Review: King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Friday, April 07, 2017

Date started: March 26, 2017
Date finished: April 1, 2017
Book 26/52 in 2017.
My rating: ★★★

King's Cage is the third in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I've been following this series since the beginning, but it's never blown me away. This installment isn't any different – it doesn't stand out, and if you hadn't read the first or second book, you probably could read this one without feeling like you've missed much.

I enjoyed certain parts, and felt like other parts dragged on. I also was not sold on Cal and Mare's romance anymore, and I could care less about Maven. And for some confusing reason, the POV switches between Mare and Cameron. Do you remember who Cameron is? No? I didn't either.

For how long King's Cage was – and it was long, very long – it really didn't have much in it that stood out to me, other than Evangeline's side plot, which I thought Aveyard handled beautifully.

Here's the Goodreads synopsis...

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.

1. Evangeline turns out to be a really complex, interesting character.

I never really hated Evangeline in the first two books, but she was an obvious villain, with not much else to her than that. In the third installment, Evangeline is given purpose and something to drive her, and I love the character of Elane. I don't want to spoil anything, but Evangeline and Mare's interactions absolutely blew me away.

2. Mare transforms into a less whiny, more bearable, more real person. She needed it.

Honestly, I wanted to flip past all of Mare's chapters in the second book, but I was able to appreciate her narrative much more this go-around. Mare is suffering at the hands of Maven, and even when she is free, she struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder from his abuse and torture. She realizes how many people she hurt, but she's bigger than that, and she pushes forward more self-aware and aware of the world around her.

3. There are a few really interesting character additions this go around. 

I already mentioned Elane, and she isn't my favorite character addition, necessarily, but I love the way she changes everything about Evangeline and the way I viewed Evangeline as a character. The other characters we encounter who have the same power as Mare might be my favorite – finally, finally, the lightning girl isn't the only one with those kinds of powers. She needed a reminder that she is not special.

1. Mare and Cal's romance is like a campfire that's almost entirely burnt out. 

Aveyard is trying and trying to make it work, and it's like the characters are screaming back, "ENOUGH ALREADY, LADY! We have NOTHING in common!" But they fight through it and you almost feel something for them both in the end, but not quite. I could care less if they were together or apart. Mare was way more interesting with Maven – not necessarily romantically, but just as his biggest downfall.

2. This book is forgettable. 

I just felt like most of King's Cage kept me waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen... and then nothing happened. There were a few big plot moves, but in all, this felt like a book Aveyard had to write to meet her deadline and get something published to prep for the fourth book – more like a stepping stone, not a highly-awaited third book in a beloved series.

3. Wait, who's Anabel Lerolan and why is she suddenly the most important player in the game? 

I don't even want to get into it. Am I supposed to know who she is? I'd never heard of the lady before, and all of a sudden she was ruining Cal's and Evangeline's lives in one fell swoop? Alrighty, she can go.


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