Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) By Victoria Aveyard

free read Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3)

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

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. Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3)

Too many fillers. Boring writing style. Disintegrated storyline. Dull characters. Flat villain.

King's Cage is a bipolar book. Everything is swung up and down all the time, especially the characters being unstable and intermittent. I'm beyond disappointment and frustration, even though I didn't expect anything at all before reading, I still feel as if this book is a waste of my time. If you think Glass Sword was terrible, you would be terribly wrong because this book was ten times worse that I couldn't be so sure whether I was reading a book or a screenplay.

“I've been broken too many times to break again.”

King's Cage has its loop since the beginning: one, the description of the scene, and two, the description of the costumes, and three, the character progresses their own stories. Then it's back to the first step again and again. One and two and three. One and two and three. UNTIL THE END OF THIS BOOK. It keeps repeating without changing the tactic of narrating the story. I haven't known how dull Victoria Aveyard's writing style is until now. Her writing is getting worse and worse compared with Red Queen. She wrote this book like doing a screenplay and had no idea how disastrous it was for the gap between chapter 28 and chapter 29. The action scenes are the worst of all. They're scattered; hell, this isn't a comic that you can skip the scenes because you have illustrations to substitute it. A novel needs details to complete actions and a story needs skills to weave it carefully, not just putting a piece of them and you call it a novel. Yet VA does that all the time. She skips the scenes incessantly I wanted to stop reading many times if it wasn't for the cost that was worth my three meals, perhaps four.

However, I can conclude this book into one paragraph below.

“To stand in front of a person who is your whole world and be told you are not enough. You are not the choice. You are a shadow to the person who is your sun.”

3 Stars for Red Queen for its awesome plot and setting. 2 Stars for Glass Sword because I didn't like Mare at all. She was such a brat in that book and her character made everyting awful. And 1 star for King's Cage. This book is utterly terrible, in my opinion. It is a black void of space with the story floating around and is impossible to grab. The worst book I've ever read in almost two years. Oh! and the ending is forced, too. I couldn't believe that would happen, whether the author intended to do it this way since the beginning or not, she should have been more elaborate.

0 for the story and 1 star for shirtless Cal and his abs.

I don't care who Mare will end up with. Cal ? Meh ! Maven ? I feel nothing for him. Kilorn ? I'm not surprised at all. Or she will probably die at the end of this series. Yet It doesn't bother me any.

“You aren’t alone.” The hope in his eyes cuts deeply. “You have your crown.”

More at Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) 4.5 Stars

“Somewhere in the distance, somewhere in my bones, thunder rolls.”

If Red Queen was a game of charade and Glass Sword was a game changer, then King's Cage is a reincarnation of the two, manipulation and war and survival and politics woven into its essence, but on a whole other level. No longer a hide and seek playground, but a chessboard where powerful masterminds control kings and queens and princes and princesses and many, many pawns to fight for the ultimate trophy -- the throne of Norta. Organized chaos that was delicious to watch unfold.

Glass Sword ended with a jaw-dropping twist that meant the focus in this continuation will transfer to the dynamic between Mare and Maven. I stopped comparing Maven and The Darkling a long time ago and rightfully so -- whereas with The Darkling I always felt an inkling of hope for redemption, with Maven there is only the clinical dissecting of his behavior and attitudes that give no room for such innocent naivety. What brought me emotionally to my knees was not the revelation that he really is a pawn through and through, even after his mother's death, but that he is aware of it and he accepts his damned fate, molding to the villain persona by his own accord. He is a four-geared system that runs on hate, anger, fear and twisted love. Maven is a victim and you cannot help but feel pity for him. The what ifs of what he could have become without Elara's interference are a stark reminder that monsters are made, not born.

“The pain makes you stronger. Love makes you weak.”

Maven's obsession with Mare is another side-effect. It's honestly so sad to watch his inability to change and to love normally. His mind is perpetually assaulted by paranoia and loneliness, continuously eating at his ghost of a soul. He astounds through his cunningness and cleverness, many underestimating him. But he is his mother's son, after all, and the legacy leaves behind both scars and advantages. Mare is the one that knows him best and they use each other to survive a royal cage that, paradoxically, suffocates them both.

Mare Barrow goes through her biggest character development yet. Our heroine grows so much, even through trauma. I love that, despite the fact that she has been put through hell, she doesn't let herself get sucked into the void. She still smiles, she still loves, she doesn't lose hope. Her sparks, even though kept away in tangible form, reside inside herself and allow her to live. And I loved the fact that she is portrayed in fear lots of time -- it doesn't make her weak, on the contrary; the fear brings out her deepest survival instincts, giving her a shot of winning the battle against greater opponents that loom over her shoulder. Much like Maven. And goddamn it, she fights, with her mind, with her body. She fights to not become a skeleton trapped in a prison, mentally and physically.

I also adored her demeanor towards Maven, taking advantage of his weakness for her, but always trying to bring him on the right path. Their dialogue is beautiful, mirroring two broken souls, trying to outsmart each other. They find refuge in one another, no matter how twisted and toxic. And Mare, at least, finally gets a clearer picture about this plague of a boy.

“She was his hurricane, and every nudge pulled him deeper into the eye of the storm.”

May I please fangirl about Cal? This romantic, strong, intelligent, caring, naive, hot, intense, good fucKING SILVER PRINCE THAT TAKES THE WRONG DECISION AND CANNOT CUT THE CRAP OF THOSE WHO WANT TO USE HIM AND CANNOT KEEP HIS PROMISES. Sorry. That must have been a bit harsh. But it's the truth. I honestly love him to bits. His love for Mare turns me to a blubbering mess. His hope for Maven is crushing. His friendship with Kilorn warms my heart. But fucking hell he's still Prince Tiberias the Seventh and his identity bites everyone in the ass, especially himself. AND HE'S A GODDAMN STUPID IDIOT. Okay, I'm done ranting.

“It’s not his fault the lightning girl loves him, and he must bear the curse that love brings with it.”

The romance between this sweet yet insufferable young man and our dearest Mare melted my heart. The mutual support, the understanding, the goofiness, the sexiness, the courage to break stereotypes... ALL OF IT is just wonderful. *sigh*

I need to give lots of claps for one character in particular, or rather Aveyard's flawless constructing of it, making me feel something I have never contemplated in the first two books: love for Evangeline Samos. However, don't imagine something along the lines of the sudden angelic rendering of Celeste in The One, for instance. Far from it. Evangeline is still the quintessential bitch. But I adored how she upgraded from a mere queen-wannabe that has only arrogance, ambition and jealousy as main traits to a deeply intriguing, multi-layered and surprising anti-heroine. Again, readers can regard her as another one who was made. Made for being a queen, made for being perfect, made for her family's well being. We have her POV as well, not necessarily as a mechanism to see from a different perspective, but to offer further glimpses into a universe governed by politics, secrets, manipulation and, of course, power. Throughout it all, she remains strong as steel, kickass and terrifying, splendid when she is gradually humanized through the unraveling of her desires and fears in a manner that highlights her internal conflict: freedom and love or duty and submission?

“Be the best, the strongest, the smartest, the most deadly and the most cunning. The most worthy. And I was everything.”

As usual, the secondary characters pretty much rocked. Farley is awesome. Julian is awesome. Sara is awesome. Kilorn, we don't see as much, but he is comforting in a familiar way. The whole Samos family is pretty much badass in a disturbing way and I devoured their scenes. The Colonel, a Premier named Davidson, newbloods, Reds and Silvers alike expand the borders of what we previously knew. Old queens, new kings, ruthless princes and princesses and faraway commanders make up the backbone of the Lakelands, Piedmont, Montfort and, of course, Norta, forging the world-building aspect.

The rhythm had some off-beats here and there. Personally, I associated them with Cameron's POV. She was a bit hard to stomach, even though she is definitely the no-bullshit type. Progressively, I learned to like her, but the reason why I cut down on the rating is partly thanks to her as well. The other motive is the fact that Mare's imprisonment to Maven, although seductive and psychologically-embedded, was slow-burning in a frustrating way, grating on my nerves for the lack of action. It was like I was simultaneously wasting away along Mare, unable to speed up the process.

The ending of this book left my heart in shambles, because I saw it coming miles away. Didn't lessen the pain though. It leaves the story at a precarious tipping point, a crossroads of a sort, with certain revelations confirming what I've been dreading: the last book will equate to death. As a dedicated fangirl, I fear for my mental stability after the next installment closes the story.

King's Cage is a great follow-up in a thrilling and exciting series. The story of this novel will have resounding echoes in the last book (ohmygodjustonemorebook). The grand, masterful blend of action and politics and romance had my head spinning, awed, and the characters infuse a unique vibe to an already mesmerizing mix of dystopia and fantasy. I cannot recommend these books enough.

ENJOY! <3 Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3)

A Smarter girl would turn and run
To be fair...the author tried to warn me.

To keep this review from getting as long (and as bloated) as the book, I will focus on the three worst aspects - the prison, the characters and the sexay scenes.

Mare's Prison or should I say, my vacation?

The entire book consists of Mare whining about how difficult life was...It's just...come on. Really? What does she have to whine about?
I've been broken too many times to break again.
Her prison includes: A private bathroom, a personal library, meals three times a day, makeovers, fancy gowns and kingdom tours. Sign me the f*ck up
But like a dog starved, I’ll take whatever scraps I’m given. Whatever passes for kindness in this lonely cage.
Really, REALLY Mare? What scraps? You were invited to be a bridesmaid at a royal wedding. oh boo-hoo

To top it all - Mare gets PTSD flashbacks. PTSD flashbacks after her eventual rescue. Girl. Are. You. Kidding. Me. Your prison is a $500-a-night hotel stay.

The Characters or should I say, the CHARACTER??

Now, one annoying character doesn't spoil the book - unfortunately, this was not the case because Every Character is Mare.

I listened to the audiobook and each perspective had a different voice (posh for Evangeline, British for Farley and black for Cameron (yes, picture a stereotypical black accent with a hint of Jamaican.) (no one else has that accent, just the sole black girl perspective)).

Without the clear distinctions brought on by the audiobook, telling apart the characters became really difficult. Therefore, I've written a cheat-sheet for those who only have the text:
How to tell your Mare from your Mare -- 101
--Original Mare: Whiny, self-pitying garbage human. She regularly kills people and only feels remorse when convenient for the plot. She literally was made into a princess-to-be but threw it all away cause she had to read a paragraph of propaganda

--Cameron: The younger, whinier Mare. She's the token diversity character and manages to hate Mare while simultaneously admiring her. She constantly refers back to her intricately braded hair...because she's the only black character. The author uses these subtle hints at her skin color every freaking time we are at her perspective.

--Evangeline: The older, posher Mare but with SURPRISE SHE'S GAY twist. This came out of the blue. It honestly feels like Aveyard threw the twist in because she needed to fill her LGBT+ quota.

--Farley: Pregnant Mare, anyone? Manages to run an entire army while growing a tiny human yet everyone is more impressed with Mare surviving prison. Farley has a hardcore British accent yet no one from her hometown (or her family) has that accent. The accent is possibly the greatest mystery of this series.

--Cal: What would Mare be like if she was a guy?

--Maven: What would Mare be if she was an EVIL guy?

The Sexay Parts or should I say the wet blankets?

Now, I'm all for a little bit of a YA smooch-a-roo fest but...these scenes just had me going ewww. Honestly, what is with authors making every boy have a unique taste? For example, Cal's mouth tasted of:
salt and smoke
and I'm hard-pressed to think of something less appealing thing to stick my tongue in. How does that even happen?

Then, there's the awkward bath scene. Picture this: Maven, naked in a bath, bubbles up to his ears, a bit of pre-pubescent chest hairs waving in the he has a complete conversation with Mare.

BUT - don't worry, our demure heroine wasn't tempted to look because she's:
familiar with the male form
after living with her father and brothers. Shudder.

And then, just when I thought we were done with the awkward scenes...we reach... The SEXY mud-makeout.

Let me set the scene: It's cold, it's raining, there thick clumps of soggy mud everywhere...and Mare says, let's make out hunkysugarbear. Mare tosses her shirt in the mud and throws Cal's in the mud too.

Excuse me?

You're in a forest, at least throw it on a bush. Who wouldn't be pissed if someone threw their stuff in the mud? Cal. That's who. Cause he was too busy downing a liter of salt and setting it on fire to get ready for his big kiss.

I think I'm getting too old for this.

Audiobook Comments
Read by Amanda Dolan. Now it could be because I absolutely hated this pointless waste of paper...but I disliked the audio as well. Everything sounded so bland. Bleh.

Also, it really bugged me that when we swapped perspectives, the accents of all the other characters changed slightly. Is consistency too much to ask for?

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) 3.5 Stars... So politic and sh*t this wrench my gut.

What can I say? This series kept more and more like a dystopian fiction, more than being high fantasy. However, I like this one a bit better that Glass Sword due to politic game, more Maven, and because THIS ONE GAVE ME MANY FEELSSS *angry* *giddy* *angry* *giddy* and then *wrathhhhhh*, not made me all bored like GS!

1. CAl & MARE and Politic attitudes.

I love that the characters are not totally black or white. There are what they are because of how they been raised, their family background, and whatever around them.

Cal & Mare, as much as I'm frustrated of how different attitudes of Cal and Mare are ( and we know they love each other! ) but they just didn't get along well about their politic thoughts. *love* bicker* *love* bicker* *ugh* BUT in other way, it's interesting for me to see how they insist on what they believe. ( Not like some Soup Opera 'Oh I love you, I will give up my revenge and choose to be with you' boo )

Cal is Silver, been born and raise like a Silver. Mare is new blood ( but her heart is Red ) Their issue and scene is just SO WHATTT?!?!????? But I don't judge them. I don't think Cal or Mare is right or wrong. They always remind me of two sides ( in my society ) in politic days. Silver aka. Superior one & Red aka. Inferior one that's why I understand them both. *Except if I read this in politic days, I might be RAGEEEE at one of them here because I pick a side* Hahahaha but now no I like them both.

2. More MAVEN and his complicated character

Love this one of how it gave me many pages of Maven ( which is my favorite parts among all ). Gosh how I love his character. This boy is broken, complex, and interesting. We saw how he love Mare, have soft spots for her, BUT He is still wicked and cunning ( Not bad turns good in sudden just because of looovvve ) Whatever, He love her in his poisonous way & Their tension IS the BEST! Goshh His Love. Her Hatred. Just wrench my gut! My Heart bleed and I'm in pain.

So it comes to my complaint... ARE TWO BOYS LOVE HER NOT ENOUGH!!!!????? In Glass Sword, I remember I felt sorry so much for Killoin. and I pray, I PRAY that my favorite boy Maven will not love Mare like Killon does. Then I read King's Cage and what I got? Gosh He love her, love so much. His confession made my heart giddy and hurt cuz I'm afraid to know the end. As much as I'm happy at every scenes between Mare and Maven I read, but it still prickle my heart cuz I know in every breath that in Mare's heart, she hate him. She will never love him as loving his brother.

Stop. Just stop torturing my heart. Stop playing with my feelings. I don't know.. it's like Mare and Maven more get along together in term of their inner personality, but just because she think he is evil so she insists every bit in herself to not feel for him. Damn. It would be very interesting to see them as Silver King & Red Queen together.

That's what all. TALK BOOK WITH ME BELOW PLEASE! Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) You ask how much of it was me, he whispers. Some. Enough.


***Warning, spoilers abound, do not continue with this review unless you have read the book.****

First of all, I CALLED IT. I KNEW that we'd be getting lots of Maven and seeing the boy behind the villain's mask in this one. And PRAISE THE BOOK GODS, I'm so glad Victoria didn't let me down. She gave us all those moments we hoped for, the explanation, the moments of fragility, the tension, everything... She gave me a beautiful, tragic, tormented villain who fell in love with the wrong girl.

....I say wrong because Mare does not deserve this Darkling, this twisted Warner of a king. Her reaction to his kiss, during the vulnerable tenuous moment between the two was what finally convinced me to give up on their love story (whereas in Shatter Me you could pick up on something in Warner & Juliette's kiss, here there's nothing. It's gone, alright, I get the message. Mare feels nothing but disgust, it's a violation of the worst kind -she's in control and she'll never pick the villain). While I have never felt the spark between Mare and Cal (yup, even in this book including that scene), she's never going to be Maven's. That's fine, I'll take him. Mare doesn't deserve him, even though Maven is more like her than Cal will ever be.

This is a boy who was crippled from birth by an evil woman so terrible he doesn't know what thoughts are his. I just want him to have a happily ever after. But there is none. This boy is darkness incarnate and I have a feeling he's going to end up doing something noble to save Cal or Mare or his people in the next (final) book (to redeem himself the only way a villain can) and I just can't cope.

The first book is still my favorite, but King's Cage gave me so many beautiful twisted lines. Victoria is a master of powerful prose, and she delivered some exceptional ones --as you might expect, my favorite ones were his.

Love makes you weak. And she's right. I learned that before I even knew you.

I'm not a fool, little lightning girl. If you're going to play in my head, I'm going to play in yours. It's what we're good at.

.... I could try to write a review of this entire book, but let's be honest, I read it for Maven and I don't have the heart to write everything up because I'm in mourning for a ship that will never sail.

(yes, I realize Maven does not have blonde hair but this gif fits perfectly)

#teamMaven Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3)


The face of Universal Studios executives every time Aveyard says the movie is in development with them despite it's been five years, the producer has had two box office bombs (one that devalued the stock price of Lionsgate), and they've so obviously passed over the movie rights like dodging a bad box office nuclear bomb:

Mare, I’d argue, is the central character who let this series down. Not just how insufferable she is but how Aveyard scrambled to reassign the ethnicity of the character halfway through the series – in one of the most shameful acts of commercialistic tokenism I’ve pretty much ever heard of. I’ve noticed that trend a lot lately, YA authors wanting to be heralded and championed by their readers as inclusive and diverse —*cough* Carve The Mark *cough*cough* — so they think, I’ll toss a black person in it as a main character. Yeah. That’ll totally do it. When confronted about the fact Mare’s sister, Gisa, is white, Aveyard’s uninventive response was that she was white but Mare was dark-skinned because… genetics—BOOM! And OK, yeah, it could happen between siblings but on the most unrealistic genetic odds; odds that someone, who is supposed to be a screenwriter in the age of the cynical movie-goer, would have to know that no one is EVER going to buy that excuse. You can just see a movie audience over on Rotten Tomatoes doing an eye-roll as I speak.

In a post Oscars so White world that excuse is just so lame that it doesn’t even warrant a response, so I’m quickly going to disprove what Aveyard is saying by Book Trailer 1 ( and Book Trailer 2 ( You’ll notice in these trailers both the actors playing Mare are white, which doesn’t make sense as Epic Reads is owned by Aveyard’s publisher; they would have had firsthand knowledge and contact with Victoria about Mare’s ethnicity. And with the number of times she’s appeared on their segments, she hasn’t raised anything about the trailers being racially inaccurate with anyone. Now Mare’s skin is always self-consciously talked about at pretty much every possible occurrence in Glass Sword and King’s Cage. I can just picture Aveyard hammering at her keypad going: I HAVE HISPANIC CHARACTER. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!!!

And here is where our problem lies. Commercialistic tokenism. Honestly, one author I give props to is Cassandra Clare. (Give me a sec to explain.) I don’t really like her writing at all but her characters and their sexualities and nationalities were always unashamedly out in the open and organic, woven into the DNA of the characters. (Not an afterthought.) I’ve asked myself this question a lot, the question that if they show a person of colour isn’t that good on its own merit no matter how crap it is or how manipulative that is? I’m going to say at least they tried. But it still annoys me that characters of colour written by people of colour are more often than not hidden behind the bookshelves of characters of colour written by white women. And the idea of Mare in a movie studio that I love just gives me chills – if you thought Bella’s dialogue was bad wait until you get a load of the way Mare speaks.

And the f/f relationship. What an effrontery to us lesbian women everywhere that was. It felt forced, stunted, plastic. Aveyard appeared on numerous sites toting the fact that she had a lesbian relationship, specifically to draw attention and enumerate the fact. And this draws me to the reason why I’ve increasingly become adrift to YA author’s charm of late, who feel that every act of including someone different then they are, someone who is not white, someone who is not straight, is cause for a celebration, a congratulatory pat on the back. They pause when they announce stuff like that, as if they’re expecting adoring applause to drown out the noise around them. I feel more like I’ve been checking my watch, tapping my foot impatiently for YA authors to arrive at the party with the rest of us literati, and now they’re here I’m forced to pretend that I enjoy their company. Now they’re acting like the life of the party despite the fact that it’s two hours late, we’ve all gotten seriously drunk and eaten all the food, we’re getting our coats on – and are walking out the door.

This series, like its botch attempt to complete the laborious chores of being “diverse”, is an afterthought. Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) Hello Goodreads, I'm back, already suffering from King's Cage withdrawal syndrome and more heartbroken than I care to admit.

King's Cage was the most powerful, deep and contradictory installment of Red Queen so far. The first half nearly drove me to give it three stars, it was unbearably slow and made me question my decision to continue this series many times. I felt like I was drowning in a swamp, trying to move yet stuck in the same place for so long I lost the concept of time. But in the end it seemed that the countless pages where nothing happened were necessary to understand the characters and set the foundations for the second half, which was undeniably mindblowing, full of epic fight sequences and moments to elate you only to shatter you minutes later.

“We're not a god's chosen, but a god's cursed.”

Mare spends six months imprisoned, tortured, living at the mercy of a wicked boy-king who keeps her in a cage because that is the only way she'll stay with him, who uses her to serve his own ends and each day steals a piece of her and replaces it with hopelessnes and anger, while the Scarlet Guard makes new allies and strives to end his reign of lies. With threats of civil war, rebelling houses claiming power and newbloods who shift the balance between Reds and Silvers, the kingdom of Norta will either be reformed or engulf in flames. For there is only one throne and two Calore sons, divided by betrayal, ambission, and a stubborn lightning girl.
“I am Mare Barrow. Not Mareena, not the lightning girl. Mare.”

Who is Mare Barrow? A self-centered hypocrite. A murderer. A traitor. That's what I would have told you in the beginning of King's Cage. It is no secret that I am not particularly fond of Mare. In fact, a sadictic and rather cruel part of me enjoyed her tortures and her despair, all those moments when she finally felt the weight of her mistakes and rush decisions. Who are you to judge Cal ? I wanted to shout. How can you possibly blame him for not taking a stand after all the horror and injustice he has witnessed when the path you follow is paved with more blood and reverse discriminations in the name of common good? I wanted to peel off my skin every time she claimed she knew Maven so well, Maven of all people, an evil and broken boy who kept up with his atrocities even when his puppeteer was gone, while she never tried to see things from Cal's perspective. I still hate this self-righeous Mare. But thankfully, in King's Cage, she proved that she is more. And she somehow taught me that not a single character in this series is purely evil or purely good, the same way she learned it. I want you to remember this day, folks. The day I admitted that Mare Barrow became a tolerable and relatable heroine. I can't say the same about Maven, though. It is true that he wasn't born a monster, that his madness is the result of his horrible mother, and after his confessions he gained my understandment, but not my sympathy. Some choices were his. The slaughtered babies, the court manipulation, the power games, they were his. What he feels for Mare is not love, just a sick obsession. And I'm looking forward to his downfall.

“Red. Red as blood, red as fire. Red as the anger eating us both alive.”

Tiberias Calore is not the flawless prince I thought he was.
And that revelation was not the result of Victoria Aveyard's efforts to twist his character to make readers love him less, like I believed at first. Don't get me wrong, he's still my favorite character, but I'm afraid I idolised him. The bitter truth is that he is not good at making decisions, like Maven, and Mare and Cameron and everyone else knew from the start. He is noble, and kind, and a great strategist, he loves Mare despite reason in a way that warms you up inside, but he has his weaknesses.
“Choose me.”

I believe that what Victoria Aveyard tries to say in every sentence and every page is that power is alluring. A siren whose call no one can resist, regardless the colour of their blood, their rank and social status. And once you embrace power, and give in to its seductive touch and whispers of greatness, it taints you. And inevitably you lose something. Your humanity. Your kindness. Your soul. Your ideals. Your loved ones. Some things you can never get back. And I can't help but commend Victoria Aveyard for the way she delivers it. In King's Cage she masterfully delved into her characters' depths, she gave them multiple dimensions and made the reader invested in them, besides the intricate plot with the intrigue, the politics and the battle scenes that were undoubtedly epic. While my loyalties are still the same, I finished it more open-minded. And that's probably the reason the ending hurt me this much. In a way, when I read this series only for the plot was better. My feelings varied from annoyed to angry, and as soon as I finished each book I didn't think about it twice. But this time, it will haunt me. Because it has torn me apart.
“Now I'm in a king's cage. But so is he. My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.”

On a brighter note, I cheered for Evangeline (who may or may not have been the biggest and scariest badass), I swooned over shirtless Cal and I experienced a rush of adrenaline each time a fight was described or a new conspiracy was set into motion. If it hadn't been for the first half, King's Cage would deserve all the stars in the sky!

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Me reading this book:

After one semi-intelligible novel in Red Queen and one genuine flop in Glass Sword, King’s Cage was going to be 26-year-old Victoria Aveyard’s Hail Mary on the series that was supposed to be the “next big YA thing” but has been a painful lesson in hype versus realistic expectation. Does it succeed in doing so: I so badly wanted to say she turned things around but she didn’t – and that’s putting it nicely.

Here’s the thing that I’m still wondering about with Victoria Aveyard – how did things go so wrong for her? I mean, she had it all: HarperTeen and Epic Reads carefully controlled the reviews of the book by pre-leasing copies to targeted BookTubers whose opinion they could count on to be positive; the marketing campaign, if anything, was maybe too aggressive, with people hyping up Red Queen all over the place – on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – and calling it the next Hunger Games, Divergent, Selection, and that everyone should buy it.

And we were like – Sure Thing Entitled White People! We Believe You!

I can’t remember a release as advertising-intense as this since Divergent was out and it worked that time round so then how, exactly, did it all torpedo in Aveyard’s face and not turn her into the Suzanne Collins success she was constructed to be by her publisher? The odds were in her favour. She had plenty of high-powered connections; she breezed casually straight to a publishing and movie deal with barely any effort at all; she had it all. BookTuber reviews are pretty good at swaying public opinion and masking any problems of a book by pillowing the internet with praise, so I never expected to see 1 star and 2 star reviews piling up on the main comments page.

So… what the hell happened?

I can chalk up to only a few things. The first, Veronica Roth entered the scene with the very first Hunger Games-inspired book and by the time Victoria Aveyard published that door had clearly and loudly shut. The second, Aveyard accidentally compared her work to be on par with Game of Thrones, an act in itself which is just setting yourself up for failure because then people are automatically disappointed when it’s nowhere even close. Beyond that, I think people are just tired of reading Game of Thrones and Hunger Games knock-offs no matter how good the publicity departments claim they are. I think YA publishing is finally starting to come out of its coma and realise that they have GOT TO STOP pushing the same derivative plot before we all tear our eyes out.

And finally, Victoria is kind of… elitist… There’s a line between being proud and being stuck-up and I think Aveyard crossed that line without meaning to. And in a world that is becoming incredibly impossible to separate the artist from the art, Aveyard tends to come across as elitist. Next to the release of Red Queen Aveyard released an article on her blog ( that didn’t really help that image.

But her personality really became even more apparent when she started lashing out to critics on Goodreads and caused probably the biggest awkward silence in book reviewer history.

To be honest, I gave her a pass on that one because she was new and I can understand people lashing out on what people say on goodreads. But she has to understand that criticism is a part of being in the entertainment industry and I can tell you for a fact that most of the reviews on goodreads are tame in comparison to what’s out there.

If you can’t handle what people say on goodreads and you’re a writer then man you’re in the wrong industry because there are going to be people that say things much worse in the future. You shouldn’t be lashing out at these people. You should be using goodreads as a practice ground. Plus a lot of criticisms from people – who weren’t paid by HarperTeen to give it five or four stars – are pretty valid, and if Aveyard had listen to one or two of their comments I feel this series really could have been pulled up from its death-spiral. In response to a lot of fair criticism, Aveyard just doubled-down and placed the blame on piracy, ARCS, and 1 star rogue reviewers which is insane because on average five star reviews outnumber 1 star reviews about 60, 000 to one.

Some people were supposed to hate it because art is supposed to be subjective. It’s only worth making when there’s a plurality of opinions, good and bad. And it is possible that it’s not quite as good as you think it is: Harper Collins is not known for having the most on-the-job editorial staff. (Check out the Continent by Kiera Drake scandal if you don’t believe me.)

I’m currently completing my BFA at USC as well and just for clarity – I’m a woman – and I cannot stand it when girl screenwriters in my class go, “Male writers can’t write women.” And my response was, “That’s funny the last script you turned in the lead character had sex with the chiselled ripped-up doctor by page three and just talked about it all the way after. Meanwhile the black guy over there had his female black lesbian throw a guy through a window on page 1.”

I have a feeling Aveyard probably belongs to that clique of writers that believe because a man wrote it it should be set on fire. She’s constantly bashing actors like Tom Hanks and other male screenwriters. (Don’t get this one: The thing is, she’s a screenwriter as well, someone who wants to work in Hollywood. Did, like, no one tell her that pissing off one of the big-name actors or people she could get a job from was, like, I don’t know – a good way to never eat a hot meal ever again?)

There seems to be this growing fury and vindictive agenda of women writers pitting themselves against male writers, especially if the men catch a break. Why do that to people who don’t know you and have no idea who you are and have worked probably just as hard for their big break? If there are showrunners like Shonda Rhimes then there’s no excuse why no one else can be like her. And FYI, maybe there’d be more things like female producers and directors if they didn’t keep immaturely dropping out of Hollywood over “creative differences”.

Not to mention Kathleen Kennedy’s New York Time’s article a few months back that Star Wars doesn’t owe men anything, which is just a cruel thing to say—why does one group’s success hinge on another group’s complete eradication and extinction? One of my favourite movie critics, Grace Randolph, made a very insightful and thorough video here if you’d like to see it: .

I totally believe in sexism in the film industry but heckling people over Twitter who have gone further into the movie industry than you doesn’t really do much to fix the problem. If you want to change it you have to be productive. Work towards your own success. Write the stories you want to see and hire the people you want to see. Don’t knock male writers who have worked just as hard as you and perhaps harder to get their big break in the screenwriting business just because they’re men.

Just had to throw that out of the way before I got into the review.

Whew! Time to get in to the novel.

I didn’t realise I drifted so far off topic.

Sorry my peeps!

My major problem with this series is its glaring inconsistency. I think Aveyard is probably much suited to television than she is to blockbusters, because though she easily get’s that whole laying down the track for an oncoming train element of TV writing, this same ability really destroys any cohesiveness of her novel, where she manipulates time and events on the fly to suit her writing.

There are moments where you feel she’s changed the entire behaviour, attitude, and abilities of a character to service the plot and her endgame. For instance, in this book she says Mare was uneducated and how that lack of education is what keeps the Reds down in the dust, but in the first book when Shade sent a letter to her family she was the one who read it aloud.

And like Sarah J. Mass, Aveyard suffers profusely from what I call “Quotablity Syndrome”. With Sarah J. Mass I think it’s probably because she’s accustomed to fan-fiction (sometimes fan-fiction authors are hit and miss), but with Aveyard I think her problem originates with imagining every scene spoken aloud in the teaser trailer for the movie that Universal Studios has not even talked about. By that I mean that she is constantly focused on ensuring the words and passages sound euphonic, rather really understanding what she’s saying or taking a step back and realizing how dumb her character looks saying it. It’s what’s made Mare insufferable in both books. Here are some of my favourites from the past two books if you don’t believe me:

Glass Sword:

If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.

Anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart.

And the romance:

This is always a huge problem for female writers. I see this all the time in class and when screenwriters and authors get defensive. They go: How dare you ship my characters the novel isn’t about romance! That is so sexist! And then I’m like: Dude, if you didn’t want shipping to happen then why did you have the main character make out with both the brothers? Unless you suffer from amnesia or are slightly unconscious at the helm of your laptop, you wrote that love triangle into the book Aveyard and it’s too late to change it now. If you didn’t want it to be about romance then don’t have them kiss. Have Mare be asexual or something! Don’t even bring it up! Make the brothers totally unattractive or that she’s too distracted with her situation, but when Mare spends every couple of pages tripping over these boys Mary Sue-style don’t expect people to not have readers ask you about the romance! You put it in your bloody book! I can see she was trying to make the novel like Reign from the CW, but it backfired and for some reason she’s not interested in it anymore. A pure sign of ill-plotting on her part. To be fair, Aveyard’s not alone. Female writers always trip themselves up on the romance. I think it’s just a habit. One that Aveyard is yet to break.

My feelings on Mare: ...I got nothing...

What I imagine must be that poor rebellion’s feelings on Mare at this point in the story and we're pretty much on the same page:

Yes. We get it already. You're imprisoned. After reading most of Aveyard’s oeuvre I wasn’t surprised to find that Mare continued being her hundred-watt-Mary-Sue old self. Aveyard has mechanized her to whine and complain every few pages, and say she is a bad-ass despite there being an enormous lack of evidence to support that theory.

Lastly, the plagiarism. Ah. This is a weird one. I’ve seen tonnes of more reviewers on Goodreads, of late, start to actually call authors out on it, which is great to finally start seeing. I think that to call something inspired instead of plagiarised is just changing the label to something more socially acceptable but it’s essentially the same thing. To be clear, Aveyard's work is not a heavy amalgamation of research and historical elements deftly woven into a fantasy threat like Martin's work.

If that was the case then I wouldn't have had a problem but there were some serious moments where I felt that it was a very narrow margin between plagiarism and not-plagiarism. I was surprised to see people finally call Veronica Roth out on it since she’s been pretty much immune her whole career. In Aveyard’s case, I think the plagiarism is pretty baseless; to me it’s not really plagiarism but rather really thick imitation of two novels: The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, which are all heavily embedded in her work—more like plastered all over—but in the kind of way that leads you to believe she thought she could make a shit tonne of money if she only changed stuff slightly around and fed it into a book about teenagers.

I think it's sad because this act alone really destroys books when you write by someone else's voice and imagination. In class they gave us this quote that I kept thinking about:

And it's true in this day and age originality sells above all else because people are tired of the same circulating plot which is why I think I just couldn't plug into King's Cage. With King's Cage, it just can't escape the gravity of its creative influences - unlike so many other books that can take the same idea but steer it down a whole different alleyway of implications.

There were just too many uncomfortably close moments where I was thinking to myself, That reminds me of something. And it wasn't just this novel but in Glass Sword there was the very glaring Peeta and Katniss bread reference with the coin where my jaw literally hit the floor—was she honestly stealing that scene from the Hunger Games. I mean…really! Really! What is YA these days, fan-fiction? [Scene: I remember the burdened boy who gave me a silver coin when I was nothing. With that one gesture he changed my future, and destroyed his own.] I think I just can’t forgive any more YA authors that steal work from the Hunger Games because I’m just fed up. Can people at least steal passages from a franchise I don’t read every Christmas? It's not plagiarism exactly, but it's not originality either, which makes it just awkward for me because I can't help think on some sort of spectrum that it's not entirely the right thing either.

I think this series is pretty dead in the water. Aveyard might have started off aiming high but it’s sunk to gliding, passionless mediocrity at this point. It’s lost a lot of its original WOW-factor. What’s sad about this series is what I’m finding sad about a lot of YA books these days. Good idea but poor execution and bad characters. This book, in my view, could have easily have scored a movie deal back before it was published but now I can understand why they never greenlit. First impressions are everything these days and Mare has just done too much damage to doctor at this point; and based on its sales it’s doing nowhere near the numbers to power a box office solely on its brand power.

You might have heard that the movie is being made. To be clear: the movie is ‘IN DEVELOPMENT’ which means that Aveyard is trying to channel as much buzz as she can by telling everyone they are making it. But with there having been no news in almost three years, Universal’s packed slate with Fast and Furious 8, Jurassic World 2, and a plethora of other movies lined up, I think Universal has probably passed by now. After all, Universal is one of the few companies that can challenge Disney for a seat in the billion dollar club; and I don’t see them jeopardising their outstanding reputation for a YA novel when book adaptations have shown to be pretty financially unsuccessful these days (just look at how the Divergent series died – and Aveyard is repped by the same literary agency that reps Veronica Roth so there’s probably that conflict of interest for the studio execs).

Can this series be saved? I honestly don't know why but I'm going to pray that the 4th book is the charm here and keep my fingers crossed. Even if this series has bombed I'll be interested to see what projects Aveyard starts in the future.
Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) As promised here I go with my review!

First of all: I loved King’s Cage and didn’t want it to end! *fangirl squee* After the fast-paced Glass Sword I was really looking forward to find out what would happen to Mare and the book definitely didn’t disappoint me. Book three basically picks up where Glass Sword left off and our poor heroine is still kneeling in front of Maven.

The first two-thirds of the book deal with Mare’s captivity and the torture her life has become, the last third is about her return to the Guard and the fight against the now combined forces of Norta and the Lakelands. Well so much about the storyline and general plot, now we’re heading straight for the fun stuff! XD

Considering the fact Mare is in captivity for almost the entire book you’d really think that it would be boring to read about her experiences. But NO! There definitely was nothing boring about her situation and even though there is no fast-paced action like in the second instalment you still have to remind yourself to breathe. I’m sure now you’re asking yourself why anyone would stop to breathe while they are reading a book and the answer is simple: The intensity of King’s Cage literally chokes you! It takes away your breath and leaves you gasping for air and it gives you all the pleasant shivers you’ve been craving for but never realised you wanted to feel! XD The atmosphere of this book is just breath-taking and sometimes I was forced to stop reading because I found myself unable to deal with another chapter. (Yes, the book was that good!!!) The conversations between Maven and Mare were nothing but awesome (the breakfast and the bathroom scene before the wedding! OMG the bathroom scene killed me!!!) and I definitely want more of them! So please Victoria let them meet again, let them be at each other’s throat and speak the bitter truth! They are equals in every possible way and I want them to finish what they’ve begun! XD God, I so can’t wait to read the fourth book!

“More Silent Stone,” I mumble, saying the words like a curse. The polished orbs of my wearable prison gleam. “You must be running low by now.”
“Thank you for your concern, but the supply is well in order.”

“What’s so funny?”
“How many times have you tried to kill me?”
“Just the once.”

Refreshing honesty between those two. *lol*

He stares up at me. “Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
“Don’t act like we’re the same.”
“The same? No.” He shakes his head. “But perhaps … we’re even.”
“Even?” Again I want to tear him apart. Use my nails, my teeth to rip his throat. The insinuation cuts. Almost as much as the fact that he might be right.

Okay, enough of the plot and straight to the characters! Even though Red Queen is a YA series and therefore is kind of supposed to have a good protagonist I can’t say that I truly love any of the main characters (Well, except of Maven. I love Maven to bits and pieces! *lol*) and I think this is exactly the reason why I like those books so much. There are no stereotypes, all of the players are neither good nor bad, they all have their flaws and problems and if anything they are neither white nor black. They are all different shades of grey which actually makes the book even more appealing! Well, at least for a reader like me. ;-)

Mare: The little lightning girl has grown in the third book and questions everything and everyone. She’s no longer the naïve girl she used to be and she finally seems to realise the many mistakes she made. I kind of disliked her for being so selfish in the first two books but now that she’s forced to spend her time with Maven her character actually gets a chance to develop and to think about everything that has happened. I loved to see how much she grew and I really hope the end of King’s Cage won’t destroy everything she has become.

The true question eats at my brain. What Maven is really asking. Would you give up your ability, would you trade your power, to go back? I don’t need time to figure out an answer.
“No,” I whisper.

Cal: Argh! I don’t like him! He’s exactly the opposite of Mare and where she managed to develop “Your Highness” still stayed the same. Never in my entire life have I met such a cowardly character and I really dislike him for being unable to choose! I mean seriously how hard can it be? Silvers: betrayed him, wanted to kill him in the arena, chased him and stripped him of his title. Made him a rebel and decided to believe that he murdered his own father. Guard: took him in and saved his life, let him live with them and gave him food, clothes and a purpose. They even tolerated him in their midst and tried to be kind to him. Tough decision, right? Yet Cal still refuses to see the truth and sticks to the old ways! Yep, I don’t like him and I truly doubt this is going to change in the next book.

“Promise me. Promise you won’t leave. Promise you won’t go back. Promise you won’t undo everything my brother died for.”
His low sigh washes across my face.
“I promise.”

Cal you stupid, incorrigible and stubborn moron! *grumbles* Guess unlike Maven you’re no man of your word…

“I’m doing what my brother never could. Cal follows orders, but he can’t make choices. You know that as well as I do.”

Damn right, Maven! That’s Cal’s behaviour in a nutshell! XD

Maven: I hate, I loathe, I despise him so much! I hate him! I love him! I actually love him because I hate him so much!! Oh my god! Victoria what did you do to me?!? He’s the villain and I’m supposed to detest him, but I can’t! Because he’s just so hurt, so tortured, so driven by what he feels for Mare. He’s like poison that sneaks into my mind and makes me want to love him. Gosh! I know exactly how Mare feels! XD Victoria you’re killing me! I think I’m going to die if I read more about him, but please, please, please write more about him in the next book! *lol*I know I’m not making any sense but I want more of Maven! More of that beautiful, cruel, corrupted, cunning, destroyed, relentless and shattered soul! XD Please! *making huge puppy eyes*

“I think you may have a bit of an obsession where Cal is concerned. Are you going to blame that on your mother too?” It was meant to be a joke, but to Maven it is anything but. His gaze wavers, only for an instant. A shocking one. In spite of myself, I feel my eyes widen and my heart drop in my chest. He doesn’t know. He truly doesn’t know what parts of his mind are his own and what parts were made by her.

“Never breaking eye contact, Maven slips the flamemaker bracelet from his wrist. It’s slow, deliberate, methodic. I hear it hit the floor and roll, silver metal ringing against the marble. The other quickly follows. Still watching, he leans back in the bath and tips his head. Exposing his neck. At my side, my hands twitch. It would be so easy. Wrap my brown fingers around his pale neck. Put all my weight into it. Pin him down. Cal is afraid of water. Is Maven? I could drown him. Kill him. Let the bathwater boil us both. He dares me to do it. Part of him might want me to do it. Or it could be one of the thousand traps I’ve fallen for. Another trick of Maven Calore.

OH. MY. GOD! That scene killed me and it describes Maven so well! XD

Evangeline and Elane: Oh well, I certainly didn’t expect that one! It was nice to see Eve has some sort of a heart though. ;-)

Cameron: I still dislike her and think she’s as incorrigible as Cal. In her case she at least has the excuse that she is a whole lot younger and more inexperienced than the prince , yet she still seems to have a better judgment than him. So yes, she certainly is shrewder than Cal. XD Then again who isn’t?

Farley: I think that’s the only thing I didn’t like about the book. I mean come on! The woman just gave birth to a little girl and is already back in the fight? Solder through and through? Seriously? Are you kidding me, Victoria? I know no mother that would leave her new-born baby with its granny and run straight into a fight. I really think that was more than just unrealistic. Not to mention that giving birth is definitely no walk in the park. *lol* Yeah they have awesome healers; I’m aware of that, but still! As a mother it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. XD Just saying!

Since this was the only thing I didn’t like the book still gets five stars and I can easily recommend it to everyone who’s eager to read it! I’m sure you won’t regret it. ;-P
Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3) Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! 😡😡😡😡😡🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

Okay.... I just finished and I’m freaking mad!! Had I been reading a physical copy of this book it would have been chucked out the window!!! 😡🤬😫😤☹️ The first half of this book was slow slow slow. I was really bugged that suddenly this story was told from other characters POV. The first two were Mare’s POV. So, I found myself being bored unless it was Mare. 🤨 That aside, it did pick up a little more than half way through. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT ANY VAGUE SPOILERS.....

Kings Cage (Red Queen, #3)