King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperTeen (7th Feb 2017)
Series: Red Queen #3
Format/Source: International Paperback Edition (received a review copy from MPH Distributors)
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.
I really enjoyed Red Queen when it first came out in 2015, even though I though the story drew inspiration from different films and books in its genre. As for Glass Sword, the second book in the supposed trilogy (there’s a fourth book so it’s a series, I guess?), it was a roller-coaster ride and ultimately, the ending was shocking and it left me speechless. King’s Cage was eagerly anticipated by me because I was dying to find out what happens next, especially after the shocking ending in Glass Sword. Hand on heart, I hate cliff-hangers because we have to wait an entire year to find out what happens. Here’s a “thank you”, Victoria Aveyard. I’ve been readying myself since last year.
If you’ve not read Red Queen and/or Glass Sword, I suggest skipping the following paragraph because it contains some spoilers.
King’s Cage, which pretty much explains what happens at the end of Glass Sword, shifts the focus on Mare, who’s paying the price as she is brutally in the crutches of Maven, the boy-king who might still be harbouring feelings for the lightning girl. (I was totally getting Shatter Me feels when I found out the premise of the story for King’s Cage) HAHA. That’s all I can say about King’s Cage because there’s a lot of political intrigue added to the story which makes it a hell of a book.
“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
Where do I begin to explain my thoughts on King’s Cage? Okay, here’s one: I liked that the book was told from more than one character’s perspective. In the previous books, they were told from Mare’s POV, but in King’s Cage, Newblood Cameron Cole and Mare’s long-time rival and magnetron, Evangeline Samos, have their own arcs in the book and some chapters were written from their perspectives. The introduction of multiple POVs was refreshing, especially since it gave the plot of the book and probably the upcoming books an entirely new direction, especially Evangeline’s.
I liked Maven’s characterisation and I was quite bummed when we got so little of him in Glass Sword. So you can imagine my excitement when Maven plays a bigger role in King’s Cage. I mean, he is the king after all. I was pleasantly surprised that Victoria Aveyard explored his backstory more in this book and we get to see how tormented his past was. Sorry, I am a sucker for tormented male characters, regardless of whether they are the hero or the villain!
“Now I’m in a king’s cage. But so is he. My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.”
I am also happy to report that there’s major character development in Mare! She was quite bitter about everything in Glass Sword, and I am so glad that she owned up to her shit and grew as a character. Someone give that girl a cookie, please!
Which brings me to the next matter at hand: Cal. Honestly, I began shipping Mare and Cal since Red Queen and in King’s Cage, I was happily commandeering the ship because they were totally swoony as a couple. Granted, he and Mare had their own eye-rolling inducing moments but I did like the dynamics of their relationship. Which begs the question: When do I get to go running in the rain with Cal?
For the characterisation, I was satisfied that every one of them had their own personal goals and struggles. For example, Cameron only agreed to join the Scarlet Guard to rescue her brother or Cal’s decision to help the Scarlet Guard take down Maven because of all the wrong he has committed but he has no intention of ruling Norta as the next king.
“I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I thought that was what Maven did to me. When he stood and left me kneeling. When he told me everything I ever thought him to be was a lie. But then, I believed I loved him.
I know now, I didn’t know what love was. Or what even the echo of heartbreak felt like.
To stand in front of a person who is your whole world and be told you are not enough. You are not the choice. You are a shadow to the person who is your sun.”
Victoria Aveyard writes with precision and it is evident that her experience in screenwriting really helped in her writing of battle scenes. I couldn’t get enough of all the political intrigue but I loved her writing. It is an undeniable fact that she knows how to capture her reader’s attention through the fast-paced action scenes.
Which brings me to the issue of the ending. I didn’t hate it but I though the book’s plot resolution was rather abrupt. That, and the fact that the book lacked a plot twist which I was expecting. I guess Victoria Aveyard wanted to write the ending differently because I did expect the ending from a mile but I was hoping for a less tragic one? It was blatantly hinted that the ending would be a shocker to the characters but not the readers, but I guess it’s a different sort compared to the shocking, twisty cliff-hangers for us readers. (Balls, have I intrigued you to read King’s Cage?)
“There are pieces of me, small pieces, still in love with a fiction.”
Overall, King’s Cage is a solid addition to the Red Queen series and it has totally whet my appetite for the next book. I am hoping for more action-packed scenes and swoony kisses in the rain. In King’s Cage, Mare proved herself to be resilient, independent and more matured and I look forward to reading more about her rise to power. And, Victoria Aveyard, please give me more Maven?