Book Review: KING’S CAGE by Victoria Aveyard

Section of cover: crown of bones dripping red and silver blood above the title KING'S CAGE

Genre: Fantasy (Dystopia)
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Series: Yes - book three

*SPOILER ALERT: contains SPOILERS for RED QUEEN and GLASS SWORD*

Synopsis:

King's cageMare 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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Thoughts:

I should probably preface this with I loved the book and raced through it. I enjoyed it more than GLASS SWORD, and this review is mainly nitpicks (because I feel like my praise would be a rehash of things I’ve said before).

The pacing increases throughout the book. Mare’s chapters have a slightly lethargic feel initially, which matches her captivity well. There are bursts of activity as stuff happens, and then it falls back into the stifled feel that really described how she was feeling. There are a lot more schemes (yay!) and manoeuvrings by the different factions, which I am always here for.

With Mare locked up, somehow we needed to know what else is going on in the world – particularly with the Scarlet Guard and Cal et al. Enter Cameron. She’s our lens through which to see what’s happening. And she doesn’t really do anything. (OK, caveat, she does do a fair bit at the first Corvium segment). She drifts around the base, observing what everyone else is doing (or not) for Mare.

Once Mare returns, she rather drops out, purpose served. Most of her chapters were sitting (or standing) around talking, and she thinks about not liking her abilities. It was just a tad too passive for my liking. I suppose her page-time is limited, but it would have been nice to see her more involved in the action – to have an arc that really went somewhere over the book. To feel important.

The second new POV is Evangeline’s, and I liked hers much more. It’s nice to see the Silver side of the world, what it’s like to grow up with the privilege and superiority world view, but also the chains of that life. She comes in quite late in the book, which is normally a no-no for me (why wait so long?), but it would have spoilt the event when we start getting her POV. We would be anticipating that moment, rather than it coming as a bit of a shock.

Remember in GLASS SWORD, after Shade dies, there’s the line about Mare not remembering what happens next, and then it turns out that she killed Elara – a massive key event that shakes the story and yet is told in one line? Yeah. It happens again. It’s not quite so earth shaking, but it’s the catalyst for one of the new POVs’ actions in WAR STORM. It’s more than a little frustrating not to see these major events.

There are several major time jumps dealt with in only a few sentences. Like ‘two months pass’. I found it a little unsettling, wondering how nothing, nothing, could have happened in that time frame. The first one is more understandable, and the way it’s written (the most amount of text) helps reflect Mare’s mind. The second, however, is the longest and happens right after a major event. I’d have thought there’d be some reaction, but nope. Time warp and move on. This probably helps keep the word count down, but did nothing happen?

The ending is very YES! We get to see new powers, and old ones, used to their full extent, and the emotional bang at the end will hit anyone invested in a certain ship hard.


Read my reviews of other books by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (this series):

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