Series: Red Queen (#3)
Release Date: 7 February, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins (HarperTeen Imprint)
Review Written: 10 July, 2017
Summary: 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.
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This series is one of my favorite in recent years, starting with the thrilling novel Red Queen and bringing us on the very whiplash journey of Mare Barrow, a newblood with lightning powers. King’s Cage brings us along with Mare as she’s put on display and thrust into the cruel world of Silvers again, this time stifled of her powers with Silent Stone manacles. Departing from the singular point of view of the previous two books, King’s Cage introduces us to Evangeline and Cameron’s thought processes alongside Mare giving the reader a little bit better understanding of things going on outside of Mare’s limited perception during the first half of the novel.
During the book, Cal seems to grow more reckless when it involves trying to rescue Mare, sending in Nanny to infiltrate Maven’s court. This plot ends in Nanny’s death she after being discovered for a fraud during the investigation of newbloods who were drawn by propaganda spread by Maven. At the same time, Mare attempts to free herself several times during her imprisonment, going as far as to use a chandelier to ‘electrocute’ two of her Arven guards to provide a distraction to escape. Obviously, the escape doesn’t really work, but she does manage to wedge a bit of suspicion among the high houses of Norta before being returned to her prison. Mare is taken along while Maven goes on his coronation tour which ends up leading to the end of the Lakeland War with Maven pledging his hand to the Princess of the Lakelands, Iris. Despite the end of the war, things are still filled with turmoil as the Scarlet Guard join up with the Montfort nation to bring their plans into the open.
The twist of Evangeline being an unlikely savior for Mare during the chaos following Iris and Maven’s wedding was a refreshing move, leaving readers to question the younger Samos child’s motives. These motives soon become clear with the introduction of Evangeline’s chapters, showing her with her paramount lover Elane who has married her older brother Ptolemus to keep them close. She’s also been crowned the Princess of the Rift, a kingdom that has risen with the Samos’s at the center and several of the rebelling houses pledging allegiance to the group. Unfortunately for Evangeline, her happiness is short-lived when Cal’s grandmother reveals her true motives to place her grandson back upon the Throne and to have Evangeline marry him to solidify the alliance between the Kingdom of the Rift and the Kingdom of Norta.
With all the plans in motion, the combined forces of the Scarlet Guard and Montfort join with the rebelling Silvers to take down Maven and Iris’s combined forces. Being successful, Mare is hopeful that everything will calm down and she’ll be able to live with Cal in peace. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way, leaving the reader to feel the ache along with Mare as Cal chooses to take the crown and the betrothal to Princess Evangeline. With a few more twists and turns, readers wait eagerly for the final installment of the Red Queen series, to find out the fates of those who have invested their lives in change.