Review: Cage The Darlings

Reasons for Inclusion: Lesbian romance, queer-normalized world

Publisher’s Summary: Only a blackbird girl can set her free…

Envy is a lucky lady with a secret vice: she’s one of the best thieves in the kingdom–something her current employer, the king himself, has no knowledge of. When one of her more audacious gambles gets her caught, Envy thinks her luck’s run out. Infuriated, the king banishes her to Bran Tower, a haunted, forgotten prison of no escape.

But, by day, a mysterious blackbird brings Envy crumbs of food–and, by night, the beautiful ghost Merle befriends her. Or so Envy thinks. When Merle, no ghost at all, reveals her terrible truth–cursed to spend daylight as a blackbird, night as the mortal woman she once was–Envy confesses, too: that she’s fallen for the blackbird girl.

But love has made them reckless in a forest of dangerous men. On the night of their planned escape, Merle is kidnapped by a band of brigands seeking the treasure of her father, the Blackbird King. Envy is brave but is now faced with an almost impossible task: to journey through the cursed forest in the hopes of saving her beloved Merle.

My Review:

(5/5 stars)

This is exactly the sort of book I love to curl up with. I read it in one sitting, enjoying every moment.

Envy’s world is a fairytale kingdom, where kings lock people in towers, girls turn into blackbirds, witches keep cats and brew magic potions, bandits rule the wild, and love can save the day.

The settings were beautifully realized: a patchwork shantytown, the dark forest, the witch’s cabin.

The romance was sweet and the characters were enchanting. The story took an original twist on old fairytale tropes while keeping enough tradition to feel warm and familiar.

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a lesbian fairytale.

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