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Monday, 12 June 2017
Review: King's Cage
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
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.
Considering I loved Red Queen and Glass Sword and gave both of them five stars, I'm completely devastated to be giving this three. I was debating between three and four but I felt like I was only giving it four because I felt bad, so I went with three. The ending of this book, pulled the rating up for me. But for the majority of the book I was bored and frustrated with the characters.
King's Cage picks up straight from the end of Glass Sword, I was back in the moment and I was so ready for Mare to be Mare and fight and struggle and try to escape every five minutes. I don't really know how to describe how Mare was in this book. She wasn't the Mare from Red Queen or Glass Sword, she's developed as a character, and at the end of King's Cage she was brilliant. You could see the character growth, and you could see it from when she joined up with the others. But when she was captured by Maven for most of the book, she just frustrated me. For the first part of the book, I could relate to her, but I was frustrated at her lack of action because basically nothing was going on. So while I understood her and how she was feeling, it was disappointing.
The other character that frustrated me was Cameron. Because Mare is captured in this book, we obviously get another POV to keep us up to date with what else is going on. Now....Evangeline's POV I understood and loved. It was one of my favourite parts of the book but more on that later. The other POV chosen by the author was Cameron. Which was the worst possible choice for me as a reader because I didn't like her much in the first book, and I still didn't like her much in this book and her POV also frustrated the hell out of me. She was also kind of similar to Mare so her constant ragging on Mare was a bit silly. I really feel like this book would have been better if we'd gotten Cal's POV, or Farley's rather than Cameron's. Cal's would have greatly improved this book for me I think, I'm desperate to get his POV as well as Maven's! I just found Cameron's POV a bit boring and dull.
I have to say, I really liked Maven in this book! I really wanted to like him, I was looking for an excuse to like him again. He wasn't present much in Glass Sword but this book makes up for that. We get a good amount of Maven, and now I have mixed feelings about him. On the one hand he's doing crappy things, and he's being crappy to Mare. On the other hand...we get so much insight in to him that I really felt for him more than once in this book, and I could understand why he acts the way he does. To be fair...he does do some good things in this book although for his own reasons and for who knows what reason that might/probably won't end well. But I'm really feeling for Maven.
Kilorn was basically non-existent as where the rest of Mare's family and Farley, we hardly saw any of them. Cal we saw a little bit, but now I have mixed feelings about him too. He didn't really do much seemingly for most of the book, and then he's all badass during the rescue...and then you find out what he did to make the rescue happen. And I started to kind of side-eye him at that point because I wasn't sure if he was being shady or not. And then the ending happened and I kinda hate him a little bit but I'm also kind of hoping he'll fix it but I'm not too convinced he will.
I have to mention Evangeline because I'm not going to lie....I'm really starting to like her in this book. Her verbal sparring with Mare managed to prod Mare in to being more like herself once or twice, perhaps without Evangeline Mare might have been a bit more worse off. I really, really loved getting some insight in to Evangeline and her character via her POV and her other behaviour in this book. I understand her so much better, and I'm totally on her side and rooting for her.
We get a couple of new characters this book, a relation of Cal's for example. But I'm more interested in the Lakelands Princess, Iris. I'm so intrigued by her and I really want to like her, and I was excited to get to know her...but after nothing happening Mare escapes just as Iris shows up so the opportunity was snatched from me. I'm not holding out much hope of getting to know Iris unless we get her POV or something. I was anticipating her being an important and interesting character, but by the end of the book she's already long forgotten about and pushed to the side. I think she's only there for plot reasons which disappointed me a bit.
The book is sort of fast paced, nothing really happens for most of the book but we go through a decent chunk of time. I feel like there where some things left hanging, and that might partially be to do with the POVs. During Cameron's POV we finally get to meet her brother and for the first time I didn't want her POV to end..but it did. Then I was waiting for her POV to come back to show the fall out. It did.....over 100 pages later. And things had been resolved by then. I felt like there was a little scene just missing there. There was more than one instance where something was left unresolved or wasn't resolved until a good chunk of time later.
The most difficult thing for me was the characters. I don't know whether I was in the wrong mood for the book, or I was feeling frustrated and fed up myself but I felt so fed up with Mare and Cameron for most of the book for the reasons stated above. I had mixed feelings for most of the characters, and some of the time I was reading about characters that I really didn't like or care about. The other thing that had me fed up, I'm not sure how to explain. I just felt like everyone was shady and not trustworthy and it started to grate a bit after a while of side eyeing characters, and reading about the other characters doubts about certain characters etc.
I was excited to get to see more of the kingdom and finally meet Cameron's brother, but we didn't really get to see much of her brother. While we did get to see more of the Kingdom, it wasn't as much as I'd hoped. We see more of the palace and the Guards new base. Then there's a couple of other locations but we don't get to spend much time there or see much of it. There are the usual shocking plot twists and those where what kept me reading during the first part of the book when everything felt a bit directionless and I was just waiting and waiting for something to happen. The twists at the end where also what pulled the book back for me, and pulled my interest back!
I have a slight issue with Mare's PTSD too, you'd think she'd have some mental damage from what happened with Samson...and she does eventually. But immediately after you don't see much evidence of it, she's been effected but it doesn't seem like much at the time. But when she's back with Cal and the others, the PTSD that she's shown no signs of suffering from while at the Palace suddenly come roaring to life as she interacts with Cal. Now, I don't know if it was written that way because it all came on when she was out of the situation she was in and 'safe', or what. But it niggled me a little, that it only popped up at certain moments.
Gaaahh this is so difficult to write, I'm just not sure what to make of this book. I don't know if it's me or the book! Mare just seemed to be lurking with Maven, chilling and not doing much. The characters oscillated between being likeable and unlikeable except for Maven. There's so much infighting and backstabbing it was mildly exhausting to read about, and I felt like it was a bit overdone. For most of the book I was so indifferent to the characters and what was happening and disappointed because of that, and nothing much was happening....
But then we have the second half we have a changed Mare, she's dealing with the consequences of her captivity (Even if the PTSD did seem to come on conveniently at points for her and Cal to be close or have a moment), and she's back to her fiery ways. Ready to fight. Ready to do what needs to be done. Which she wasn't like while she was with Maven. For the second half/quarter there's the usual electrifying action and cinematic fight scenes. There's an epic battle towards the end that reminded me a bit of the Battle for Helms Deep.
Then we have the final chapter. The chapter that broke my heart and choked me up and nearly had me crying. I knew it was coming, I knew because I'd been side eyeing Cal for a while, but I'd hoped and hoped that he would choose Mare. But he didn't. I have never been more disappointed in a character. I was happy he didn't know about the plans, but my heart completely broke for Mare at the very end. I really thought Cal wouldn't do it, but he did, and I could relate to Mare and how she felt in that moment so damn much.
Overall, I was really disappointed with this book, but thanks to the ending that saved it, I'm once again interested in the series. I'm interested to see what's going to happen next, how it's going to end. Will Cal fix what he broke? Can Maven be redeemed? Both are doubtful but still. I'm mildly worried we're going to get either Mare having a romance with Kilorn and reigniting the love triangle, or Mare and someone else, perhaps one of the new characters. Not really here for that but we'll see. I'm so intrigued to see what Evangeline is going to do now that I know how she thinks and feels about everything. I'm intrigued to see how Cal's actions will change Mare and how it will all play out. I'm excited to hopefully see more of Mare, Farley and Cameron bonding. Hopefully more Kilorn but hopefully not having a romance with Mare. The end of this book has made me excited for the next book. There's so much to be answered and to watch play out.
But for the first half, at least, of this book, I have to give this book my lowest rating of the series.