might have found this frustrating, I actually quite enjoyed it as I it opened the world up to see from all sides. However, it did feel like an easy narrative devices used by the author.

This was delightfully funny, fast-paced, and filled with lovable (albeit morally grey) characters - and the romance never overshadowed the plot. Filled with court intrigue and cruelty, forbidden love, raging gods, and explosive magic capable of crippling empires, this romantasy was extremely entertaining.

This may be presumptuous, but I feel like this could be the next Fourth Wing hit.

I would recommend this if you enjoyed Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas or The Final Strife by Sara El-Arifi.

Thank you to Tor for providing me with a physical arc in exchange for a review!

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Thank you to Elizabeth May and NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book.

To cage a god is divine.

To be divine is to rule.

To rule is to destroy.

Using ancient secrets, Galina and Sera’s mother grafted gods into their bones. Bound to brutal deities and granted forbidden power no commoner has held in a millennia, the sisters have grown up to become living weapons. Raised to overthrow an empire―no matter the cost.

With their mother gone and their country on the brink of war, it falls to the sisters to take the helm of the rebellion and end the cruel reign of a royal family possessed by destructive gods. Because when the ruling alurea invade, they conquer with fire and blood. And when they clash, common folk burn.

While Sera reunites with her estranged lover turned violent rebel leader, Galina infiltrates the palace. In this world of deception and danger, her only refuge is an isolated princess, whose whip-smart tongue and sharp gaze threaten to uncover Galina’s secret. Torn between desire and duty, Galina must make a choice: work together to expose the lies of the empire―or bring it all down.

I love Elizabeth May's The Falconer series and I think I will also love this book. It is quick and easy read, though it started slow but as you continue on you will slowly be invested and ended strong.

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There are books out there that stay with you for a long time after you read them. This is one of those books. Elizabeth May has crafted a beautiful Russian landscape filled with beautiful prose and harrowing adventures. Her ability to not only bring the reader into the story but to make them connect with the characters is part of why this book will be such a success.

Heartbreakingly gorgeous with moving characters, this book is unputdownable. Dragons, a bloodthirsty Empress, and a heist team made of misfits is everything I needed this book to be. May brings you on rollercoaster of emotions as you read and get to know each of our characters. It is multiple POV, excruciatingly adventurous in the best way and agonizingly addictive. I did not want it to end.

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The premise of this book is so fun. I loved how the god are caged inside Sera and Galina. I found the prose to be confusing and the worldbuilding to be dull though. I could not get into it. Romantasy is my favorite genre but this just wasn’t it for me.

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I’ve been obsessively anticipating this book for over a year..so you can imagine how crushing it was to find it simplistic, blunt, info-dumpy, and packed full of embarrassingly cliched tropes.

Red flags started waving in the opening pages, when words even my dictionary didn’t recognise showed up scattered at random throughout otherwise very normal – I’ll even call it ‘basic’ – prose. It read like May trying to make her writing sound smarter, or possibly more Adult, but the effect is jarring and annoying.

<The extended winter had taken a toll on the iatric plants in her garden>

Turns out ‘iatric’ means ‘medicinal’, but it’s such a rare word that even as I write this up, my browser is underlining the word in red, sure it must be a typo. Couldn’t you have just written ‘the medicinal plants’ or ‘the healing plants’?

Or, just a little later

>Despite Sera’s best efforts, the night ended with a pair of vitreous eyes gazing into nothingness.>

Listen, if you want to write your entire novel (or novella, or short story, or whatever) in 3-dollar prose, then go for it! But randomly sticking words my Scrabble app won’t accept as valid into otherwise very normal writing does not work. It sounds stupid. It’s confusing. You’re being ridiculous.

Who describes the eyes of a dead person as ‘vitreous’? Really? Really? You couldn’t just use ‘blank’ or ‘glassy’ or ’empty’, any of which are of the same level of vocabulary as the rest of your writing??? What are you doing?

So the prose annoyed me, but unfortunately the story is worse. Although the set-up of how exactly gods end up in the nobility is pretty interesting – people are born with the sigils summoning one specific god on their bones! How does that work??? – the magic itself is nothing special, and the plot. My gods, the plot. The great plan to infiltrate the empress’ household is dreamed up in approximately four minutes, begging the question of why these two MCs didn’t do this literal years ago (they’ve been trying to live on the down-low most of their lives), and is pulled off ridiculously easily. No one is the tiniest bit confused, or even very interested, in how a noble could possibly have been raised as a peasant all this time, while wielding literal god-fire.

And I’m not even going to start on how it makes no sense whatsoever for the leader of the rebellion to figure out how to summon gods into non-nobility – and not make an army of them. No. Just two little girls. Okay. Sure. That – yeah, that makes sense.

Not.

<“But have you ever considered fucking someone who doesn’t have knives on him?”

Sera let out a low chuckle, her eyes still fixed on the colorful chaos unfolding before them. “Where’s the challenge in that?”>

And the characters – I’m sorry, they couldn’t be more generic if they tried. Generically evil empress. Generically traumatised-by-what-she’s-done alcoholic. Generically snarky and Strong WomanTM older sister who doesn’t need a man. Which, never mind, let’s give her a love interest anyway who is such a generic Bad Boy stereotype I actually had to put the book down and close my eyes for ten minutes after reading his humiliatingly bad dialogue.

<Sera sighed in exasperation. “I’ve forgotten you’ve never come by a single thing honestly.”

“That’s not true. I once won your sweet affection with nothing but a lethal blend of charm and well-sharpened blades.”>

I. I don’t even know what to do with this. Sir, you are talking about yourself. Who describes themselves as a ‘lethal blend of charm and well-sharpened blades’? What is wrong with you?

<“You should know by now that I can spot you in any crowd, whether it’s one hundred, one thousand, or one million.” He stepped closer, until his breath feathered over her cheek, and he murmured, “Hasn’t it always been that way?”>

ABSOLUTELY NOT. What is this garbage??? I did not sign up for crappy Bad Boy paranormal romance, wtf? Did I fall into – I actually don’t remember the last time a book made me cringe this hard. Black Dagger Brotherhood? The Merry Gentry series? Vampire Diaries? I don’t know, BUT SOMETHING FROM THAT ERA.

Also, ‘I can spot you in any crowd, whether it’s one hundred, one thousand, or one million’ is not just a cringe line, it’s poorly phrased. It should be something like ‘any crowd, whether it’s one of one hundred people, one thousand, or one million’. Still not a good line, but at least that makes technical sense now.

<“I suppose you have a certain deranged appeal.”

A slow smile crept across Vitaly’s face. “Is there any other kind?”>

When it was revealed that the love interest’s – Vasily’s – presence is the only thing that calms Sera’s god – who otherwise hates her and refuses to let her use its power – I noped the fuck out.

This is just embarrassing, and a book/author combo that is being massively let down by its marketing – which is promising something To Cage a God absolutely cannot deliver.

FAIL.

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It’s an interesting take of fantasy, also I loved the enemies to lovers of the princess and Galina, what I found most interesting though was a twist to the enemies to lovers trope. It’s both enemies and lovers. I hope future authors will play with the enemies to lovers tropes the way this author had. The pacing is a mediums pace, but you get to know the story. There seems to be a esembled cast, which makes knowing the hero a bit hard to figure out but I think that was the point. It tells a story of struggle, love and overcoming adversity through characters that interact with each other. It’s an interesting fantasy that seems very much like game of thrones or a song of ice and fire but gives a satisfying ending to the story.

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To Cage a God by Elizabeth May is a dark, Imperial Russia-inspired romantic fantasy following Sera and Galina, two girls who had gods caged inside them. It opens with the two of them on the run and we follow them through the original intention they were created for: to defeat the empress.

I thought it was satisfying overall, it presented a problem and we got to see how they resolved it by the end. It was very Russian, not just the world, but the darkness of it as well. At first, the world building was hard to follow but I eventually got the hang of it and it made more sense. There were a couple nitpicky things that bothered me, such as why did they use other characters' full names so often?

As for the characters, Galina’s early voice was littered with parentheses that thankfully reduced as the book went on. I started skipping them after the first few pages. I was also bothered by her going cold turkey on alcohol after being an alcoholic. I would say I enjoyed her arc most of the two main characters.

The other character I really enjoyed was Katya, the empress’s handmaiden. Towards the end I found myself wanting to skip forward to her chapters. Though almost all the characters have a lack of agency in ending up in the positions they did, she was the one I was most rooting for to make it out.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and publisher for allowing me to read this book as an ARC for my honest review.

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I really did enjoy the writing and the flow it took on. I also love any book that has more than one POV and helps with the story progression but this book just felt blah to me. The magic system was weird and not really intriguing enough. And there is just so much politics that's the same regurgitation throughout the entire book. I preferred one sisters POV over the others and some parts focused way too much on romance. Like babes there's a war brewing, stop pining. We also have words in a different language scattered throughout but no context clues to what they mean, so I struggled with that !

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To Cage a God was a rollercoaster of high stakes risk and reward. A world divided by Alurea and common folk. Alurea are the ruling class who are people born with a dragon god within their body, as they have kids their god powers are passed down. All those who do not have god power are forced to live under their thumb and the whims of the capricious Alurea. This story centers around five characters POVs: two sisters, Sera and Galina, forcibly given dragons and the daughters of the martyr revolution leader, the vicious current leader of the revolution, Vitalik, the handmaiden to the cruel empress, Katya, and the daughter of the empress, Vasilisa. Sera and Galina’s ultimate goal is to tear down the Alurean rule and to kill Empress. Galina with similar powers as the Empress is sent into the lions den as a spy and an agent to take the empire down from within. This story is filled with so many twists and turn, along with yearning and great love story plots. It has WLW representation and it is tremendously written. There isn’t heavy world building but it seemed to be inspired by Slavic culture and language.

I very much enjoyed this story and the magic system was super unique and I felt that everything flowed really well. It was well paced and the love stories and the YEARNING ugh it was written perfectly. ALL characters are morally grey and I loved how terrible they all were but they wanted to be good people. I cannot wait to read the next book in the duo! I received this ARC from NetGalley and DAW in exchange for an honest review.

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