My rating in stars: 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked it
Warning: synopsis and review contain spoilers for Red Queen and Glass Sword. Spoiler-free for King’s Cage.
What it’s about:
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.
My thoughts (Spoiler-free):
“He is a monster still, a monster always. And yet I can’t stop myself from listening. Because I could be a monster too. If given the wrong chance. If someone broke me, like he is broken.
Monsters are made. So was Maven. Who knows who he was supposed to be.”
And the Red Queen series is back on track! After a somewhat disappointing second installment, King’s Cage definitely reminded me why I love this series. Sure, it has its’ flaws but it is just such an intriguing, epic series that will sweep you into its’ pages before you know it. My heart is aching and I need book four now, though I have a sneaking suspicion that it’ll mess me up even more than King’s Cage did. But first things first, let’s review the rollercoaster ride that was King’s Cage! Here’s what I loved most about it.
More Maven! The malicious but broken boy king’s presence was sorely missed in book two and book three more than makes up for this. We follow Mare as his prisoner and in doing so, we get to know him just a bit better. As Mare begins to understand Maven, so does the reader. The question is raised multiple times how much of Maven is evil is because of his mothers’ whispers and how much of it is actually Maven. And I highly appreciated this. No matter how much I still may be rooting for him myself, there are no easy excuses, no sudden redemption or no love that conquers all. On the contrary, the truth of Maven is complex and dark and not easily fixed.
More POV’s! Of course we still have Mare as the main POV, but King’s Cage balances it perfectly with the added POV of Cameron and Evangeline. And I definitely considered this a plus. First of all, because it gives us some other insights into the character of Mare. Though Cameron’s POV was dry and pretty hard to swallow, her distaste for Mare’s actions in Glass Sword is valid and brings another sorely needed perspective in the mix. Not only where Mare is concerned, but also for Cal. I adore the fiery prince, but he is severely flawed and if not for Cameron’s observations, I may have been just a blind to his flaws as Mare can be. And Evangeline… Well, I never would have guessed it, but I was actually looking forward to her POV. She may have become my new favorite character. Though there is again no easy redemption or sudden personality changes for her, she does become so much more understandable and even lovable.
More Cal! I said it before, but I’ll say it again. I love the burning prince. I really do. He’s so brave and loyal and strong and sweet, BUT HE CAN ALSO BE SO STUPID! Which also makes him a realistic and tragic character and hey, guess I’m really liking the tragic characters in this series. I know, I question my sanity myself. Which brings me to my next point…
More heartbreak! Why am I adding this as a positive point? I don’t even know myself, but I just know that even though certain directions of the story broke my heart into a thousand pieces, I also really appreciate that there are no easy fixes. These characters are not in easy situations. Though I wish for a happy ending, I also don’t want it to be unbelievably easy, if that makes any sense? And these characters DO NOT HAVE IT EASY.
More! More! More! Though most of my love can be summed up by the points above, there were so many more seemingly little things that all worked together to make King’s Cage one of my favorites in the series so far. The pacing worked perfectly for me and I loved how the slow, psychological imprisonment of Mare contrasted with the fast, adrenaline-filled and just all-out fantastical action and battles. The writing was beautiful and provided me with many quotes to remember. We meet new intriguing characters and learn more about older characters. The worldbuilding opened up and the politics came into play so much more. We get an actual f/f romance that is both lovely and tragic as everything is in this book. Mare becomes more bearable again.
I’ll be counting down the days until I can get the fourth and final installment of this series in my hands. But I’ll also be arming myself, because I don’t know if there is any way I’ll be getting out of that book with all the pieces of my heart still attached. I definitely recommend this book if you love this series. And if you were a bit disappointed with Glass Sword, please still give King’s Cage a chance because I believe it is definitely the strongest installment in the series so far.
“I know now, I didn’t know what love was. Or what even the echo of heartbreak felt like.
To stand in front of a person who is your whole world and be told you are not enough. You are not the choice. You are a shadow to the person who is your sun.”
“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
“There are pieces of me, small pieces, still in love with a fiction. A ghost living inside a living boy I cannot begin to fathom. The ghost who sat by my bed while I dreamed in pain. The ghost who kept Samson from my mind as long as he could, I know, delaying an inevitable torture.
The ghost who loves me, in what poisoned way he can.
And I feel that poison working in me.”
“Through it all, I stare at the boy on the throne. He maintains his mask. Jaw clenched, lips pressed into a thin, unforgiving line. Still fingers, straight back. But his gaze wavers. Something in his eyes has gone far away. And at his collar, the slightest gray flush rises, painting his neck and the tips of his ears.
For a second, it makes me happy. Then I remember―monsters are most dangerous when they’re afraid.”
“It would be easy to stay in the dark, to drown. Slowly, I lower my hands and force myself to look at the sunlight.”