King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

I was beyond surprised to find out that this book was not the last in the series. Most YA fantasy novels seem to run their course through a trilogy, but thankfully Aveyard was brave enough to take it further. Now I will admit that during the first half of this story, I just wanted it to end; things felt far too drawn out and I was just getting bored with how repetitive it was. This is primarily due to Mare’s capture, but I’ll get into that a bit later. By the second half, basically from Mare’s escape onward, I was excited again by the story. So in the end I was glad that there would be a fourth book, mainly because I want to see the silvers tear each other apart.

First, I must address the brilliance of Aveyard’s writing. It takes a great deal of talent for an author to hook their reader in with their opening line. Needless to say, I was hooked. 

“I rise to my feet when he let’s me.”

UGHH PERFECTION. I may be over reacting, but I can’t help it; I’ve got to give credit where it’s due. The line seems so simple, but it’s meaning and the context it’s used in after the cliffhanger in Glass Sword, I can’t help but smile! And some of Aveyard’s other one liners were real winners for me to. But this openong line was thr jackpot; I was excited to read this book right away!

But as I mentioned, that excitement began to fade. BUT ONLY A LITTLE BIT! Don’t get me wrong, I completely adored this novel. The only real complaint I have is the fact that the whole imprisonment scenario seemed to run on for far to long. I loved watching Maven’s obsession for Mare grow to sickening degrees, and it was interesting to watch his plans for power formulate. I was just not a fan of the fact that Mare became weak and useless for more than half the book. The general idea of having her as a prisoner is brilliant because it shows the reader that heroes are not invincible; that they can break. I just wish Cal and the Scarlet Guard saved her sooner. I prefer to see her kicking ass with her lightning, not crying and cowering away. I guess that’s just the action lover in me; I need to be entertained by a good fight!

Maven, the boy king, throwing a tantrum after his brother stole is toy. I think this sums up the idea behind Glass Sword quite nicely, which leads us into the brilliance of King’s Cage; now that he finally has it back, he wants to show it off. Mare has been nothing but a prize to be won by these two brothers for the last three novels, so I’m really excited to find find out what happens in the fourth book since she is no longer beside either of them. How far will they both go to get Mare back? Will they kill each other over her or the crown? It’s all just so exciting! Don’t you think?!

Maven has always been a favourite character of mine; I have a weakness for brilliantly written villains. Again, Aveyard proves to be a brilliant writer because she can make the reader pity her antagonists. When Maven explains how his mother wormed hee way into his brain to change and erase things, leaving him completely damaged before she died, your heart bleeds a little for him. He wasn’t born this way, he was made to be evil. And it’s sad knowing that his idea of love is not love at all (as Mare put it, love for Cal is hatred for him, and live for Mare is his obsession for her). I also just like the way he carries himself between public and private life. Everything for the public is methodical, performed for an image. And his private life is painful and twisted after what his mother did, leaving him erratic and emotional; not in control, especially where Mare is concerned. As much as Maven needs to die for this series to be complete, a part of me wants him to live.

Another interesting thing about this book is that for the first time, it is not entirely told through Mare’s perspective. At At first I was worried about bringing in a new voice, but I quickly got used to it because it gave us some insight on what was happening with the Scarlet Guard while Mare was locked away. Also, it just meant I had a brief break from Mare altogether during her weak phase. At first I was confused by Aveyard’s choice to pick Cameron, but then I began to see how this gave us a look into the world of those who didn’t like or follow Mare blindly. Cameron calls Mare a hypocrite, basically calling our heroine out on the bullshit that the reader knows to be true. It’s like Cameron is the voice of the reader, once again proving that Mare isn’t perfect just as her caged existence did. Cameron even provides examples of Mare’s shit, like how she promised them all protection but instead fed the reds to the silvers in the final battle of Glass Sword. Cameron calls it like it is, and she even adds humour to her insults!

“I already had to deal with the whining of a walking lightning rod. I’m not going to tolerate the attitude of a moped matchstick prince.”
That had me laughing for a while! Haha

But as much as I liked Cameron’s perspective, I still couldn’t help but wonder why Aveyard didn’t choose a character with a larger role in the series. Cameron only showed up in book two. Why wasn’t it Farley’s perspective? Or perhaps Cal? I’m just curious how these chapters would change if someone else was telling them.

As per usual, I did get bored with all the descriptions of the different places Maven went on his tour. It reminded me of the mind-numbing writing of George RR Martin’s five page description of a tree (I’m exaggerating here, but you get the idea). I know there was a lot of scene description in the second book as well while the Scarlet Guard moved through the lands, but all the fighting at least distracted me from it. There was no fighting on Maven’s tour, or at least none in real time (it all happened off stage, so to speak; just before they got there). If there was more action, I might have enjoyed the tour chapters more.

Even the general war effort began to get confusing at times because there are just so many battles happening at once!

War with Lakeland, using red soldiers, alliance with Lakeland king to get rid of Scarlett guard which consists of new bloods,  but Maven building a new blood army of his own while silvers houses join the rebels… and so on.

With all this, it’s hard to keep up with who is in what side! I figured it all out in the end, but the effort to do so was simply exhausting.
There’s so much more I can say about about this book, but I’ll finish with the following:

Evangeline. What a BEAST. 

I am so happy that we got to read a couple of chapters from her perspective, but I’m also mad because now I just want an entire novel told by her! Her past and her purpose just became so much more interesting. Again, she is a villain you begin to pity! Her love for Tolly and Elane,  her hatred for her parents and upbringing, her motives behind everything she does (especially with Mare and the road to being queen)… it’s all just fascinating! I want Aveyard to rewrite this entire story from her perspective. Twilight can do it for Edward (gag), then this series can do it for Evangeline (obviously it would be 200x better than anything Meyer writes, but that’s not a difficult task to start with). Maybe there will be a novella for Evangeline in the future… a girl can hope! 

Well Book Babies, I truly hope you enjoy this novel! I hate that I have to wait a year for the next in the series, but I’m sure it will be worth it!

Happy reading!

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