Overview (No Spoilers): To say that I’ve been positively ruthless with respect to my critiques and general opinion of the Red Queen series would be a significant understatement. After the debacle of the Glass Sword, I swore up and down that I was done with the Red Queen series, even venturing as far as to encourage fellow readers to avoid this series like the plague. But alas, upon finding the King’s Cage available and beckoning at my local library, I couldn’t resist finding out if Mare would escape Mavin’s evil clutches. Curiosity be damned. As such, I found myself again in the one dimensional, literary realm of Norta. With that being said I found myself presently surprised with a lack of overall vehemence felt while reading the King’s Cage. I chalk up this neutrality due to the addition of several new POVs, which greatly worked to add depth from a story line that was suffering from a weak, and may I add selfish, immature, and whining, protagonist. While Cameron’s POV was initially interesting, her purpose seemed to fade approximately half way through the book. Perhaps a POV from Cam would have served better to show an outsider, ensconced reluctantly within the ranks of the Scarlet Guard. On the other hand, Evangeline’s POV contained my favorite sections of the entire series to date. Here perhaps is our strong female character the storyline was lacking. Additionally, significantly adding to the world building, and as a direct result, intrigue, was our first real look at the Lakelander people, as well as the neighboring nations of Piedmont or Montfort. Overall, the King’s Cage was indeed a step in the right direction for this series and I can appreciate that people that love this series will absolutely adore this newest installment. However, I’m going to hold firm in my previous assessment that this is a series that can be confidently avoided in lieu of the seemingly endless literary options to choose from.
Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):
- The little tidbits regarding the history of Norta and surrounding realms that the reader gets glimpses of during Mare’s chaotic, disorganized mental rants while she reads Julian’s abandoned library that Maven ‘gifts’ her, are absolutely fascinating. I want to know more regarding this tumultuous background, specifically Julian’s thoughts that the powers were in fact a sign of being cursed, not blessed.
- While Mare’s time in captivity was painful to endure, not only for herself but for the reader as well, she seemed to grow as a character upon her escape and return to the Scarlet Guard.
- I felt like Cameron’s POV faded in to obscurity after the rescue of her brother. While the rescue mission resulted in one of the few edge of your seat sequences, the conclusion where brother and sister are reunited was anticlimactic at best.
- During Mavin’s many confessions to Mare we find out how much his mother literally messed with in his head, from taking away fears, to the love for his father and brother. No wonder this poor kid is so messed up!
- Mavin marrying the Lakelander Princess Iris was another interesting event in which we were finally introduced to Norta’s figurative enemy. Why would the Lakelanders agree to this union? Other than the war ending what do they get out of this marriage. It was another curious, yet sad revelation that the war with the Lakelanders was actually just a population control tactic.
- I loved finally getting into Evangeline’s head and truly understanding what drives her decisions and subsequent actions. Like I claimed above, she is easily my favorite character of the series. Go Queen Evangeline. I specifically enjoyed finding out about Evangeline and Elane Haven’s relationship.
- Ugh, that ending. So we are back to square one with Cam and Evangeline betrothed and Mare flying into a tirade prior to really having time to assess the problem at hand and see if there were any solutions. Did I say she had matured as a character, maybe I will retract that sentiment.
Machinations: a scheming or crafty action or artful design intended to accomplish some usually evil end
Manic: affected with, relating to, characterized by, or resulting from mania
Taciturn: temperamentally disinclined to talk