Series: Red Queen #3
Published by HarperTEEN on 2017-02-07
Length: 508 pages
Reviewing Hardcover from My Book Shelf
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.
I’m honestly at a loss for words. It’s no secret that I loved the first two books in the Red Queen series. I loved them so much that the ending of Glass Sword had me ugly crying and screaming at my Kindle because it could NOT end like that. I couldn’t wait an entire year to read what would happen to Mare. But I did wait. I waited longer than a year, even though I preordered and received King’s Cage the day it came out. I was scared to start it. Scared of how I would find Mare, scared of what Maven was doing with the lightening girl, scared of the Scarlet Guard and their mysterious Command. Last week, while looking at my bookshelf, I thought to myself that it was time. Time I found out what happened to Mare and her friends. I regret that decision.
The Lightening Girl
At the end of Glass Sword, Mare had surrendered herself to Maven in exchange of him releasing and not killing her family and friends. We last saw her with a collar on her neck, bowing in Caesar’s square to the king, with a crowd of Silvers and Reds cheering. It was a devastating scene to end a book on and the book opens with the same scene. Seriously I got chills when I realized that Victoria Aveyard was starting her book with the scene she ended on. It set me on edge and pulled me right back into the suspense.
Mare however is not the broken girl she was in the previous book. She isn’t the girl that cowers to Maven and the lightening she was so scared of in book one, that she embraced during the second book, is taken from her by Arvens and silent stone. She is laid bare, vulnerable, and it’s like keeping a caged tiger. Mare is constantly listening to her captors, gleaning any information she feels vital to the cause. She memorizes her prison, the castle she once was forced to call home, so that if an opportunity to escape presents itself she will be ready. The depression she suffered heals while in captivity and is replaced with a steady resolve to get home to her family. Mare is a formidable enemy, one Maven severely underestimates.
Politics, Kings, and Rebels
While the first two books felt like a high fantasy with a dash of dystopian, King’s Cage is all dystopian with a dash of fantasy. Politics take center stage in this book as Mare is in Whitefire for nearly 3/4 of the book. Silvers against Reds. Silvers think themselves gods and the Reds are the rats at their feet. They do not see the value in Red lives, other than to wait on Silvers and die at the front lines. It is truly an interesting read as Maven is a master of words. He twists and lies and manipulates the people into loving him, accepting him as their king.
Maven is an enigma to me. With Elara gone, I think Mare hoped the glimpses of the boy she loved would return. Instead he is like a ghost. There are holes in his mind where Elara lived. Love he remembers feeling for his father and brother stripped away by his mother, leaving hatred in its place. I feel sorry for him despite the atrocities he committed. He was made a monster. Who would he have been without Elara? It definitely leaves Mare confused and a little vulnerable.
Then there is the Scarlet Guard and their new alliance with Montfort. For the first time in this series, we get POV from another character, Cameron the new blood with silencing abilities and Evangeline the magnetron who won Queenstrial. It was interesting to read their perspectives. Cameron has no love for the Scarlet Guard, yet she agrees with their mission. She wants a world where her family can live free, without fear. She wants this but she’s afraid of trading one dictator and ruling class with another (the new bloods). Like Mare, she’s afraid of becoming a monster.
And Cal, my favorite prince. I felt like Cal was a completely different person than he was in the last two books. Maybe I took too long to read this one because I felt like I no longer know him. He is a steady presence for Mare. He is a constant. And despite the declarations of love, I had a hard time believing it. Maybe because of the awful fight they had just before she was captured? It isn’t even addressed here. I’m just confused and a little heart-broken.
Rise Red as the Dawn
Overall King’s Cage was a tough one for me. I fell in love with this high fantasy, dystopia. And yet in this book there is a map included. A map that I didn’t look at until one of the characters mentioned he is from the Floridian Islands. That sounds familiar right?! Well it should. I looked at the map….Mare’s world is our world. Mindblown? because I was! I’m still reeling. I love a good dystopian and this one was me intrigued. What happened to our world that the bloodlines were separated and this new Silver one created? How did we devolve into a society of dictators and monarchy? I’m hoping the world continues to be built upon in the next book especially with Julian’s promise to get to the truth.
This book was different than the first two, but not necessarily in a bad way, just not what I expected. I’m invested in Mare’s story and not afraid to admit that this war and rebellion has me scared for my favorite characters. My favorite character already died in Glass Sword and his absence is a heavy presence in this one. Aveyard keeps her characters real in this way. However the chemistry that was there between Cal and Mare, I couldn’t even feel a spark of it in this one. Maven’s insanity is exaggerated and Evangeline isn’t what I expected either. The story itself dragged on and I had to force myself at the midway mark to stick with it. While I enjoyed the different perspectives, I didn’t enjoy the characters chosen for them. It felt awkward and forced.
Overall though I still liked the book and plan to continue the series. I HAVE to know what happens to Mare and her band of new bloods. If you’ve read this series thus far, I highly recommend you read this book. There are so many answers but those just raise more questions.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: