You know, I really want to like this series more than I…don’t. It really has everything I love in a fantasy novel, and the concept of book is fantastic. But I’ve struggled with this series since book 1 (re-read Red Queen and gave it a higher rating than my previous one) and each book just feels average to me, though there are definitely parts I liked.
Hopefully this doesn’t sound like me just complaining.
This review may contain spoilers for the previous books.
Title: King’s Cage (Red Queen #3)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Length: 507 pages (hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”
I liked this plot well enough, although it got boring and I find myself struggling to care. The whole idea of Maven keeping Mare as a bit of a pet because he supposedly loves her was a hard pill to swallow. However, because of that situation, we learned a lot of world-building information. I did enjoy the parts with Mare and her family and how, even for a little bit, things seemed normal. Mare’s discovery of more New Bloods and how exactly they are treated in other countries was revealing, and really makes you wonder how it’s going to play out for Norta. Unfortunately, I’m still not convinced of Cal and Mare’s romance. To be honest I don’t care for Cal or Maven as love interests at all. I never felt connected with them. The introduction of the Lakelander country and how they fit into Maven’s plan is just…weird. There’s also a bit of a religious aspect brought into the story from the Lakelander princess, Iris. I can’t even remember why Norta and other countries are using Reds as their soldiers. To fight a war in hopes of…what exactly? Deep struggles here for me.
The introduction of the Kingdom of the Rift with Evangeline’s family and all that entails… I just…
I had read somewhere that there was a big plot twist akin to what Maven did in the previous book, Glass Sword. I would say it’s not as shocking as that, but it definitely does feel like a punch in the gut.
Another struggle here: liking the characters. I do think Mare is a realistic character, and she goes through a lot mentally and emotionally, so it’s really nice to see the normalcy she has when she is with her family. Their reunion was really bittersweet. It really seemed like Gisa was coming to her own, too. I like the tentative friendship Mare and Farley, which I really think is shaped by their connection with Mare’s brother, Shade, and the evidence of their relationship.
I listened to the audiobook and was interested in Cameron and even Evangeline’s narration. I definitely wasn’t expecting the latter. I actually like Cameron well enough, but am not sure how to feel about Evangeline. We see that she’s being pulled in multiple directions but her heart is very settled on simply living with Elaine because it’s what makes her happy. Though I will say Evangeline is super cut-throat and maybe I might like her? I don’t quite know yet. I hate that she’s a puppet, and I actually want her to find some happiness if it means she’ll just leave well-enough alone.
In terms of Aveyard’s writing style, I really don’t have anything bad to say. She writes well, and she tells a good story. It’s engrossing, and my low rating of the book has nothing to do with her writing, more of my lack of connection. I’m intrigued to see what else she will write, as there’s some rumors that now that Broken Throne will release next week, she has a YA fantasy in the works. There hasn’t been an official announcement yet though.
Check out these other reviews:
- Rubab from REading with Rubab posted a spoiler-free review.
- Tiffany over at Bookish Tiffany gave this book 3 stars.
- Erin at Reading Anonymous rated this book a full 5 stars!