Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 2017
Page Count: 512 (Hardcover)
Age Recommendation: 14
In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?
Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.
As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.
When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down. ~ Goodreads
Initial Reaction: HOLY COW (or should I say, holy Cal) 😉 hehehehehhehehe *screaming*
Victoria Aveyard is an obvious fan of metaphorical titles that also have a literal meaning. (I myself am a master at hooklines and smooth sentences that make sense). In the third installment of the Red Queen series, Victoria Aveyard meets the reader’s expectations of romance, power and a lot of violence. The story flashes forwards about ten seconds from where the previous book, The Glass Sword ended. Just enough for the characters to move a few feet forward. It starts out with our favorite Mentally-Scarred-Main-Character-Mare-Who-Has-Experienced-Too-Much-For-Just-A-Teenager-Please-Help-Her once again stuck in quite the sticky situation. The story’s POV changes throughout the chapters right up until the rather expected (I CALLED IT) but still satisfying conclusion. Especially since the overused plot device, the dreaded cliffhanger, was not used and I can actually stand to wait for the next book.
I’m going to start off with the first biggest change in this book compared to the previous one. The multiple character POV. Personally, I don’t prefer more than one POV unless it adds more complexity, is absolutely necessary or strengthens the story in some way. Usually authors that use POV teeter on the edge of making both of their characters unlikable to somehow add more depth to their story or all the characters end up sounding the same and the POV change is pointless because it’s basically just the same person in a different situation. So, of course, I was disappointed and slightly terrified of this switching of views. Not only did I want to read more about Mare’s current predicament, but I also really didn’t care about the other characters. Luckily, the other characters’ were always thinking about Mare so it didn’t confuse the heroine of the story. I also think it was a wise choice by Victoria, seeing as Mare was sort of doing the same thing every day for six month, besides for a few important plot points. They also served as another way to show how much Mare has changed from the last book. Another thing that I enjoyed from the changes in POV was learning more about the Cameron and Evangeline. Both characters are obviously more complex than Mare views them. Both are (surprisingly) enjoyable characters and ended up liking them a lot.
Mare actually I ended up liking in the book, and I didn’t feel guilty about it because she turned out not to be a egocentric trigger-happy maniac, as I had thought in the previous book. Mare is one of the few characters in the book who actually seems to value human life. It’s a relief from the sometimes mind numbing violence that seems to have become a Thing™ in this series. If Mare was a raging hurricane in the previous book, in King’s Cage she is a thunderstorm minutes before it’s done raining. The rain is constant but not as intense as before and the lightning is still there, but farther away (oof, throwing out the metaphores.) Of course, this doesn’t mean Mare is burnt out, or boring, or any less confused as she was in the last book. She’s actually more confused, more traumatized, and more motivated to win the war than she was ever before. I am officially #TeamMare
My other favorite character in this series is Maven. Because of the ending of the Glass Sword, I knew there would be more of him and I was SO EXCITED. Maven is one of the most twisted, evil and conflicted characters that I’ve read about. He is a young child, burdened with the weight of an entire kingdom. He has everything he could want, besides the one person that he want the most (that’s still alive lol. Everyone else died.) and he will do anything in his power to get them ‘back’. Victoria Aveyard makes sure to let us know how much of a monster Maven is. But what makes him so interesting, is that she also shows the hell that is his mind. She shows him being human. She shows his emotions, his actions and the reason he does what he does. While he may let someone be tortured, he would also stay with them the entire time. He does his best to treat a prisoner like a queen. He’s the most complex character in this series by far and I can’t wait to read more about him in War Storm.
For the plot, this book felt more like a filler than an actual plot developing book? Like, two major things happened. Luckily the book made up for the lack of action with developments in the character’s growth and relationships, which especially for this story, is as equally important as the plot. But the lack of plot did have its toll on the pacing of the story. Towards the middle, it dragged a bit. Nothing was really happening and literally Mare was just insulting and throwing shade at people left and right. Reading about petty fights might be ok for a series like the Selection, but it’s not what I’m looking for when I read this series.
There are pieces of me, small pieces, still in love with a fiction.
“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this,” he hisses through gritted teeth.
Swooning words. A romantic declaration. I can barely stop my eyes from rolling.
“Thank you,” I whisper. Words I never thought I would say to her. They unsettle us both.