There are going to be (at least) four books in this series? How is that possible? Where else can this story possibly go? I’m intrigued, I’m excited and I’m so ready to share my thoughts on King’s Cage with you all! I’d like to say this is going to be spoiler free, and I’ll try not to put in any major spoilers for this book, but I don’t think it’s possible to get through this without a couple of spoilers from the first two? If you are interested, you can read my reviews for Red Queen and for Glass Sword first and then see how my opinions have changed!
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.
I can still completely see why these books aren’t the cup of tea of some people. The third installment is still chock full of a lot of tropes of YA novels. In fact, the progression of ‘poor girl from the sticks’ to ‘rebellion’ to ‘imprisoned’ is as old as the hills where young adult series are concerned. But still, I enjoy these books so much that I don’t mind the tropes and I can see where the clichés are being used for a purpose rather than just to sell books. It may not be the most novel (no pun intended) story idea but it works and it’s written well so I don’t mind at all.
I thought the introduction of multiple character viewpoints was interesting, as well as being necessary for the progression of the plot. I thought the choice of a character from the previous book who wasn’t necessarily personally connected with Mare was really smart. It could so easily have been Cal’s point of view and then I think I would have had to roll my eyes so far back into my head that I could see the veins in my brain. But no, we got a perspective that I would never have suspected but that really help round out this story and what was at stake for those other than just royalty and lightning wielders.
I did also like the narrative of imprisonment, I thought that the way in which Mare was gradually being broken down against her will was captured beautifully and was done over a long period of time rather than being one large event and suddenly she’s miserable and has lost the will to fight. This narrative worked with the character of Mare and that of Maven as we have come to know them over the last two books.
But can we talk about how I really don’t want Maven to be redeemed. I know, I get the temptation, I’ve read more fanfic about Draco Malfoy finding his place post-war than I care to admit. But let’s not forget (possible spoiler coming up if you’ve not read Glass Sword) that Maven Killed at least one baby, maybe not personally, but that happened (end of spoiler). Maybe if he was redeemed in a non romantic way? Kind of like in Frost Like Night where the villain has to learn for himself what he did wrong and how much of that was mind control and how much was his own personal weakness. That I’m on board for, if love saves the day in this instance I may have to rescind my enjoyment of these books.
All in all, we’re continuing to grow in our understanding of how this world is put together politically, we’re meeting new newbloods with even more cool abilities, characters we know and love (and those we don’t) are developing before our very eyes. This is still very good sequel writing and I’m almost glad this wasn’t squashed into a three book series. My one concern is…where can this go? Now that we’ve done the trilogy of ‘poor girl from the sticks’ to ‘rebellion’ to ‘imprisoned’ where is this story headed? I wonder if we might get something like the inheritance cycle where a lot of the last book consists of understanding how the world works once you’ve finished fighting. Alternatively this could go in the direction of the Hunger Games, where our main character leaves behind all the politics and is left mostly unaware of the goings on they have brought about. We shall see.
Currently the last book is untitled but is set to publish early in 2018, so we’ve got some waiting to do. In the meantime, if you happen across any entertaining fan theories (or fanfic, I’m not opposed to fanfic) why not send it my way via the comments or twitter (@judithcmoore), because I don’t know if I can wait ten months to return to this world!
My rating: 5/5 stars, I’m still loving these!