Released: February 9th 2017
My Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
I finished this book over the weekend, and all I can say is that I wish I read it slower, because the wait for the next book is going to be painful.
King’s Cage started off with Mare as Maven’s captive. What really got me about this portion of the book, where Mare was still unsure about what was going to happen to her, is that that she seemed to have a sliver of hope that there were certain things Maven wouldn’t do. After all the terrible things he had done in the last book, she was kind of subconsciously still holding out that maybe when it came to her, things would be different (and I think Cal thought the same, as pointed out by Cameron). And while certainly she could have been treated much much worse, Maven was still happy to chain her up and deeply mess with her mind and parade her around, despite the fact that he apparently loved her. Mare started to realise that she couldn’t rely on anyone but herself. She had to beat Maven at his own game – the game he played with her in Red Queen. I had to commend Mare for some of the things she made herself do or say in this book, because it must have been so hard to do what she did when she hated every second of it.
Maven was severely messed up. In this book, we got to see the real extent of the damage Elara’s powers did to him, and while I really didn’t want to feel sorry for him (he was, after all, a murderer), it was very difficult not to feel disgusted at how Elara had basically restructured his entire personality by chopping and changing his mind as she pleased. The things she did were horrific. And while I don’t think this excused Maven’s behaviour, it did make him a more complex character. It was impossible not to think of the person he might have been without Elara’s influence. I found the political aspects of this book really interesting, especially since Maven’s obsession with Mare was clouding his judgment and certain parties were taking advantage of that for their own purposes. Most of the Silvers really had no remorse when it came to their treatment of Reds and the entire time I was trying to figure out just exactly how everything was going to work out.
Evangeline started to grow on me in this book. She still had no regard for the lives of the Reds, but from what we saw of her in King’s Cage, I think that could change in the next book. She didn’t want to marry Maven, but she couldn’t marry the person she actually loved, Elane. She was essentially a subject of her father’s will, and had to do whatever he wanted. In that sense, she didn’t have much freedom. I generally enjoyed the chapters from her point of view, though there were a few parts that seemed a bit forced since her POV only cropped up in the latter half of the book. Cameron also grew on me in this book. I wasn’t the hugest fan of all of her chapters, but I like that she was blunt and to the point. It was a stark contrast to Cal, and I appreciated her honestly, and determination in regard to finding her brother.
Cal…what to say? He was clearly desperate to get Mare back. He loved her and would have done anything for her, and I suppose that was a strength. But for all of Maven’s many flaws, he was right about Cal in one of his early conversations with Mare in this book. Cal was somewhat weak-willed. He was always on the fence – in Red Queen, he couldn't say that he actually wanted anything to change because he was too afraid of the consequences, and he was the same in King’s Cage. He may have been strong and an excellent fighter, but decision-making, and understanding what needed to be done – these were areas where he was severely lacking. I think this will really cost him in the next book. More so than already. I’m hoping that his character will change in this sense, but I’m also wondering if it’s maybe too late at this point, which leaves some very interesting questions about what will happen between him and Mare.
Plot-wise, there were so many revelations in this book. I found Glass Sword slightly predictable, but King's Cage kept surprising me. The pacing was slow in a few parts, but I think some of the really good scenes made up for this. Maven didn't seem as sure of himself in this book, and I think Mare handled him the best she could and learnt a lot of useful information. Farley was pretty awesome in this book, being her usual self even while pregnant, and I liked getting to see the Scarlet Guard and finally learning more about their true plans. Mare’s family and Kilorn weren’t very prominent in this book, and neither was Julian – I hope we get to see more of them in book four. I also think the fact that [minor spoiler, highlight to read]loads of lightning users turned up in this book was a bit strange – I thought it was a really rare, unheard of power? How come no Silvers possessed it but a whole bunch of newbloods did? And on that point, I wonder if they will find a whisper newblood...[end of spoiler]. I have to say though, while there is usually a book in a series like this where the main couple is separated for most of it, I actually didn’t mind it too much in this book, which is surprising for me, because that is one of my least favourite tropes. I think I was okay with it here because we got to see Mare in a lot of interesting situations, so I wasn’t just constantly waiting for her to meet back up with Cal.
The ending needs its own separate paragraph because kjhigjkwb. I don’t even know what I expected, there was foreshadowing and everything. What the hell is going to happen in book four?
Overall, I really enjoyed King’s Cage and am looking forward to completing the series with the next book (though I can’t believe we have to wait a whole year…).