Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Published by: Orion
Publication date: 9th February 2017
Pages: 507, paperback
Genre: young adult, fantasy, romance
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 read Red Queen in February during my Wifi-less Readathon, and fell completely in love with it. As soon as I could, I read Glass Sword and then went out of my way to find the third book, King’s Cage. I have read this series very quickly, in quite a short space of time, and until I read the third book, I’d assumed it was a trilogy, and so I’d actually thought it was the final one in the series! Note, there will be some Red Queen spoilers in this review, so make sure you have read the first book if you haven’t already!
The entire series has one of the most engaging plots I have read in a fantasy story. I love the entire concept, and the depth of it – there’s magic, war, romance, friendship. The whole deal. The story is also very action-packed, even more so than the previous two books. Although I did begin to grow tired of it at times, as I usually do in books with lots of action, there was so much happening in this book, and so many layers to it, that it was impossible to be bored at any point.
The villain dynamic was really interesting. All villains are portrayed as deeply flawed human beings, but this is one of the very few books I’ve read where the villain was vulnerable and capable of very raw emotion. Through Mare’s eyes, we could see the utterly despicable sides of Maven, and the sides which evoked empathy in the reader and in Mare. Additionally, Mare herself was an amazing protagonist. As I was reading the series, I got the sense that she was rather difficult to like, as shown by many of the other characters. But she was incredibly strong-willed, and very real, and personally I really liked her, and I’ve been mildly fascinated by her throughout the three books.
I also enjoyed the duo POV with Mare and Cameron. As well as it, obviously, being great for telling the story as the two characters are split up, it also offers two entirely different perspectives, Mare and Cameron both being completely different. The differentiation between them was very clear, and I really loved seeing the story unfold from the alternating point of views.
The only criticism I had of Red Queen was that there was a lack of female friendships; Mare and Cal, Mare and Maven, Mare and Kilorn, Mare and Lucas – the list of strong, unique friendships Mare formed with men were endless, yet it was often the case of girl-against-girl. However, in this book I was really pleased to see friendships forming with Cameron and Farely, and there was even a bit of unity with Evangeline. The dynamic between all of the characters was diverse and amazing, and I was really glad to see it span across and within genders.
Overall, this book has outstanding characters, a detailed storyline and is filled with anything you could want in a fantasy series. I have yet to read Cruel Crown, a novella for this series, so I still have that to look forward to in the near future, and apart from that I will be waiting in anticipation until 2018 to read the fourth book!