Review: The Cage of Dark Hours By Marina J. Lostetter





The Cage of Dark Hours, by Marina Lostetter, is the second installment in the thrilling fantasy trilogy, The Five Penalties. In this book, the main character, Krona, and her team, the Regulators, have successfully defeated Charbon, a serial killer who was resurrected from the dead. However, the victory has come at a great cost, as it has exposed the reality of their world, revealing the true nature of the magic and myths that surround them.

Krona and her team are now allied with an old friend and must continue their fight against the ruling elite who have maintained their power through deceit and control over magic. They also face new challenges from the unknown creatures beyond the foggy barrier that separates their world. As they delve deeper into their investigation, they discover the truth behind the Thalo, a mysterious force that has been manipulating their world from behind the scenes, and who were once thought to be only a children’s story.

With every new lead, Krona and her team must navigate dangerous situations and face their own fears and doubts, all while trying to protect their world from those who seek to control it.


The story picks up with the characters grappling with the aftermath of a sudden death. Krona is in a state of shock and questioning her position as a Regulator, responsible for enforcing rules around magical items. The depiction of grief through Krona’s character is powerful, as she struggles with a death mask that represents her loss and desperately seeks any connection to her loved one. Krona’s guilt over her privileged position and double standards in using magical items in her personal life adds complexity to her character and foreshadows trouble ahead. As Krona withdraws from others to deal with her crisis of faith, it leaves a void that is felt by the absence of the supporting characters.

The focus of the story in this book is less on Krona and more on a wider range of characters that add depth and complexity to the world. The introduction of new characters allows the reader to gain a greater understanding of the Thalo cult, the resistance, and the nobility. Thibault is a standout character whose relationship with Krona is touching and heartwarming, and there is a scene that will make the reader feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Although the plot in this book was not as straightforward as the previous one, it delves deeply into the intricate lore and magic that make up the world created by Lostetter. The exploration of this aspect of the world was what initially captured the reader’s interest in the first book, and this one expands upon it by challenging the established understanding of the world. The story poses thought-provoking questions about the possibility of a pervasive and carefully constructed lie by those in power, corruption at the center of their world, and the whereabouts of the gods. It keeps the reader engaged in uncovering the truth and reassessing their previous assumptions about the story’s universe.

I am eagerly anticipating where this series will lead us next. If you appreciate intricate universes, secret societies, enchanted artifacts, and supernatural creatures, do not hesitate to grab this book. This trilogy has already secured a spot on my list of all-time favorite series.

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