King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard: Half-Okay and Half-Great

If Cal the exiled prince was my cinnamon roll in the first two installments, I must say that book three was a little disappointing as I didn’t see much of Cal in the first half of the story. Before we begin to dissect the reason, I need to warn you first: if you haven't read Red Queen and Glass Sword yet, remember to click the link here and here instead. You wouldn't want to continue this post before glancing through the prior books first, trust me.

Picking up where it left off, King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard is actually quite true to its name. The story begins right after Mare is captured by Maven and put in the cage with manacles made by Silent Stone to keep her powerless. She has become Maven's perfect puppet, playing the role of the fragile Lightning Girl fearing the Scarlet Guard, luring the newbloods into the mercy of Maven's. But Cal will stop at nothing when Mare is concerned. With the Scarlet Guard still organizing the attempt to overthrow the Silver king, unexpected alliances are made. Norta is now left with nothing but wars on all sides.

While the mixed reviews around this series didn't stop a lot of readers from finishing the second book and then picking up the third, I could see why some of them decided to stop halfway. The first half of the book felt very bland with a formula more or less like this: Mare in the prison, a little glimpse of Maven, Mare in the prison, a little glimpse of Evangeline, Mare in the prison...

To be fair, a lot of things did happen around the time Mare was trapped. They weren't engaging enough to the point that I feared this book would put me in a slump, however. It wasn't until Iris Cygnet, the Lakeland princess, came to the scene that I wholly dropped the thought of DNFing the book. Iris breathed life to Mare's repetitive narrative, and since then, King's Cage actually became better if not great even if we barely got to see her in the last half.

I wouldn't lie, I really enjoyed the rest of the story. I even felt the pull to keep reading just because. Perhaps, this is exactly what we need to prepare before picking up this book: persistence and perseverance. The story flowed well, even if the other two person who got to share their narrative with Mare were quite unexpected. I liked the characters better in this book too (even the fickle Cal was still bearable), and discovering the unique abilities of the newbloods was very interesting.

In conclusion, King's Cage was probably half-okay and half-great, though the last half did make me realize that I slightly liked this book better than the second. And that ending... I'm so gonna pick up the fourth installment soon to see how everything is going to play out.

Actual rating: 3.7