Sunday, April 9, 2017

Book: King's Cage (Red Queen, #3) by Victoria Aveyard

I am back from my hole! Here's another post to share my thoughts about this one book that took over my entire week because of the #feels: Book 3 of the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard - KING'S CAGE.

Book Blurb:
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. (via Goodreads)
After that explosive Glass Sword ending, I was really looking forward to the release of this follow up. This book follows Mare Barrow in captivity of the current king of Norta, Maven Calore - her former betrothed and the boy he once loved and cared for, until a betrayal changed everything. I dove into this expecting that this book focused more on Maven's and Mare's dynamics and I was not disappointed. So let me tell you my feels. (ಥ,ಥ)

I've read a number of reviews before writing my own and some people found the beginning chapters (i.e., Mare's captivity/imprisonment/psychological torture or whatever you may call it) slow and depressing -- but I totally disagree. I love me some Cal and Mare shipping but who am I kidding? I came here for Maven and Maven alone.

I've yearned for a Maven POV ever since I finished Red Queen and though I didn't exactly get one in King's Cage, Aveyard gave us enough of a peek behind the mask of this unlikely villain through Mare's chapters. I loved the first half of the book. And as far as I am concerned, those chapters provided me much more feels that the rest of the book ever gave me.

I'm sure you've figured it out by now but I am extremely biased with Maven because I like my book characters layered and imperfect and Maven is exactly that. Maven's obsession with Mare was on a different level. It was painful to read but those were the parts that I enjoyed the most. Those brief moments of vulnerability around Mare, the occasional touches. What Maven *feels* for Mare- poisoning them both in each of their own prisons. It killed me a couple of times. Maven and Mare's dynamics in their scenes was EVERYTHING. It was intense, sexy, painful, depressing and full of psychological force all at the same time that I found myself clutching my chest almost all the time because my heart hurts so much. (Apologies to my roommate who have to go through me shouting at my Kindle in the middle of the night.) My feelings are all over the place. Maven's presence in the pages was arresting and the effect he has on Mare was intoxicating to read. I was tempted to skip the pages he's not present in a couple of times but I fought through it.What we have here is a boy, tormented and broken since the day he was born - his mind constantly haunted by paranoia, his ghost of a soul, not knowing what in his thoughts are his own and what's not. What really got me was the fact (spoiler, highlight if you want to read) that he was not a puppet, maneuvered by his mother to do as she please, but that he was conscious of it and accepts it that he continued on even after she was gone. He was too broken, corrupted to the core, that I doubt if there would ever be a redemption fit for him in the next book - but death, oh God, no. He reminds me so much of Soo Won from Akatsuki No Yona, but on a more evil scale - it's so hard to hate him even if I have every reason to. Many reviews compared him to the Darkling from Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Series and I might even read it after this one.

Mare and Maven via Pinterest from
As for our main heroine, somehow I like King's-Cage Mare more than Glass-Sword Mare. In Book 2, she was always trying to be strong and proud to the point of deceiving even herself. Her *lightning girl* dialogues irked me off whenever it came on  page - I just can't stand it. I like her in this: I like her pained and afraid. I like her vulnerable - because it's the truth. You can keep lying to everybody and show off an image but you can't lie even in your inner dialogue, you really can't. I have to give applause to Aveyard for portraying PTSD very well with Mare. For me, Mare experienced the most character development in this book than in the previous two. Experience changes people and witnessing how it changed Mare was such a joy (though painful) to watch.

I used to ship Cal and Mare so hard at book one but now I am just bored. Honestly, I have more feelings with  Mare's relationship with  Maven. I guess this confirms that I am really a fan of doomed romances and unrequited loves - but I digress. Somehow, I can't see myself warming up (pun intended) to the first prince. I love how he loves Mare, I swoon at the way he looks at her and care for her but there's something lacking. Like he's just sticking by Mare because he has no one, because it's convenient. He can't make choices, that Mare and Maven already knows, but when he does, I'm questioning them. And don't get me started on that freakin' ending. I can't say that I didn't see that coming, but my heart still shattered to pieces when it came. Gaaad, I can't stand Cal but I must. I need to see this book series till the end.

For some reason, I read this book thinking that this was the last in the series so my expectations about it ending right here and there was pretty weird. I don't usually check my progress when I'm using my Kindle so I didn't really know it was about to end until I saw the word "Epilogue" and so I started panicking. LOL. But all in all, the impact and feelings this third book in the series gave is undeniable. This was Victoria Aveyard in one of her best - I am floored.  Red Queen (book 1) is still my favorite but King's Cage can definitely hold its own. Definitely recommended! 

The cover is still as breathtaking as ever.

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 out of 5 stars)

If you follow me on Twitter, here's my King's Cage Reaction ThreadCLICK HERE.

In the meantime, behold this gorgeous King's Cage book trailer as narrated by Maven (I know!):

Quotable Quotes:
hand-lettered by yours truly. :)

It's too cruel to give hope where none should be.

To look powerful is to be powerful.

"You ask how much of it was me," he whispers. "Some. Enough."

"People like us," he scoffs. "We lie to everyone. Especially ourselves."

"Those who know what it's like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light."

Power seduces all, and it makes us blind.

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

This is the 6th book I've read this year -- and this has been part of my 2017 Reading Challenge. #Bookworm2017

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