Book series: The Plated Prisoner
Author: Raven Kennedy
Gild - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Glint - ⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Gleam - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ | Glow - ⭐️⭐️
This is probably one of the most difficult reviews I’ve had to do. “The Plated Prisoner” series is one of my favorite stories in the Fantasy-Romance genre. Like my fellow book lovers, I waited what seemed like forever for the fourth installment of the series, recently published. And now, I’ll have to wait another year or more for the final book to close the cycle of Midas myth reinterpretation.
Why is it difficult to review? I highly respect writers. I know how hard it is to make a story come true, to have the courage to put ideas into words and manage to publish a 300/400-words piece of art. I know the power of words, in this case, how reviews could potentially affect authors. It’s a huge responsibility, one I take seriously. This said, I have to be true to my opinion, too. Moreover, being this one of my favorite stories, it’s difficult when the latest book turned out disappointing to me—again with all my respect to Raven Kennedy. Believe me, I will be impatiently waiting for the next book no matter my opinion of the previous ones. I’m not losing faith in her just because I didn’t like “Glow.”
The Plated Prisoner Series
Let’s dig in, first with the titles. “The Plated Prisoner” as the chosen name for the whole series perfectly encapsulates what every single book explores. Then, you have each individual title. They reflect the journey our protagonist, Auren, takes in order to get to know herself and get in touch with her true nature. From a skin color to a spark that grows inside of her, until her glow just bursts into the world. Just genius!
This story is based on the legend of Midas, the one with the power to gild everything he touched. It represents our greed, greed which is captured in Kennedy’s character. Then we have Auren. She is an orphan rescued by Midas when she was fifteen after being used in the streets for her physical appeal. Now, everything except her irises and teeth are gold. When Midas becomes king, she becomes his precious, his favored, known all around Orea for her skin color. However, because of their enemies, a possible war looms in the horizon. As a consequence, Auren’s life isn’t as safe as she thought. Even the palace where she was kept doesn’t feel enough anymore. New truths come to life and through the books, she meets new characters and discovers her true potential. Determined to build a life of her choosing, no more as a selfless woman in need of saving, she embarks on a nerve-racking adventure of controlling what she can and want to do.
Books 1 to 3
In the first book, “Gild,” we meet these two characters and their first enemies. Together with the third book, “Gleam," they are my two favorites in the series. In the latter, we meet a very important character that will become central in Auren’s journey of self-discovery and happiness. You guessed it! There’s no Fantasy-Romance without a love triangle. I won’t say who the third wheel is though.
There are a lot of interesting twists and turns. There are snapshots of the past that help you understand better where the characters come from, why they are or act the way they do. There’s a lot of sexual tension and release.
Not all is golden though. This is very personal, but I’ve seen it become a bit of a trend in the genre. Every time, I’ve had something to say about it. I don’t care if it’s an author as consolidated as Sarah J. Maas or a debut author. It seems they are enjoying mixing the voice by which the story is told with not just one, but two or more extra ones. So, instead of having a protagonist guiding you through the plot, it’s become common to have secondary characters pitch in, too. I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. This slows down dramatically the speed and flow of the story. In most cases, it even becomes boring. It breaks the tension the author had been wonderfully creating. I’ve seen it in “Throne of Glass” (by Maas), to give you an example, and it’s present here as well. You’ll find other Queens giving you their side of the story, and frankly, you can do without, especially because these characters—again in my very personal point of view—are infuriating and boring.
Finally, let’s talk about “Glow,” the latest installment. I feel we got into a never ending loop, as if the story was put on repeat. It was fascinating to see Auren peel every layer of herself. Her evolution was getting somewhere. In “Glow,” however, she went a bit backwards, even when she’s learned numerous things—a different scene, different characters, but still the same action and consequences. We have a powerful woman needing rescue again. Many things happened, sure. And, probably they even had to happen for the ending to be justified, but I wish the book had given me something different. It was frustrating seeing her deflate as a character.
Also, I understand it’s a book. We don’t have endless time for things to happen. Nevertheless, at some point I felt some results were unrealistic. Don’t get me wrong. I get it, this is fantasy, anything can happen. This said, you still expect to believe that what’s happening makes sense. In ACOTAR, for instance, even when the characters were involved in constant battles and action, it had a logical pace. They had losses, but also wins, and some breathers to let them enjoy those wins and reflect on the losses. In “Glow,” I felt one thing was happening next to the other and instead of building up tension, I wasn’t quite believing how everything was happening, especially when you had such powerful characters in the mix.
All in all, dear readers, don’t get discouraged because of my review on “Glow.” As I said in the beginning, this is one of my favorite stories, and I strongly recommend you to read the series. Let’s hope we can get a hand on “Gold,” the fifth and last book, very soon.
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