Member Reviews

To Cage a God is a gripping start to the "These Monstrous Gods" series. Elizabeth May's world, where gods are grafted into human bones, is as unique as it is captivating.

Sisters Galina and Sera, armed with forbidden powers, must lead a rebellion against a tyrannical empire. Sera reunites with her estranged lover, while Galina infiltrates the palace, where her growing feelings for a sharp-witted princess complicate her mission.

1. Galina's internal conflict adds emotional layers.
2. The concept of grafted gods is fascinating.
3. Sofia Engstrand's performance enhances the story.
4. Fast-paced and full of twists.

While dense lore can be overwhelming, *To Cage a God* is a must-read for fantasy lovers.

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This was a really interesting book! I always find books inspired by Slavic cultures to be so interesting and unique! I just wish we'd learned Moore about how the gods are trapped in human bodies but I'm sure that will come in future books!

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"To Cage a God" dives into the complex theme of rebellion against a tyrannical regime. The story centers around Galina and Sera, sisters raised to be living weapons containing the power of caged gods. Tasked with overthrowing the cruel Alurea family who rule through devastating god-like power, the sisters find themselves on very different paths. On one side, Galina infiltrates the opulent palace, navigating courtly intrigue and a forbidden romance with a princess. Sera, on the other hand, joins the brutal rebellion movement.

Despite their contrasting approaches, both sisters grapple with the consequences of wielding immense power against a seemingly insurmountable enemy. The novel explores the moral gray areas of rebellion, the sacrifices it demands, and the potential for corruption within any revolution. "To Cage a God" challenges readers to consider the true costs of freedom and the lengths one might go to in the face of oppression.

Special thanks to NetGalley, @Bolindaaudio , and the editorial team for giving me the opportunity to review the ARC in audiobook format and to you, my reader, for taking the time to read this honest personal book review.

If you are interested in other of my book reviews, make sure to follow me on GoodReads! #ToCageaGod #NetGalley #LifeLongLearning

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I really couldn’t get into this one - it seems like a great story that will lend itself to the written word much better than audio format.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an arc in exchange for this review.

Apologies for my delay, I’ve had a very hectic few months.

Not really for me nor what I’d hoped it would be. Might adjust my expectations and try again.

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This book has restored my love for fantasy romance!
The fantasy elements were balanced perfectly with the romance elements, I was rooting for both couples and the dynamics between the couples were so different but done so well.

So the plot of this book is basically rebellion, to overthrow the tyrannical empress that has Godfire an extremely rare form of Godpower.
Now these Gods are actually Dragons from another world summoned and caged within a persons bones via witchcraft that allows them to use the dragons power.
However only nobility (Alurea) have this power, not ordinary people, of course leading to abuse of power and injustice.

There are 2 swoon worthy romances in this book, the m/f relationship is second chance and their stabby banter dynamic was entertaining and easy to root for because Vitalik was a boy obsessed and we love to see it!

~”I wont stop you from leaving me Sera. It’s not in my nature. But if I found you in another lifetime, I’d hold you in my arms until the Gods themselves tried to tear us apart”
~“I’ll always belong to you, until my last breath. In this life and the next.”

The f/f relationship was also built beautifully and its kind of forbidden romance, “im supposed to hate/kill you but”
But the way they cared for each other and felt safe and supported by each other was great.
Galina holding Vasilisa while she injected her medicine was such a tender scene.

The narrator did a great job differentiating between all the women with her tone and I could easily tell who was talking. The audiobook really helped me immerse myself into the story as well with the use of the words native to the world.

I will definitely be reading book 2!

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Thank you to Netgalley for the audiobook ARC! To Cage a God has been on my radar, so I was really excited to get approved for an ARC. I really liked the narration and the audiobook was good quality. My main draw was the sapphic relationship, to be honest, so I will definitely share my thoughts on that.

Aside from the relationship, I knew literally nothing about this book before I started it. The two main characters, Sera and Galina, are sisters who had gods carved into their bones, which I thought was a really cool concept. The magic system was impressive and unique, and it really drew me in. I loved the connection between the sisters, and it felt like a really realistic relationship.

The world is Russian inspired, and the fantasy setting had a great atmosphere. I do think that some of the wider world-building was not as detailed as the immediate settings, and I kept forgetting about a lot of the more distant places and people.

We mostly see the POVs of the two sisters, but we see a bit from the respective love interests and some important side characters as well. I thought the disabled representation also was connected to magic in a really important way.

I definitely enjoyed the POVs at the palace the most, definitely because of the developing relationship between Galina and the princess (the sapphic tension just killed me!) but also because of Katya who I really loved and felt so much sympathy for.

I did enjoy Sera’s POV as well, but it took me a bit more time to warm up to her love interest. I think this is mostly because they have history prior to the books, and I often struggle to immediately connect with those kinds of relationships, so I needed to see them interact more before I could understand their connection.

The book is quite romance heavy, which I didn’t mind, but it did make the plot a bit lacking. This meant that it took me quite a while to listen to the audiobook because I didn’t feel compelled to keep picking it up. A lot of the plot points were just a bit generic, so I feel like the concept wasn’t fulfilled to the best potential.

The ending felt a bit rushed, and it left me not really knowing what the overall plot of the series is, as it kind of felt like a standalone. I think this is a duology, so I may continue at some point, but I don’t think it will be a priority. Overall, I have mixed thoughts about this one.

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I loved Elizabeth's May The Falconer trilogy so I had such high expectations for this but it took me a month to finish listening to the audio ARC (not a great fan of the narrator). I just thought at time the story was a bit confusing and the pace too slow. I might still read the sequel just out of curiosity.

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Great premise! Hard to follow in audiobook at times because it was so complicated. Really interesting magic system. I think I may have enjoyed it more reading it because it was so complex.

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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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This one missed the mark a bit for me, whilst I think the narrator did an amazing job, the story fell a little bit flat for me

I found that there wasn't much world building or explanation of the magic system itself to begin with, which left me wondering if I’d zoned out and had to keep checking myself. As the story went on, it did get better, I liked that there were multiple POVs added along the way.

The romance side of the story, whilst nice in places, I found that I wasn’t really invested in them.

Not a terrible book, but not as enjoyable as others I’ve read and listened to.

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I LOVED this book! I found it a little bit slow to start but it picked up a few chapters in and I couldn’t put it down! The main characters were interesting and I loved the developing relationship between Galina and Princess Vasilisa, and I was delighted with how the story ended. Such an enjoyable book and I would definitely recommend this to any fantasy fans!

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This book wanted to be a lot of things bur didn't deliver. It all felt surface level, from the characters to the plot to the setting, a mish mash of other books which left me uninterested sadly halfway through.
I wanted so much to love it. Narrator did a good job however.

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thank you so much to the publishers and Netgalley for this audiobook!

i think the narrator was amazing and did an amazing job. i had no issues following the story and i could easily get immersed in the book. i will definitely be looking at what other books they have narrated.

now in relation to the book itself, i think the plot was very straightforward and the overall premise was quite interesting, but sadly some of it fell flat for me. as much as i wanted to enjoy this, i was confused for a lot of it and i couldn't figure out why and then i realised that it's because there wasn't much world building or explanation of the magic system itself initially. you learn more as you go along and i think it definitely gets more interesting as you go because you get more POVs which i quite liked.
there were nice moments for the romance side but overall i was kind of disinterested for both of the relationships.

i will be reading the next book because i am curious and it had a pretty good ending.

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I DNF'd this book about 54 pages in. I wasn't enjoying the writing style, I didn't really know what was going on, and that was just with 2 characters. I'm aware more are introduced as the story goes on. I had a friend get to page 180 and say the same thing, there's no world building, there's no explanation of the magic and she had no clue what was going on. Which is a shame because the cover is beautiful. Narrator was good though.

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“To Cage a God” is a Russian Empire-inspired fantasy romance, where the delicate balance between power, rebellion, and divine beings, shape the destiny of its characters. The narrative centres around Galina and Sera two young women harbouring powerful gods inside, who are rescued from a burning village at a young age and thrust into a world of political intrigue and mystical forces. 

From the outset, readers are plunged into a whirlwind of information, a deluge of names, places, and concepts that unfortunately do not have a lot of explanation. The Gods within Sera and Galina hold the potential to alter the very fabric of the Empires. Yet, despite the allure of this premise, the initial lack of context makes for a confusing read, leaving readers grappling with the identities of the characters and the significance of their actions.

Against the backdrop of a society divided between the privileged Alluria nobles and oppressed commoners, the story unfolds in the capital city of Dulsk. Here, readers witness the machinations of power and the struggles of everyday life, where commoners are subject to the whims of their aristocratic overlords, including oppressive laws and mandatory donations.
Interwoven with these political dynamics are the romances that drive the narrative forward. Galina finds herself entangled with Vasilia, while Sera grapples with her complicated feelings for Vitally.

Despite its intriguing premise and richly imagined world, there is just far too much information thrown at the reader at the outset, giving a sense of constantly needing to catch up with the plot.

The narrator did a great job and had a lovely voice, making it an immersive experience.

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This book is a lot of politics and rebellion with a hint of magic thrown in. Now you’ll want to brace yourself for it, because it’s definitely a long one - I listened to the audiobook and it was a little over 17hrs if I remember correctly, and I’m not sure if I wasn’t in the right mood for it or if the first quarter was as slow and dry as it felt. I did nearly DNF this but once I’d picked it up again I got more invested in the story, in the sisters and their plan, the danger of it all and the romance. I can’t say I ever felt strongly enough about any of the characters or the romances, which were more of a side plot but added some spice in there for those who like that kind of thing (me!). As the story progresses we get more points of view and it’s interesting seeing what some of the main characters are thinking and doing. There are some complex relationships here, some serious history, and a lot of secrets. I liked the sibling bond between Gallina and Sera but maybe even more than that was the loyalty of Amna and Katya, and their quiet rebellions, as well as their trust in the sisters.

I didn’t always understand what was going on, and I didn’t like the audiobook format for this book because there’s one narrator, which made it hard to tell when the points of view switched, particularly early on when we’re getting both Gallina and Sera’s narrative. Also, the sister’s mother, Elena, was named too similarly to Gallina and while this isn’t an issue in print, the pronunciation was hard to differentiate at times, and even more so when starting off the story and trying to get to grips with who is who.

I’m glad I kept reading as in the end I did enjoy the book but I’d say it was too long and not a great experience for audiobook readers.

I received a free copy of this book. All views are my own.

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An excellent start to a fantasy series. Slow to start but that's to build the scenes and characters. It's all here treachery, magic and romance. A well plotted book. Will look forward to the next book and see how the characters develop. Sofia Egstrand does an amazing job of narrating this audiobook. Thanks to Belinda audio and Netgalley for a review copy

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Book Review: "To Cage a God" by Elizabeth May
Rating: 2/5 stars

To Cage a God by Elizabeth May holds an intriguing premise that drew me in, but unfortunately it fell short in execution. Narrated by the talented Sofia Engstrand, the audio version offers an immersive experience, though a Slavic narrator might have enhanced the authenticity of the setting.

Set in a Russian-inspired world where dragon gods are caged within humans, the story follows multiple POVs, primarily that of two sisters, Sera and Galina, women whose bodies have become vessels for dragon gods, granting them a god power that’s turned them into human weapons designed to overthrow an empire. This book is an exploration of power struggles, political intrigue, personal conflicts, complex relationships, and steamy romances.

Sera describes the dynamic with her god as “A cursed pair, an imprisoned dragon and a woman who never asked for her body to be offered to such a vindictive god.”

However, the narrative suffers from a lack of coherent world-building making it difficult for readers to visualize settings and understand crucial histories that relate to the plot. Additionally, the magic system feels underdeveloped, with little explanation provided about the pantheon of seemingly endless gods or the significance of their powers. The commonness of gods bound to humans diminishes the uniqueness and significance of having a god power. The inner conflict shared with the god caged in their bones is interesting, however the physical presence of dragon gods within hosts adds an awkward layer to the magic system.

One of the major drawbacks is the overwhelming introduction to pre-existing politics and character relationships, while this may intend to throw readers directly into the action with no frills, it instead leaves readers disconnected and uninvested. Despite efforts to establish character depth, motivations remain unclear, particularly regarding Sera and Galinas allegiance to the machinations of a deceased, cruel mother.

The romantic relationships in the novel primarily rely on sexual tension, lacking depth and emotional resonance. Whether it's Sera's solely physical connection with Vitally, or the forced romance between Galina and Vasilisa, the dynamics feel contrived and unconvincing. I remain unconvinced Galina and Vasilisa had any real chemistry outside of their gods seemingly being mated. Even the bond between sisters felt forced and unconvincing.

Despite occasional nods to Slavic folklore, such as the references to Princess Vasilisa and the Firebird, these elements fail to enhance the narrative cohesiveness. Instead, they serve as disjointed callbacks without contributing substantially to the plot or character development.
In conclusion, To Cage a God struggles to deliver on its promising premise. While the audio narration adds some depth to the experience, the novel's shortcomings in world-building, character development, and romance will leave readers wanting more, but not in a good way. Fans of Russian-inspired fantasy or Russian history and folklore may find elements to appreciate, but overall, this is a book that falls short of its ambitions.

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Thank you so much to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to listen to the audiobook of To Cage A God.

This was really enjoyable to listen to. I felt it was well paced but not too quick that I lost track of the story. There are definitely strong Grishaverse vibes which I loved!

I loved the characters and how they grew throughout the book, and felt the relationships were really dynamic.

Cannot wait for the next book in the series as I feel like this is quite different from a lot of fantasy books these days.

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