Format: Hardcover, 528 pages
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
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.
The King's Cage is the third installment in author Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series. The King's Cage picks up right where Glass Sword left off. Mare Barrow has been branded and collared by Maven Calore. She is a pretty prop that he intends to use to prove that he is a worthy replacement for his father. Mare is kept silenced and suppressed for a large part of this book. While in the cage of Maven's choosing, Mare is forced into being a puppet to Maven's whim's. She dressed up prettily, and forced into doing things that are supposed to make The Scarlet Guard look like terrorists instead of revolutionaries.
If you are curious as to what the point of having so much of Maven be revealed, well I will say that it was apparent that we are supposed to have feelings for the young King who was guided by his ruthless mother, and given not a whole lot of choices in the matter. One could say that Maven got his darkness from his mother, and that is all I am going to say on that topic. As it is, there are a whole lot of political movements and shenanigans that take place in this book. There is some large parts of the story where Mare finds herself a prop everywhere Mare and his entourage goes, including to the war front where Mare's only family has suffered greatly.
I am, I believe, one of the few people who has not compared this series to The Grisha trilogy or its evil mastermind The Darkling who was obsessed with the series heroine Alina. Maven's back story, while sad, is also not an excuse for his behavior, especially in the way he keeps Mare around for his amusement. It is not an excuse to embrace the darkness because of who your mother was, or what her powers did to you. Maven is a power obsessed villain who has no redeeming values, or that's the way I think of him. To force a failed and undesirable relationship between Maven and Mare over one forgotten moment in time that was brought to a screeching end by betrayal, is nothing that appeals to me as a reader.
For me, The King's Cage is a let down, for the most part. I say for the most part because the battles for Corvium against Maven's silvers and Mare's The Scarlet Guard and New Bloods was perhaps the best part of the series. Mare, as a character, hasn't shown any willingness to actually grow. She may have a badass ability, but her mistakes are costly and deadly. At times, she suffers from what I like to call the the Mushroom syndrome. A syndrome where you're fed a bunch bullshit and kept in the dark which makes you easy pickings for villains. Mare isn't a Mary Sue character, however. She uses everything in her arsenal when it comes to using Maven's feelings for him to force a choice. She wants him to feel something, and if that means making him feel, well then she's done her job, now it is time to bring the whole thing down in a spectacular finish.
Everyone in this series has kept secrets from Mare. Everyone knows more about what is going on than Mare. Hell, even Cameron Cole knew more about what was happening than Mare did, which is why I was comfortable with a part of this story being told thru her narrative. Cameron Cole never backs down to anyone. She hates Cal with a passion. She wants to get her brother back even if it means she does so alone. She isn't one of The Scarlet Guard, but she fights with them because others, like Mare, have given up everything in order for others to survive. Evangeline Samos is the other character who most appeals to me in this story. Evangeline has been a character who is obviously powerful, obviously goal orientated, and obviously just as much of a pawn in a game of political machinations as Mare herself. But, Evangeline doesn't sit back and let things come to her. She works out strategy, protects those she loves, and ends up just as screwed as Mare.
I do appreciate that the author & publisher attached a map of what is Norta, Piedmont, Lakeland, Tiraxes, and Montfort. Whenever the author mentions a certain character traveling to a certain city, I know that they mean Northeast US States, or Southeastern States, or even Western US States. I do know that much of this series takes place in what is known today's New York, with places like Syracuse and Buffalo having been changed to different names. I am not ready to get on any side of the romance choices. Mare has choices, yes, but as far as I can see, her choice lies in only one direction. A boy who she knows better than anyone else. A boy who has been pushed to the side, and given almost no storyline whatsoever. Whether or not the author choose that path, which would be amazing, is up to her.