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Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Review: King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard


Book: King’s Cage, Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date February 7th, 2017

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.

This book is called King’s Cage. And while it definitely lives up to its title, I am still mad that we never got Maven’s point of view. I need to see the inside of that boy’s head! Like, properly. There is so much to be said and while I understand him a lot more after this book, there is still so much I don’t know and need to know.

I wasn’t anticipating King’s Cage as much as Glass Sword. I was looking forward to it, sure, and was planning on reading it, but I knew not to expect a masterpiece like I still consider Red Queen to be. And I was completely right, and I think that’s what made me enjoy this book so much more than Glass Sword. The lack of expectation.

At the end of GS Mare was captured by Maven to save the Scarlet Guard so when this book starts we see her, literally, in a king’s cage. And we spend the first 300 pages delving deep into Mare’s imprisonment and her unorthodox yet completely compelling relationship with young King Maven and his obsession with her. We saw so little of Maven in GS and it was great to see so much of him here. Officially I’m Team Cal but there’s something about Maven that is so great to read about.

Compared to GS, the first half of this book has very little action.  It’s a lot of waiting around, seeing Mare’s life as a prisoner and seeing how it’s mentally scarring her. She was already so fragile, and now we see her lose complete trust in anybody and treat everything anybody does or says in suspicion. It completely broke my heart. However, all this waiting around meant that there was more room and time for character development for both Mare and Maven, who are at the heart of this book.

Mare is finally discovering her biggest flaw from GS when she refused to let anybody in, now that she’s all alone except for an obsessed king. She finally overcomes that and realises she needs her family and friends, and she needs to talk about her feelings to truly learn to heal. I hated her character in GS so this development was such a big win for me.

We see Elara’s biggest effect on Maven and how it made him the way it is. Is it reparable? Will we see the boy that we first met in RQ, when we thought that he and Mare actually had a chance to end up together? We’ll have to wait and see. There are so many undiscovered powers in the newbloods, anything is possible. Seeing him acting as a king first hand and the precarious hold he has on his nation was great to read about, and was one of my favourite things about this book. His obsession with Mare and how he can’t seem to let go of her, and we’re not sure he would even if he could. It really begs the truest question of this series: Is Maven the true villain?

However, it wasn’t all good. One of my biggest problems in this book is the fact that we don’t see Maven’s POV at all. You see immediately that there will be multiple points of view as Mare’s name is at the top of the first chapter, but it’s still 90% Mare’s voice. We get two other characters as well, but they’re in it very minimal compared to Mare. I guess that’s because it’s still Mare’s story, but if you’re going to have multiple points of view, at least even them out. Or give us Maven’s voice, considering the book’s named after him!

Besides that, I would still rate this book better than Glass Sword. Even though I rated that 4 stars too, this book was still a more enjoyable read. The second half gets a lot more action packed with more development and acceptance from Mare. I wouldn’t be surprised if, despite all the Team Cal’s and Team Maven’s, this book ends on Team Mare. As long as it suits the direction of the series, I’ll be fine with that. Don’t force romance and couples unless it’s called for.

If you’ve been reading Red Queen and need want to continue on with the series, pick this one up. We also still get plenty of page time with Farley and her badassery and Cameron’s acceptance of who she is. No clear idea of where the final book is going to take us, but I'm still excited to continue on this journey.

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