On My Bookshelf: King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

December 11, 2017

In King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard, the Mare Barrow of Red Queen, the first book in the series, is back. In Glass Sword, the second book in the series, Mare was hard to warm up to; she seemed cold, distant, and calculating. Much of the novel focuses on her complicated relationship with Maven, as both are unsure of how to deal with the feelings they deny that they still have for each other. Maven can't stand to have her be killed, but also can't let her go free. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen series, rebellion is rising and allegiances will be tested on every side.

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.
In King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard, the Mare Barrow of Red Queen, the first book in the series, is back. In Glass Sword, the second book in the series, Mare was hard to warm up to; she seemed cold, distant, and calculating. Much of the novel focuses on her complicated relationship with Maven, as both are unsure of how to deal with the feelings they deny that they still have for each other. Maven can't stand to have her be killed, but also can't let her go free. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: In King's Cage, the Mare Barrow of Red Queen, the first book in the series, is back. In Glass Sword, the second book in the series, Mare was hard to warm up to; she seemed cold, distant, and calculating. In this book, I appreciated her complicated relationship with Maven, as both are unsure of how to deal with the feelings they deny that they still have for each other. Maven can't stand to have her be killed, but also can't let her go free. 

The introduction of other character's viewpoints was an interesting twist, but different from the previous two books in the series. While at first it seemed a bit unnatural, the alternate narrators were necessary to tie together the plot lines, especially while Mare was being held captive.

The ending of the novel was very much unresolved, leaving open the possibility for another book in the series, which I originally thought was a trilogy, but according to the author's website is a quartet (there are also two novellas focused on minor characters in the series). At the close of the novel I was left with many questions: Was Cal really choosing the throne over Mare? How would Maven handle the news of the crowning of his brother? What would Mare and the Red Guard do next and where will the go?


Classroom application: As with the rest of the series, there is violence in the novel, though mostly of the fantastical kind, and Mare and Cal's relationship does escalate into a sexual one in this book, so this might make the book more appropriate for upper middle school and high school students. The issues surrounding an unresolved relationships, both in Mare's relationship with Maven and in her relationship with Cal, are issues many teenage readers can likely relate to.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of King's Cage for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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