Glow is the fourth installment in the reimaging of the King Midas myth series called The Plated Prisoner. It takes place immediately following the events of Gleam, so spoiler warning for that book. Auren has killed King Midas and is no longer under his control. Slade has escaped the Fifth Kingdom’s palace with her after temporarily rotting her to save her life. However, in their attempt to flee the palace, the other kingdoms decide to come up with their own narrative of what happened. Stating that Auren can steal powers and seduced Slade in an attempt to steal his as well, all so the other kingdoms could appear more powerful. Of course, we know that’s not true but we get to see how this narrative plays out in Glow.
“I was nothing but a road to Midas. A means to get to where he wanted to go, and I paved that path in gold.”
My life has been made up of gilded lies. But death has been shaped from rot.
Like a phoenix caught fire, I will need to rise from the ashes and learn to wield my own power. Because my wings may have been clipped, but I am not in a cage, and I’m finally free to fly from the frozen kingdoms I’ve been kept in.
Yet the world doesn’t want to let me.
That’s the thing when you turn against a king—everyone else turns against you.
Good thing I have a different king in my corner.
But even with the dark threat of Slade Ravinger, the other monarchs are coming for me.
So I will fight for him and he will kill for me, and if we need to become the villains, then so be it.
Because so long as I live in this world, I won’t be used again.
- Published: June 18, 2022
- Page Count: 701 pages
- Genre: Fantasy
- Trigger Warning: Past emotional and physical trauma, violence, adult language, and explicit romance
Thoughts on Glow (Spoilers)
This book alternates between Auren’s, Slade’s, Queen Malina’s, Rissa’s, Osrik’s, and Queen Kaila’s POVs. The majority of which belong to Auren or Slade.
A lot happens in this book. I’ll break down some of the more heavy plot items. There are more elements that happen, but considering they weren’t major parts of the book, I’m going to gloss over them real quick. Rissa and Osrik have an attraction for one another that starts to develop while Rissa is with the army on the way back to the Fourth Kingdom. Rissa and Polly have a major falling out over Rissa taking Polly out of the Fifth Kingdom, as Polly did not want to stop being a saddle like Rissa did. And Ryatt (Slade’s brother) gets to stop being Fake Rip and is promoted to be the commander of the army, so Slade doesn’t have to keep doing two roles (King and Commander). Also, after Slade reverses his rot from Auren, a piece gets left behind that he is unable to remove (not a major issue, but it does play a factor at the end of the book). We also get to meet Keg’s family, who are Slade’s advisors and help run the Fourth Kingdom.
Auren is unconscious for a good beginning portion of the book, mainly due to using so much of her powers during the ending of Gleam. After that, the group is holed up in the area that Slade managed to get control over in the previous book. Which is a small village where Slade, Ryatt, their mother, and a small portion of their servants came through a rip in the world from Annwyn (world of the fae) to Orea (world of the humans). There Auren learns how to control her magic, so she doesn’t have to worry about gold-touching everything when the sun is up and can control it as she did in the ballroom whenever she needs/wants to. We also learn about Slade’s past and how the rip came to be as the two open up about their pasts with one another.
Malina also did not die during Gleam, which we kind of knew but didn’t know. So, it was interesting to see her pop back up. Her parts play more heavily into what’s going to happen in the next book Gold (coming June 2023) as she unknowingly helps rebuild the bridge between Orea and Annwyn, and the fae are set to invade as they proclaim this time Orea is going to be theirs. The opening of the bridge, I believe is also what I believe causes the rips that Slade opened into the world to all close at once. Unless it’s tied to the fact that he lost the ability to use raw magic at the end of the book, but if I’m right the two things are tied together.
Auren ultimately is forced to face the trial of the other kingdoms despite Slade’s attempts to prevent that from happening, as he knows nothing good will happen if she goes. Especially if she goes without him. Kalia is going to twist whatever she can against Auren, as she already did. If she doesn’t, Kalia will look weak since nothing that happens fits her narrative. Auren wasn’t jealous of Kalia’s and Midas’s engagement, Auren never stole Midas’s power, and Auren isn’t seducing Slade for his powers. So, they ensure she ends up at that trial alone, beaten, and drugged (though it wears off but not fast enough so she can break out). Then Kalia uses Auren’s words against her, changing the order and words that Auren said to make it fit Kalia’s narrative so no amount of pleading from Auren is believed. Especially when the rot that was left inside her starts to leak out into her gold that is being revealed to everyone. Making everyone believe she stole Midas’s and Slade’s powers. When she is sentenced to death, Slade arrives and though he stops the execution he cannot free her. In the last effort to save her life, he opens another rip to take her to Annwyn so she doesn’t drown in her own gold that she cannot control.
Overall, I would give Glow a 3.5 out of 5-star rating. There were a lot of great moments, but I do think some things could’ve been left out of the book. We don’t need to see Kalia’s POV to understand what she’s doing. Background clues through Slade’s and Auren’s POV could’ve just told us that. We have the letters and the rumors to know what the other queen is doing. Both of those also happen (so we have redundant information), along with field reports that show how Kalia is taking control of the Fifth and Sixth kingdoms. So, did we need her POV? No. Malina’s? Yes, as there is no other way we would’ve learned about the bridge. Even then, I am still not a fan of Queen Malina. She’s too self-assured and arrogant to care about anything but herself, so it’s no surprise she was a fool that helped reopen the bridge. I hope that’s the last of her POV unless she gets some kind of redemption arc, but I highly doubt she will. Also, at times, Glow feels like a filler book between the events of Gleam and Gold. But were many of the things needed in order to set up the next book? Yes. For those reasons, I’m giving it that 3.5-star rating.
I’m curious to see how Gold will play out. Auren is in Annwyn, but the bridge has been restored. But the rips that Slade made are now closed, so it’s possible the entire village including his mother are dead. We don’t know that for a fact, but it is possible. I’m also curious where Slade is going to side in the upcoming conflict as the fae are ready to go to war for control of Orea, and he wants to destroy the other monarchs for what they attempted to do to Auren. Especially since the monarch know they were wrong, as it was proved that Auren didn’t steal Slade’s magic. Will he join them to eliminate the other monarchs or have to fight a war on two fronts while trying to reunite with Auren?
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