King’s Cage is the third book about Mare Barrow, by Victoria Aveyard.
In King’s Cage, Mare is now a prisoner – the king, Maven Calore, has taken her freedom, and her abilities. He keeps her on a tight leash, parading her around court – and forcing her to be his puppet for the world to see. The Silent Stone she is forced to wear at all times makes sure she cannot escape or use her powers towards her captors. While she is kept in the palace by Maven, the Scarlet Guard and Cal continue their efforts to make sure the rebellion continues – and hopefully get Mare back.
As new players are introduced to the game, old enemies come together to hopefully put an end to Maven Calores’ rule and change Norta for ever. But who can you actually trust? As Julian Jacos said; Anyone can betray anyone.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead.
Unlike the other books in this series, I actually struggled to finish this one. Mare is not handling her captivity well – at all. What made this book harder to read was that it became a little repetitive, she cannot let go of the boy she thought she loved, she struggles with the same thoughts haunting her and she seems to get weaker by the page. I found her to be sulking in her own misery, forgetting about the fight and keeping herself down.
This was the first time I actually wished for Mare to be a stronger character, to see her deal with her captivity better and be a stronger main character. However, it took some time for me to realise that her turning into a weaker person, also shows how captivity and torture effects people. Everything that made her Mare, the lightning girl, is gone – her freedom, her abilities, even her secrets. Also, the Silent Stone, plays a big part in this as well – as it has a very deep effect on Mare. It took a few chapters, but then I realised that the Silent Stone, probably also made her weaker as she could not control her own body anymore. What made me keep reading, where the small moments where she did fight back, her small steps to becoming her self again and as the plot unfolded it made me forgive the things that annoyed me earlier.
This time all the characters go through rough times, no one is clearly good or bad anymore – a part that I genuinely liked about this book. All the characters are struggling to deal with what is coming their way, and making tough choices based on what they want or think is the best solution for the situation they are in. Some choices were heart breaking while others, just shifted my view on the characters completely. Also, here we are introduced to many more characters as the the Scarlet Guards rebellion is not as small as you first thought it to be. New players are introduced and old characters make decisions that surprised me, and again the twists I did not see coming, came, and changed the plot in a good way.
A nice change was how the story is told, this time we are not only getting the story from Mares’ perspective, but also Cameron. This was a nice way to learn what was happening to the others while Mare was being held captive, and to understand the bigger picture. Camerons’ perspective is not unlike Mares’, they are both (sorry to say) a little sulking in their view of life. But what I did like with Cameron was that she was very much aware of her own behaviour towards others, but unlike Mare, you could actually understand where she was coming from when she lashed out on someone (usually Cal).
Another character I felt I got to understand better was Maven Calore, during her captivity – Mare understands she has a special meaning to him. Maven tells her about his mother – and how she «shaped» him into becoming what he is. In some ways, what he reveals made me feel sorry for him, but on the other hand it also made me think he is very manipulative, so this might be another act. Watch out for Maven.
Overall, the book was harder to get into, but as I did, I realised that this time around – the story is much more complex than I pictured in the beginning when I read Red Queen. As I kept getting closer to the end, I quickly realised that this could not be the last book in the series. So, to my big surprise and disappointment, I now have to wait until May 2018 to know how this story ends!