“When the lightning girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?”
What is this book about?
King’s Cage is the third book in Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series. Esmée reviewed the first one here. Spoiler alerts warning if you haven’t read Red Queen and Glass Sword yet! Mare is now King Maven’s prisoner, bound with Silent Stone and unable to use her lightning powers. Maven is more unhinged as ever and has developed a crazy obsession for Mare. Outside the Whitefire Palace where Mare is kept locked up, the Scarlet Guard seems to be as strong as ever, better organized and is finding allies. The bloody civil war between Red and Silver rages on.
Why is it boring?
First, let me just say this. I enjoyed the first two books a lot. The world set up by Aveyard is intriguing and so interesting to explore. A world divided by blood, Red or Silver, and humans possessing godlike powers made for an exciting dystopian story in Red Queen and Glass Sword. But, unfortunately, the first half of King’s Cage is literally boring. Mare is a prisoner in the palace, stuck in a cell and without her lightning, and being dragged around the Palace as a trophy by Maven. Not much really happens – at least nothing we actually see – except for political intrigue, but seeing it from Mare’s eyes, all we get are snippets here and there.
Yes, it is probably not easy to make imprisonment any more exciting or thrilling than it actually is, but it just drags on and on, and I seriously considered to stop reading about a third of the way in. I kept reading though, thinking that there must be some action – her escape – at some point, soon…
Luckily, Aveyard has a little mercy on us readers and introduces two additional viewpoints (Cameron, one of the newly recruited newbloods from Glass Sword, and Evangeline Samos, her court rival) in this book, probably because she realized it would be even more of a bore without them. The extra viewpoints give a little more insight into the political scheming between the splintering Silver factions, the Scarlet Guard, and the foreign countries of Lakelands, Piedmont and Montfort that are thrown into the mix as well by now, but my question: why only in Book 3? Basically, Mare suffers from “Katniss syndrome”, a quirky, symbolic heroine to the revolution, but not important enough or too much of a liability to be directly included in the planning, and including some other characters located far away in different locations solves that somewhat.
In the end, the book reads a bit as a rush job, and I feel as if the writing could have been a bit stronger and better with a bit more time and editing.
Who would you recommend it to?
Fans of dystopian YA fiction, and of course, if you read Red Queen and Glass Sword already. In the end, it’s an entertaining story.
Why should I read it if it’s boring?
Spoiler, but Mare is freed from her prison at some point, and thankfully, from that moment, the book picks up its action-packed pace again – one of the things I loved so much from the first two books. Victoria Aveyard is also a great writer when it comes to writing snappy and fun dialogue. In the end, I enjoyed reading the story, especially when there was a little more action again, and of course, as it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, I’ll still be wanting to read Book 4 next year!