King's Cage Review
by Victoria Aveyard
Published in 2017
Once again, King’s Cage begins right where Glass Sword left off. Don’t you just love when that happens? After finally killing Queen Elara, w resulted in Shade’s death, Mare is then captured by Maven and held as prisoner. Considering the last time these two got together, he tortured her and branded a “M” on her collarbone, I can only imagine what atrocities he has come up with this time around.
The book begins with Mare as Maven’s prisoner where she is held in a Silent Stone cell. Evangeline is engaged to Maven and stays at the palace during this time as they spread propaganda about the Scarlet Guard throughout the kingdom. Evangeline requests Maven to start interrogating Mare in order to draw out information regarding the Scarlet Guard. Maven begins to spread a tale about how Mare chose to escape the Scarlet Guard and seek out Maven and that all newbloods should do the same. While at court, Mare discovers that Jon is there and working with Maven. Mare also begins to see the cracks in Maven as she learns Queen Elara spent years using mind control to condition him to be her perfect weapon. Even now while dead, Maven has a hard time distinguishing between what are his motivations and what are things instilled in him through his mother. Newbloods begin arriving, drawn by the false pretense that this is a “safe zone” for them..
There is an assassination attempt on Maven by one of his own court who believe that Cal is the true heir to the throne. Though wounded, Maven (unfortunately) lives… all those powers and no one knows how to aim apparently. This scares Maven who begins to spend more time alone, not trusting the company of others besides Mare, who he still has feelings for. Maven takes Evangeline and Mare on a coronation tour, when he reveals the true reason behind the wars all this time was an attempt from the Silver Kingdoms to control the Red population.
Cal, Cameron, and Farley attack Corvium, a military city where many Reds, including Cameron’s brother, are being held as prisoners. After killing and wounding many Silvers, much to Cal’s dismay, the Reds are terrified of the Scarlet Guard due to all the propaganda they had been fed. When Maven, Mare, and Evangeline arrive at Rocasta, a military city, it is filled with wounded Silvers who came from Corvium. Enraged, Maven goes to the Lakelands in order to strike a truce with that kingdom for them to work together and eradicate the Scarlet Guard. This results in him marrying Princess Iris from the Lakelands instead of marrying Evangeline. Evangeline is thrilled since her true love was never Maven, but her life long friend Elane. Her father decides their family will start their own monarchy instead of being under Maven’s. Even with this truce, the Scarlet Guard attack and manage to rescue Mare and return her to her family where she learns that Farley recently gave birth to Shade’s baby.
Mare learns there are other newbloods that share the same gift of electrokinetic powers and they begin training her on how to control and better utilize this power. Cal’s grandmother decides to join with House Samos and declare that if Evangeline and Cal were to get married, it would unite their two houses to be the true heirs of the Kingdom. This enrages Evangeline who thought she was finally free to be with Elane. Mare and Cal separate as Cal reveals to Mare that he was able to rescue her because of this agreement and that his true desire is to return to being king, while Mare believes that they should have a democracy where Reds and Silvers are equal.
Final Rating: 7/10
I thought the first two books in the Red Queen series were incredible with very few flaws. This one was just a little disappointing in the first half of the book. I was so excited to see how Mare would escape or be rescued from Maven’s clutches… and it takes literally more than half the book till this happens. This results in the first half of the book with Maven torturing her, Mare sulking in her cell, and reading books left behind by Julian. While I am not saying this is completely boring, I just felt like it dragged on for way too long. This whole book often felt like there was a lot of fluff put in just to make it seem like it was a big, fat book full of goodies. What good is a 400 page book if half of it is just the same crap?
Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed King's Cage. Farley got to have a baby which made it feel like Shade continues to live on. We get to see an insight as to why Maven is so crazy and how it has to do with his mother damaging him as a child through her mind control. We also get to see how Maven’s own kingdom is becoming undone by his own doing instead of that through the Scarlet Guard. He sometimes reminds me of the “Mad King” from Game of Thrones where all he wants to do is torture and kill, even if his own people don’t agree. It seems Maven has a whole rebellion going on right underneath his nose. He has made an enemy now not only of the Scarlet Guard, but Silvers who stand behind House Samos and Cal, while gaining an ally in the Lakelands Kingdom.
I also enjoyed Cameron’s proactive role in the book and how driven she is to rescue her brother, no matter the stakes. Through this, there are times where she seems like the most powerful newblood, able to silence and kill several Silvers at once who pose a threat. I also really enjoyed the scenes when they attacked and took over Corvium because I felt it was just jam-packed with good fights, battle strategies, as well as internal battles between right and wrong. I would have preferred more of the battle of Corvium and less of Mare reading history books in her cell. Even though the history is an eye opener to her as to the separation between Reds and Silvers, I don’t think it needs to be perfectly explained like this because as the reader, it is clear that this has always been a way for Silvers to control the Reds population and keep them as inferior. Overall, I recommend this book to continue Mare’s story and see the incredible way they strategize at Corvium.