Gleam (The Plated Prisoner #3) – Raven Kennedy

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Pages: 595
Release Date: May 31, 2021

Haven’t read the previous novels? Check out my reviews of Gild and Glint.

King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.

The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out… Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.

I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.

But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.

He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.

Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.

Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, It’ll be me setting the trap… I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed. 


I don’t know what it is about this series, but I can’t seem to connect with it like so many others have. There is a fantastic story here, unfortunately it’s buried under poor writing and execution.

Auren continued to have zero agency throughout the entirety of Gleam. Gleam had promise since it opened with Auren talking about playing the long con with Midas in order to escape his hold. However, as the novel progressed things continued to happen to Auren with her doing very little about it. When she did find a hint of agency, it was disappointing at best since Auren is an incredibly weak character, both physically and magically. Which brings me to the somewhat redeeming ending which I’ll touch upon later.

I actually liked Queen Malina in the first two novels. She had agency and gusto as she attempted to take back what was rightfully hers. However, in Gleam she turned into an insufferably privileged brat. I found it hard to believe that there were people who we still willing to help her after what she did. By the end of the novel, her chapters were difficult to get through.

Glint set up Gleam with the perfect opportunity to play up the sexual tension and angst between Auren and Slade. Unfortunately, their coupling didn’t feel earned as they only had a couple of disappointing interactions beforehand. I will give it to Kennedy since she knows how to write her spice. However, as well written as it was, it felt like it came out of left field with a slight case of instalove. I really wish Kennedy would have included more clandestine interactions between Auren and Slade to build up the tension.

As I mentioned in my review of Glint, the lack of world building continues. Gleam focused almost exclusively on Auren’s bid to escape Midas’ clutches. I’m assuming the next book will focus heavily on the Fae, their history, and a twist reveal that Auren comes from a powerful Fae family or something like that.

The ending of Gleam was epic and the reason I rated the novel three stars instead of two. All I’ll say (without going into spoilers) is that it was a slightly redeeming moment that has made me reconsider my original decision to not read the next book, Glow.

Overall, Gleam is a disappointing addition to the series that squandered its potential. Instead of expanding the world, its lore, and developing Auren and Slade’s relationship, Kennedy continued to withhold Auren’s agency and ruin the only female character who had agency.


Have you read Gleam? What did you think?

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