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To Cage a God

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If two words could convince me to read any book they'd be sapphic and fantasy. So naturally, To Cage a God was automatically one of my most anticipated releases of early 2024! I was thrilled by the chance to read a copy early for the Colored Pages Tour. To Cage a God did not disappoint! I loved the main revolutionary plot line, with its political schemes and intrigue. There were two things about this book that I would consider to be my favorite parts. First, I loved the dynamic between the two sister protagonists, Galina and Sera. They had such a realistic sisterly relationship and an excellent balance between bantering and having tender compassionate moments. My other favorite thing (which is the element that made this a five-star read for me) was the sapphic romance! I won't spoil anything, but this book is going to be a must-read for people who love queer fantasy.

My Recommendation:
If you love high fantasy books with plenty of romantic tension you need to be sure to preorder To Cage a God! I would especially recommend this book to fans of The Midnight Girls by Alicia Jasinska (which is high praise as this is one of my other favorite books)!

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This was an interesting read!

Although I initially found it a bit confusing with 5 POVs, it mainly centers around the two main sisters and how their lives are shaped in this Slavic-inspired world. I enjoyed the writing and the worldbuilding, but the characters and relationships fell a little flat. The pacing felt good for the last 30% but I feel like this was just build-up for the coming books. Overall, however, I found this an interesting read and I love the author's writing, so this was a good addition to my collection of her work!

Thanks NetGalley and the publishers for the e-arc!

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I am so happy that I dove into To Cage a God!
This NA romantasy is set in imperial Russia, the world building was amazing. And there is dragons!!!!!!!!, who doesn’t love dragons!!!!!!!! Story is perfect for readers of Bardugo and Aveyard.

If you're looking for a book that sits on the cusp of romantasy and epic fantasy, combining some light inspiration from Russian history and literature with an adventure that doesn't stop, this is the book for you.

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"To Cage a God" by Elizabeth May is the first chapter of a new duology. I had previously enjoyed Elizabeth May's "The Falconer" series, but unfortunately, this initial book did not live up to expectations.

Among the positive aspects is the intriguing concept of the magical system: the ability to imprison a god within a person to harness their powers. However, this power is believed to be reserved only for the nobility. I also appreciated the setting inspired by the Russian Revolution, which provided a backdrop for court intrigues and action scenes.

Despite my appreciation for the setting, I found a lack of connection with the characters. Particularly, the court-focused chapters with Galina felt cumbersome to me, as they centered around a romance that seemed a bit rushed. I found more appeal in the angst between Sera and her... companion. Romance plays a significant role in this book, but in my opinion, it wasn't the most original premise, and unfortunately, it detracted from the overall narrative.

The book has a satisfying ending, so I don't think I'll feel the need to continue this series, but never say never!

I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with this e-ARC! I do my reviews on my social media platforms. I am currently working on getting through my reviews so stay tuned! Leaving a rating as a placeholder for me and to not effect the books rating in order to post this. Thanks again!

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Oh I highly enjoyed reading this fantastic tale where destructive dragon gods are forcefully chained to co-exist inside humans.

To Cage A God is told in multiple POVS—but it starts with Galina & Sera. These two siblings carry the burden of having caged gods living inside of them, which is an act strictly forbidden to commoners, and all for the sake of the growing rebellion that is set to end the imperial reign of the royals. The world is brutal & complex but it will have you flipping pages non-stop. Not to mention that it also has burning romances for each character that will make your heart race.

Elizabeth's May writing is beautifully dark & gripping, I cannot wait to read more of it in the sequel!

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4.5 stars

This book is about rebellion, found family and magical beasts bounded to people.
I had high hopes for this book and luckily it mostly delivered. Although having magical beasts/gods bounded with humans have been done a lot, this still felt new and exciting. I loved that there was limits (at least for some people) to the power and there is the "god-complex" the people with power develop (in most cases).
But where this book shone, were the characters. I enjoyed most of them (especially the dry humor most of the had). But lets be honest, I read this book for V. and S. Only for them. And I loved how their relationship was portrayed (will not go to detailed because of spoilers). This was so refreshing. I would love to see more of them (and their past interactions.

What I had problem with this book, was the Russian inspired-ness. There are so many of them, especially when dealing with rebellion and cruel rulers. Honestly, I think this book would have benefitted with having a generic fantasy world. The russian setting was not even that much in the book (except the language, I guess; my russian is very rusty).

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This book wasn’t for me.
I didn't like the plot, quite basic and without twists, and the characters were flat and with poorly written relationships (love or family ones). I'm so sorry because I love the author but this book just disappointed me

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First of all, romantasy fans will probably enjoy this book. Anyone who likes Fourth Wing and Sarah J. Maas will probably like it pretty well. Unfortunately, I couldn't even finish it. It's gotten so that any book that is marketed with a romance aspect at all I'm going to need to pass up. I don't hate romance by any means, but I prefer fantasy books to be about the plot and the world first with romance secondary. A good recent example of it would be Silver Under Nightfall and Court of Wanderers by Rin Chupeco. To be fair, the romance wasn't slapped into the first part of the book, but I am just no longer interested in even trying romantasy.

Furthermore, this book had a ton of info-dumping in the first part. Similar to how I felt about Sins on Their Bones, the two main characters spent the first 40 pages reminiscing about the past. I would have rather read about the events that lead up to the beginning of the book considering the main characters seemed to think them so important. To be honest, reading about how gods are trapped inside people and why it affected the "chosen royals" differently than the two main characters would have been so intriguing. Instead, the reader barely sees it except for how it affects them in that moment. We don't see the struggle and the machinations that led to that moment.

Ultimately if you like romantasy, then sure give this a shot. It just wasn't for me.

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2.5⭐️

I should have paid more attention to the “Fourth Wing meets Shadow & Bone” marketing. While I enjoyed Shadow & Bone, I haven’t read Fourth Wing, and if this book is a combination, I won’t be picking that one up.

I almost DNF this book twice within the first 25%. I promised myself that I could stop if I reached that point and it still wasn’t working for me, but thankfully the book picked up just before that point. That being said, the first 25% of the book was painful for me. It felt like I was walking into a sequel past the initial flashback with none of the knowledge I needed to actually connect. Any worldbuilding – which I NEED in a fantasy book – was brief or shoehorned in chunks that felt clunky and forced. I wish the dragons had more development and attention. I was left with more questions than answers about the most interesting points of the story, which was a real bummer.

The characters in that early section read like they were written by a young teenager trying to make the characters feel older and edgy? This improves by the halfway mark, but I couldn’t stand Galina’s italicized inner monologue that led up to that point – she was more pitiful and sad than someone who had been through trauma and was just trying to cope. Sera had the same affliction, except her role was the Badass Protective Heroine who was also the brains of the operation. Neither of these characters developed much after the 50% mark, so I wouldn’t recommend this book if you are big on character building. The only character I thought had real depth and growth was Vasilisa – I loved the chronic pain representation and the decisions she chooses to make as she recognizes her own inner power.

As for the plot, it felt very familiar – minus the Russian edge – but it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I likely won’t remember it after my next read, and even writing this review I can’t say any development through the narrative really excited me.

An ARC of this book was provided by the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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To Cage a God was Russian Empire inspired romance fantasy with rebels actions, emotional struggles and cutthroat political intrigues level. But the writing also gave us those type of story that starting with throw readers straight into the events. Very busy war events without much explanation about the worldbuilding, magic system or character background. I found out my self blank, confusing in earlier chapters to get strong ground and grasp into the plot story, the character, the lore, anything...

The book also one of the rare type that the audiobook isnt deliver the story as smooth as I want. It more confusing than helper to understand the story better. I appreciate the narrator efforts to keep the Russian accent to make readers feel the atmosphere. But the emotional narrative felt so loud, confusing with names, peoples, places and very fast pace filled with struggles. I am felt confuse so many time and must cross check the ebook version.

The premise really good and I really want to love this book. Some moment of romances is really good but lack chemistry and less flesh out. I just want better, slower and smoother information sharing during storytelling, narrative and banters

Thank you to Netgalley and DAW Books and Bolinda Audio for providing copy of this ebook. I have voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Expecting Publication : 20 February 2024

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Content Warnings: Torture, Burning Alive, Slavery, Child Abuse, Human Experimentation, Chronic Illness and Treatment, Self Harm / Cutting,

For those sex averse, all sex scenes are quick and not overly graphic. However, they are not always well-telegraphed and thus hard to know to skip.

Quick note: This book starts off like you’re reading a sequel, but it’s actually the first book in a series. This book is the second I’ve read recently with that feel, so I wanted to add an additional note for clarity.

I liked the overall vibe of this book, as it contained a mix of action, political intrigue, and mythological inspired world building; it’s also a little on the darker fantasy side, which I enjoy. I was interested in seeing how issues resolved, and I liked most of the characters.

However, for me there were too many characters to follow, with points of view switching constantly. These are all clearly labeled when they happen, but it was a lot to balance. The pacing was likewise unbalanced. The buildup was too slow, and the resolution too quick.

The book has two romances, one lesbian and one hetero. I thought both were simply okay. The lesbian romance felt more in character and developed than the hetero romance, which had the misfortune of the characters being more interesting outside of their relationship than in it.

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Best book I've read in a long, long time. Sera and Galina were wonderful protagonists dealt a terrible hand in life. Each character written was well written and a delight to witness in the story, and watching them explore the relationships with their "Gods" was riveting. Seriously the best fantasy I've read.

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I struggled to get into this one. It felt as though the author was trying too hard to describe everything, even things that really didn't need describing, and this distracted me from the world building and character development.

When things were more established, I became a bit more invested in the characters and their story. I liked some of the themes that were explored especially those around the negative stigmas towards chronic illness.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read but I'm not sure how quickly I will be reaching for the sequel.

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I would like to thank NetGalley and the Publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book.

To Cage a God is an adult romantic fantasy (romantasy) novel, purported for fans of Fourth Wing and Shadow and Bone. As one of the millions of people who loved Fourth Wing, I was intrigued by the premise of this book. The plot is inspired by Imperial Russia with themes of draconic gods, political revolutions, and deadly magical power.

The main characters in the book are two sisters, Galina and Sera, who each house a violent god inside of them (as a result of their mother’s horrific experimentation on them as children). They can access their gods’ powers, but there is an ever-increasing cost. They were raised to be weapons in a revolution, but are on a mission of their own Rebellion (or die trying).

The magical system in the book is unique, and there is a constant theme of hero/anti-hero, infiltration, and trying to overthrow the ruling class. There was some romance in the book, but it seemed secondary to everything else. I liked the story, the characters, the dramatic imagery, and the pacing of the book, and considered it fun and interesting read. It

If you are a fan of dragon-themed romance and or fantasy, then I definitely recommend this book. It was good, but romantasy is not my favorite genre.

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DNF at 26% - I tried to read this book. I really did. But if after 3 months I still can't bring myself to read it and I'm already a fourth of the way through I don't see it getting much better from here. I didn't feel any real connection to any of the characters and none of what they were doing seemed important, which I think should have been established well before the point I gave up.

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To Cage a God by Elizabeth May is an accurate blend of Shadow and Bone and Fourth Wing complete with a soft, sapphic romance, and m/f enemies-to-lovers storyline set in an Imperial Russia-inspired world. I’m a sucker for anything sapphic so this was a book I was excited to grab!

It took some time to jump into this one (mood reader problems), but once I did, I was hooked. I ended up absolutely adoring these characters. The sibling relationship between Sera and Galina contrasted well with the romantic elements, and I love how each partnership had its own flavor.

Sera has a romantic past with a fugitive who enjoys blowing things up, and now he’s locked in a violent plot to bring down the palace, the same palace her sister Galina has infiltrated.

Galina forms a connection with the princess of the palace, who has isolated herself from the rest of the world (including her mother). Unlike the tense relationship between Sera and Vitaly, Galina and Vasilisa form a tentative bond that tranforms into a cute relationship.

If you’re a romantasy fan, To Cage a God offers a fresh, fast-paced, and endearing experience that will leave you wanting more.

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As soon as I spotted this book, I knew I wanted it. The cover was captivating, the title intriguing, and the summary promised a story I'd enjoy. Plus, learning that one of the main characters deals with chronic pain made me even more eager to dive in.

Luckily, DAW hooked me me up with a review copy through Netgalley, so I didn't have to wait. yay.

But maybe I set my hopes too high. I thought I'd fly through it, but finishing was tougher than expected. It wasn't the writing; that flowed fine, and the chapters were a good length. But there was something missing.

The world-building and mythology didn't quite hit the mark for me. Despite mentions of other places and conflicts, I struggled to fully picture the world or understand the kingdom's position. The mythology seemed interesting, but I felt like I only got a glimpse of its potential depth.

Connecting with the characters was tricky too. They all seemed to have secrets or hidden identities, which made it hard to really root for them. While I get why that's part of the plot, it made it tough to get emotionally invested.

Even though it didn't quite hit home for me, I'm sure plenty of readers will love it.

It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Thanks to NetGalley and DAW for providing me the review copy!

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the power of a god into their bones and raised them to one day overthrow the tyrannical nobles. Now adults, Galina concocts a plan to infiltrate the palace and dismantle the government from within. However, when she falls for the isolated princess Vasilisa, she finds herself caught between torn loyalties.

To Cage a God by Elizabeth May weaves a Slavic godpunk fantasy inspired by the Russian revolution.

At first glance, the basic premise of caging dragon gods and harnessing their powers sounded really interesting and had so much potential, but unfortunately, the execution of the story itself fell flat.

Now, I’m a sucker for a good fantasy romance, but the romance here felt more at odds with the plot than an enhancement of it—undermining any sense of stakes or urgency. For instance, in one of the opening scenes, readers are repeatedly told that Galina’s life is somehow on the line, yet all consideration for her sister’s life goes out the window when Sera spies her ex-lover, Vitaly, and decides to ogle him instead. She also is way too quick to forgive him after (view spoiler)

Overall, the characters didn’t feel believable to me and come across as too juvenile for an adult fantasy. I really found it hard to root and care for the main sisters when they so easily forget each other and their own revolutionary cause.

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It pains me to be writing a critical review of a book I eagerly anticipated. Elizabeth May’s To Cage a God promised so many things on paper: complicated enemies-to-lovers relationships, Six of Crows but make it even darker vibes, and an intriguing (and metal) sounding magic system comprised of caging dragons inside one’s literal bones. What I got, was, generously, a shallow and diluted version of the aforementioned elements that left me disappointed.

To start with what I did enjoy—and the only reason I kept reading—was the sapphic relationship that develops between Galina and another character later in the novel. This relationship is one of the only ones I found believable. It added depth to both characters involved and explored a more robust emotional landscape than most characters got to explore.

Even still, it fell prey to what I’ve sadly come to expect from women-loving-women relationships depicted in fiction, which is sexual chemistry and desire taking a backseat to less explicit elements such as romantic connection. This in and of itself is not a problem; fade-to-black scenes are great and exist to be enjoyed by readers and employed by authors for various reasons. There is at least one open-door scene as well. However, when you also have a parallel M/F romance in the same book where the characters are unrepentant in their horniness for each other and every other encounter is an explicit sex scene, it does tend to highlight this discrepancy in neon lights.

Speaking of the M/F romance in this novel… It was not for me, to put it mildly. Sera, who the novel takes great pains to depict as a stone-cold badass, gradually loses her entire personality to her insufferable lover, right down to the very magic in her bones. Her love interest embodies every arrogant, selfish, amoral trope you expect of aggressively heternormative romance heroes and shows barely an iota of true consideration for Sera, opting instead to put the emotional labour of making her his ‘moral compass’ on her amongst other actions I found hard to stomach. The dynamic of two estranged partners with opposing political goals is a dynamic I usually love, but no amount of them pulling knives on each other could save this one for me.

The characters all around in this novel fell flat on their face for me. Everyone felt like a caricature, from the mustache-twirling primary antagonist to the participants in the cut-and-paste BookTok exes-to-morally-dubious-situationship romance. The novel did not sell me on anyone’s motivations. Characters mostly seemed to act in service of a defined role or plot device than acting like people, which, as a reader who is primarily character-driven, means I was probably destined not to enjoy this.

The setting and political intrigue were impacted by the issue of character work. It made it so the stakes—which should have been high, what with all the death and trauma and mayhem—lost a lot of their meaning. I also just wanted more worldbuilding in general. The coolest fantasy elements, namely the magic system, were mostly a prop to justify how extra horrible the ruling class is in the novel despite several PoV characters having access to said magic system.

In an oversaturated romantasy market, To Cage a God offers little innovation to the Imperial Russia setting and even less character depth and development, particularly regarding the multiple romances involved. Though I’ve enjoyed some of May’s other work and plan to keep an eye on future releases, I won’t be continuing with this duology and don’t recommend it.

Thank you to DAW and NetGalley for an advance review copy. All opinions are my own.

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