Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Red Queen #3

King's Cage

Rate this book
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.

528 pages, ebook

First published February 7, 2017

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Victoria Aveyard

30 books65.8k followers
I'm an author/screenwriter who likes books and lists. This site is the nexus of my universe.

I wrote the #1 NYT bestselling series RED QUEEN and my next series, REALM BREAKER, will be out in May 2021.

The genres I'm into include YA, Fantasy, Historical, Adventure, Apocalyptic - if people are dying, I'm buying.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
71,060 (32%)
4 stars
82,823 (37%)
3 stars
49,890 (22%)
2 stars
12,782 (5%)
1 star
3,995 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,797 reviews
Profile Image for Andreea Pop.
320 reviews2,137 followers
February 9, 2017
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.

Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews155k followers
December 10, 2020

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 water...as 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
Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,497 followers
January 27, 2023
"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)

Profile Image for P .
687 reviews320 followers
February 14, 2017
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 https://goo.gl/HwfSlJ
Profile Image for Pang.
416 reviews364 followers
February 25, 2017
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.

Profile Image for Katerina.
422 reviews16.8k followers
April 23, 2017
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!

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | BookNest
Profile Image for Mia Crysler.
5 reviews21 followers
February 10, 2017

Me reading this book:

 photo http___mashable_com_wp-content_gallery_lessons-pokemon-can-teach-you-about-friendship_fight_zpsy25pxdt3.gif

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!

 photo http-2F2Fmashable.com2Fwp-content2Fgallery2Fawkward2Feasy-a_zpshnvs9iax.gif

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 (http://victoriaaveyard.blogspot.com.a...) that didn’t really help that image.

 photo tumblr_mhyah3tjfm1s4xdz1o1_500_zpsdttska56.gif

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.

 photo http___mashable_com_wp-content_gallery_awkward_supernatural-awkward_zpsas5bqqth.gif

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.

 photo twitter_zpsncvcexwb.jpg

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16OOg... .

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.

 photo marysuedie_zpsltkb2b5v.jpg

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:

 photo Tweet_zpssbl2if6n.jpg

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:

 photo tumblr_nm5c8kFYxg1tgj54do1_500_zps1kiw4bai.gif

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.

 photo d466ade65ec9f23d0c2e7f9671b236b9-d6um8lm_zpscvzkfk4u.png

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.

 photo funny-George-Martin-plagiarism-research_zpsnw4bbifr.jpg

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:

 photo Picture-5_zpscftpbs0e.png

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.

 photo 201509_2052_behif_sm_zpsvdzkcjay.jpg

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.
Profile Image for Danielle.
808 reviews402 followers
August 19, 2020
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.....

Profile Image for Cara.
3 reviews6 followers
March 17, 2017
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:

 photo 19935202_zps5y9jazsb.gif

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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UbsN...) and Book Trailer 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCeR_...). 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.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
532 reviews34.5k followers
July 8, 2017
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
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
February 14, 2017
I’m not leaving this place unless I leave behind his corpse—or mine.


No one can possibly understand how much love and adoration I have for this series. Book one and two were literal obsessions for me. I loved them so deeply that I literally took the time to annoy each and every one of my closest friends who chose to give a shit…even though 4/5 of them didn’t care for this series. I can’t even count all the times throughout a year that I say the name ‘Cal’. I know for a fact that I induced many an eyeroll from everyone around me. All year long it was Cal this, Cal that, epic ending this, epic ending that….it was unforgettable, if only to me. This was my world, and I longed for it every moment I couldn’t have it. And then…this.

It’s almost comical. Every step I take explodes in my face. I tried to save Kilorn from conscription and maimed my sister instead. I became a maid to help my family and within hours became a prisoner. I believed Maven’s words and Maven’s false heart. I trusted Cal to choose me. I raided a prison to free people and ended up clutching Shade’s corpse. I sacrificed myself to save the people I love. I gave Maven a weapon. And now, try as I might to thwart his reign from the inside, I think I’ve done something much worse.

Look, I’m clearly the weak link here. You can go to the book’s page and clearly see that the four and five star reviews are just rollllling in. And what the funniest thing to me is, where the hell were these reviews for book one and two? When I needed someone to fangirl with, when I just needed a fix, a quick look at a new perspective from someone who truly loved this series as much as me-where the hell were these amazing, glowing reviews? There was so much hate for the first two books that, okay, yes, were a bit cliche and a bit over the top, and even were a bit repetitive with the phrase ‘lightening girl’, and now people like this one? Okay…that last one was said A LOT, but still. My point is this: there was no more wrong with those two books than this book, yet the praise keeps rolling in for KC. In fact, I really wonder what made this such a success in so many people’s minds?

Like I said in my pre-post after just finishing-Its not about the teams and its certainly not about who she will ultimately choose…or not choose. I just think there was so much potential for this story and it fell so so flat.

The smell of smoke gets stronger as I push on. Hope flares. Where there’s smoke, there’s a fire prince.

Let me start with my least favorite part of this whole book and what I had thought was a shoe in for being my favorite: The extra POV. I mean….what. The fuck. WAS that?? Cameron was not only a character that I hated more than I could ever POSSIBLY have hated Mare, but she was an absolute brat. She was grouchy. She was judgmental. And, what do I care what anyone thinks, I’m just going to say it: She did nothing but talk shit about Cal. FINE. It’s fine-And believe me when I say that if this was the only problem I had with this book, I would have GLADLY handed this book yet another five-I love this series SO MUCH that I’d have wholeheartedly dealt with the self-righteous and obnoxious Cameron (to this I ask reviewers why they love Cameron so much? You all have hated Mare so much…yet Cameron is just Mare on crack. She calls Cal and others out…but she might be just as bad, if not worse, than Mare. So…why?) with a smile on my face. No. Believe me when I say there are far more problems than something as simple as my bias.

Nights spent curled against Cal. Forcing Cameron to join our cause. Stolen moments rereading Maven’s sickening notes. Memories of who I thought the forgotten prince was. My cowardice. My nightmares. My mistakes. Every selfish step I took that led me here.
Look what you did. Look what you did. Look what you did.

For one….I’ve read a million and one books that are bridges to the final story, and not felt an ounce of the boredom I felt for this one. It’s just a whole lot of nothing, if I’m being honest. I suppose there was plenty of political planning, war strike planning, and even some pretty decent action scenes, but it felt so contrived, so forced that I couldn’t help but feel wholly disconnected.

Which is my next problem: Do you ever feel like you’re an outsider looking in? I mean, in a way, aren’t books kind of supposed to be like that? Of course we are merely the readers, simply observing our favorite characters from outside the book, rooting them on and hoping they make it out alive? Well, yes, in a way this is correct. But, if you really think about it, how often do you ACTUALLY feel this way? The answer should be never. You should never feel separated from your characters, you should always be so fully immersed in the world that you can’t tell where your fictitious book world ends and real life begins. There’s a fine line here you don’t want to cross, and it happened here. Not once in this series have I ever felt like the twice-removed cousin hanging out like a creeper in the back…but this book made me feel so left out, so apart from the story, that when I finally got to the part I pined for, I just couldn’t fall back into the story. In fact, when that moment hit? I deflated like a balloon. I knew for a fact I wasn’t going to love this story, no matter how much went my way. And, believe me, a ton did, all the way up to a twisted, fucked up ending. I just…simply ceased to love, to care. And this might be why my heart is still completely shattered.

Even now, when I am painfully his, he won’t let go. I would prefer death to this cage, to the twisted obsession of a mad boy king.

And, sigh, the elephant in the room, on my end: Maven. If you look back at my reviews, you can see I have never hated Maven. Sure, he has been an obstacle between Cal and Mare, and this brings out the competitive juices in me. But never has there been utter hate. I even liked Maven in book one-not as her love interest, but as a person. He was never a true problem for me because, in the end, I loved Cal so deeply that the Maven moments were inconsequential. So, when I heard this was mostly a Maven driven book, it didn’t deter me in the least. Who cares?? But I did feel that there was something icky about how he was handled. We all know he’s not truly a monster. He’s a wounded boy who grew up with odd circumstances and a repulsive mother. But we also know Victoria Aveyard’s intention is not for Maven to be a love interest-she has made this more than clear. So then...why all the Maven empathy? Isn’t it kind of fruitless after 30% to continue laying on the Maven mind games? He loves Mare in the only way he can…but even Mare can see a screw is loose. So I guess I just felt like it was cruel to Maven fans, honestly. Which is something I never thought I’d say.

I wonder if he has nightmares of the assassination attempt. Nightmares of his mother, dead by my hand. His father, dead by his action. His brother, in exile but a constant threat. Funny, Maven called himself Cal’s shadow, but Cal is the shadow now, haunting every corner of Maven’s fragile kingdom.

Sigh. And Mare. Oh Mare-she can make or break your love for this series….where I sit wholeheartedly in the middle. She definitely isn’t someone I’d say is a favorite heroine (or even one I truly like) but I don’t feel the way most readers do. She is kind of a badass, really. And yes, she has made me so mad I could throw my iPad across the room, but no, she isn’t unbearable, to me. She was the best she’s ever been-I can assure everyone of that. I won’t get into it, but I will say this: my biggest problem is what COULD be. I don’t know how Aveyard will end this…but I do have a problem with one outcome, and I’ll leave it alone because I, quite frankly, don’t want to be harassed about it. Just know, there is a super…depressing way this could end, and I sure hope she doesn’t choose to end it that way, because it would really break my heart.

“If your heart’s not in this, you’re going to get a lot of people killed.”
He whirls, almost knocking me on my ass with the speed and force of his movement. I have seen his fire firsthand, but never so strongly as the flame blazing in his eyes.
“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this,” he hisses through gritted teeth.

And I’ll make my normally longer than life paragraph about Cal short and sweet. He had some extremely swoony, wonderful, amazing quotes and moments in this book-some that I could only dream of actually happening-I was beyond ecstatic. His love for Mare (and actual declaration of it) made my soul soar and I was on cloud nine…but only to an extent. That’s as far as it went because of that ‘feeling like an outsider’ deal I mentioned earlier. I could only immerse myself so far…and that might have been the final nail in the coffin, for me: My darling baby Cal feeling like the shell of the man he could be. Just….OUCH.

So, I guess that’s that. A lot of ramble, but a whole lot of deep truths from me. I can only be truthful and I can only say what I feel-there’s no room for half-truths or false pleasantries. I liked a few things about this book but, in the end, I just wanted and needed more. Evangeline was a definite plus in this book, seeing as I’ve always liked her from afar (and now I adore her), but not enough to save the breaks in this story and my expectations. I’m glad people are loving this….I’m just devastated I’m not one of them.

“Then what do you want?” When Kilorn asked me that same question, it gave me focus, purpose, a clear path in darkness. “What do you want, Cal?”
He answers quickly, eyes blazing. “You.” His fingers tighten on mine, hot but steady in temperature. He’s holding himself back as much as he can. “I am in love with you, and I want you more than anything else in the world.”

I hope even Victoria can read this review and understand I have no ill intent-I will forever be a huge fan of this series and I STILL love book one and two way more than is acceptable for my health. It is never my intention to attack an author, to attack other people’s opinions-I simply have to get my thoughts out, for my voice to be heard by those who care enough to hear it. I think I’ve always been a fair reviewer, and I hope people can see that the only thing I’m trying to say in my review is this: I’m just a girl who is obsessed with this series, and my heart and soul hurt because I couldn’t find a connection with this story, whatever the reason. It hurts me more than it hurts anyone reading this, and I have nothing but hope for an amazing final book. And if not?? I’ll forever adore the first two books and they will always be in a prime spot on my nerdy bookshelf/shrine in our living room. I just hope people can see that-I give up on series for way less than this…yet here I sit, ready for book four and hoping for all the best. I just hope my heart doesn’t get ripped in two next year. I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

For more of my reviews, please visit:


NO one knows how painful this is for me to rate and feel this way. It has nothing to do with Maven. It has nothing to do with my precious baby Cal, who, by the way, I will still marry someday and who can STILL do no wrong in my eyes. And, actually, it has nothing to do with Mare. I don't care if you're team Cal, Maven, Mare, Kilorn, or Evangeline. In fact? It had nothing to do with this hideous representation of the characters in this story, at all.

What it comes down to? This story sucked, plain and simple. Boring without an ounce of inspiration, this book is nothing more than filler, extra drama, and a total bridge to the final book. And, if I'm being completely honest, I, for once, don't see how the next book can be any better.

I'll hold out hope, though. Cal is a number one BBF, and I will see this all the way to the end.





 photo tumblr_la62niRzN31qbqmpx_zpsykwwpwlr.gif

 photo c96b29b718ae7e26a542dd6afbb701f6_zpsegi5atkv.gif

Profile Image for Jeff.
143 reviews401 followers
September 17, 2017
Ladies and gents, I'm not even going to put it out nicely.
You guys have been warned. By the end of this book, you'll be spitting out needles and hot lava.
This "breathless third installment" kept up to it's word. Oh, yes, it certainly left me breathless.

Wow, Aveyard, you spin up this wonderful tale about lies, hurt, betrayal, love, affection, and you give me this SHITTY book?!
Where's the suspense, may I ask? Where's the drama, the action, the fire? The LOVE?!
This is already the third fricking book in the series, and Cal and Mare are still prancing around each other like sick, mutant bunnies!!
Worthless, I say! This book took up so much time, effort, and energy. There's a reason why I borrowed this book from the library. And no, it's not because I'm broke from buying too much candy and snacks.
No! It's because the second book already failed me, and this book was no better.
This entire thing was full of words and no play! And you know? 528 pages is a LOT of boring shit to read!
You happy, Aveyard?
Could I also add in the fact that the characters were as boring as the dirt under their fingernails?
I told you.......worthless. Mare has already gathered up a few members to add to the army. Yet, she sits in a crusty ass dungeon after being captured. Does she do anything to get out? NO!

They talked about war for the past two books!
What do the readers expect? WAR.
But there is NOTHING going on. They train and train, for endless hours, plan and talk for endless hours. To prepare them for what?! It's already been two books. A thousand pages and weeks of reading!
There's not much to say about this book if there's not much to read!
Profile Image for Tweebs♥️ .
184 reviews837 followers
November 2, 2017
"Wtf was this?" a novel by Tweebs

Out in stores this coming March. Make sure to get yourself a copy because it's slowly climbing up the NYT Best-sellers List and it's not even out yet. Also, this just came in.....Paramount Pictures bought rights to make this novel into a movie.

The dream cast has already been selected and, "wtf is this" will star:

"Mommy, why art thou torture thy self?"

"Drinking Bleach right now"

"The Lord is testing me"

"Disappoint. Disappoint everywhere "

And many more A-List Celebrities!!

Critiques are saying:

"Tweebs is goals"

"I aspire to be like Tweebs"

"Tweebs = LIFE"

For further info, contact Tweebs' publisher, "I'M DONE" , at wtfwasthisshit@hotmail.com
Profile Image for Katrina♡••.
405 reviews68 followers
February 14, 2017

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!!!!!!

So guys this was one of my favourite series but this book just made me so upset. I hate it!!!! I feel to laugh in Mare's face at the end. Bitch. I am so happy that that happened! I think that's one of the only positives. Oh and these are just my taught and opinions ;)

So I finally decided to do a proper review.
I gave this book 2*. I won't lie the first half was enjoyable. The sarcasm was on point and I loved the whole weird feelings and relationship between Mare and Maven. It was interesting and reminded me so much of Unravel Me that it just broke my heart.
The whole plot with Cameron and Cal and crew was just a yawn fest for me.
However I finally realised what people mean about Mare. My eyes was finally open to see how she is a self centered bitch. Everything must revolve around her or else she will find a way for the plot to become so. For example Maven stayed away from Mare for like about a month and because she was bored and felt as if he was not paying her any attention she made it her duty to get his attention. Its ridiculous. Why does the author goad on readers in a certain direction and just totally do the opposite by the end of the book? Why give me hope? I can understand if you don't fool readers and tell them about one thing but then and stick with that. Then there is no reason to get angry. But when you make me feel one way and then just snatch it away???? Just for fan reaction I get angry and pissed.
Anyway so the plot pretty much was non existent. You can skip this one really and go on to book 4.
Surprisingly I liked Cal better in this book than the last. I totally understand why he did what he did. Once again Mare cough*ass* tries to make him feel bad. Cal is so much more than the author makes him out to be. He reminds ma a bit of Chaol though.
I just have a bad feeling that Maven will die in the next book. I hope not. I really do. At this point I can just read an entire book from his perspective. My heart broke for him in this book. Such a strong character. I feel so sorry for him. Why can't Maven just be happy and get a good ending? Is it too much to ask????? Maven is a character who needs time and his character needs to be fleshed out properly so that he can be understood and not misread.Come on Victoria. You can do better. Gonna say this now: if book 4 turns out the way i hope then i will totally try to look pass the sheer stupidity of this one. Anyway let me stop my rambling for now. May or may not read the last book.

For the Mare & Maven shippers

Edit (taught before reading)
my link text. Guys the books trailer!!!!!!Maven!!!!!!Aggggggggghhhhhbfhskkd

Lets remind ourselves of how sexy Maven is!
The shadow of the flame. He is certainly ablaze, but darkness eats at his edges. Bruise-like splotches of black and blue surround eyes bloodshot with silver veins. He has not slept. He’s thinner than I remember, leaner, crueler. His hair, black as a void, has reached his ears, curling at the ends, and his cheeks are still smooth.


Guys! Tomorrow!!! Despite what happens that's that. I am going into it with low expectations, because when I go in in the highs everything is just awful if I expect too much and that has happened a lot especially with Throne of Glass series for me. Good luck everyone!

I need the time to sapped up to Feb 7th! I don't think I can wait any longer! The suspense is killing me!!!!!
A snippet
Knowing it's what he wants to see, I let the tears of frustration overwhelm and fall. He tracks their paths with hunger

I know Maven still has feelings for Mare.

It has a cover!!!! And its a crown made of BONES!!!!!
A bag of mysteries, this book!!!
All Will Burn...

Title!!!!! We have a title KING'S CAGE!!!!
No no. No no!!!!!
This. Can't . Be!!!!!!
I need my Mavey ship to sail!!!

Profile Image for Helen 2.0.
288 reviews783 followers
January 9, 2018
New footage from the inside of Mare's head has been recently discovered!

Along with some new images on the current state of Norta!

And this exclusive update from Scarlet Guard command HQ!

Hope you're all having a better day than Mare is! ;)
Profile Image for Cesar.
355 reviews235 followers
June 28, 2017
2.5 stars

WARNING! This review will contain spoilers. I will first talk about non-spoiler stuff then I'll switch to a spoiler chat. If you have not read King's Cage, then don't continue. Or if you don't have any intention on reading the Red Queen series, then welcome.


To say I was disappointed would be correct.

To say that I was glad I was done reading King's Cage would also be correct.

EpicReads (who I like) overhyped the hell out of this series. It's not the best series ever, but it isn't bad. The Red Queen series is just a mixture of every YA dystopia/fantasy ever. The series isn't something new. Not to mention how several people are saying Victoria ripped off Red Rising by Pierce Brown. (Darrow. Mare Barrow. Caste system by color. Royalty, etc.) So the series isn't something to write home about. But it's entertaining. But boy this series is pretty... meh.

There's also been controversy about Mare's ethnicity and skin color. In the book trailers, the actress who portrays Mare is white. Also, there wasn't a clear description of Mare in Red Queen. So I, and I'm sure a lot of people, thought Mare was white. Later, in the second book, Victora wrote Mare as being olive skinned. And cue the controversy. This was a problem to people for two reasons.

1) Mare's sister, Gisa. Gisa has red hair. I'm not a genetics expert so don't take my word as 100% accurate, but if Mare is olive skinned, how does Gisa have red hair if red hair isn't common in olive skinned people or of darker colors? Victoria said something about genetics which, like I said, I'm not a genetics expert (not to mention there isn't a clear description of Mare's parents' skin tones), so I'm not sure how this works.

2) There have been people accusing Victoria of commercial tokenism. (I just want to say upfront that I am not accusing Victoria as this. If she had Mare olive skinned from the beginning, then Mare is olive skinned.) When it comes to authors writing characters of different ethnicities, sexual orientation, and skin color, it comes naturally because... people like them exist. It's organic and feels natural. Victoria on the other hand never said what Mare REALLY looked like in the first book. And in book 2 and 3, her skin color is described better (Even though based on the book trailers, the actress was white). Of course, it's been a year since I've read book 1 and I might have missed something. It's great to have POC. This is the opinion of some people, not mine. Though Victoria didn't do a good job of properly explaining this whole fiasco. Not looking good for you, Victoria.

Enough about that, onto the review!

This is definitely the weakest book out of the series so far. And who knows how the last book will end. There were times where I was bored reading about Mare and... well, mainly bored in general. This book is all just filler, descriptions, and dialogue with little action spread out. I hate books like that. But before I talk about King's Cage, let me give you a run-down.

So Mare (if you Google Mare, it means a female horse. A horse. Smooth one, Victoria) has been captured by Maven and is a prisoner in his palace. Mare is incapable of using her powers and is trapped. She must find a way to escape in order to tell the Scarlet Guard what Maven is planning on doing.

As interesting at the premise is, the book failed to capture my attention as well as having little to no character development for Mare. Literally, the first 2/3rds of the book was filler and the last bit was rushed action. Aside from that, nothing else happened. Just talking and talking and talking and descriptions and more talking and more talking and *snore*


Based on the premise alone, this book was mainly political with a few talks of war tactics in it. That's all fine and dandy, but it was BORING!!!
Look, I've read the Winner's trilogy and that was a politically based series and I liked it. The plot kept me invested and the character growth and development helped keep me interested. King's Cage failed on all aspects of being a politically based book. All we got was Mare being a cry-baby, feeling sorry for herself and very little action.

I kid you not, 70% of the story is filler and the 30% is actual plot/action. There has to be an even balance between the two. The Winner's trilogy did that well. Not King's Cage.

Luckily, Cameron and another character saved the book. Cameron is without a doubt my favorite character in the series. I love her personality and her snarky attitude. She is probably the only character who sees how big of a mess the Scarlet Guard is and is not afraid to say it. She's blunt and I love it! The other character, I was surprised we got to see from her perspective. I wasn't expecting that. I can see how she may not be a favorite character to others, but I love how Cameron says things how they are. No sugarcoating, no holding back.


In this book, we get three POVs. Mare, Cameron, and... someone. (Trying to keep this part spoiler-free as much as possible.) I'm half and half about this format. Half of me liked it because I didn't have to read from Mare's POV as often (not to mention I get to read from Cameron's POV). But on the otherhand, I didn't see how this helped. Parts of it felt like chunks of the story was left out. Plus, the majority of it was Mare's POV. Which... ugh. I get that with these three characters, they offer insight on what each one is doing and what they're doing, but it didn't do a good job at it sometimes.

Though this may be simple and small, I have to say it. Victoria is not good with naming people, cities, and countries. There's a map in the book and the name of the cities are not good. Like Victoria just jumbled up some words to make them seem like a fantasy name and went with it. Nevermind that some names are lazy.

Now, let's get to the nitty gritty and talk about the book and characters.



Fucking Mare Barrow.


(Yes, I will refer to her as a horse from now on.)

I don't when know where to begin with this shit of a character. This annoying, whining, self-absorbed pathetic excuse of a character.

Mare really got on my nerves sometimes. She is by far, the worst character I have ever encountered in a book/series. Victoria tries to write her as this brave and powerful girl who is the face of a rebellion when in reality, she is a self-centered, whiny, bratty horse. You couldn't have picked a better name, Victoria??? Half of the time, Mare was being whiny and the other half she is stubborn and annoying. She also has a habit of breaking fine china. When she get's rescued about the last 1/3rd of the book, she didn't change much either. She was happy and had sex with Cal in the rain. And then, in the end, she was too angry to rationalize her feelings for Cal because he needs to be the king of Norata and overthrow Maven. Instead of being all understanding, she's pissed. Grow the fuck up, Mare and please kindly fuck off.

It annoys me how she is this special snowflake of a character. There are other people out there who can manipulate lightning but she's the strongest one??? I hate it when characters appoint someone the face of a rebellion just because their power is either strong or they are different. Mare isn't the face of a rebellion. She doesn't even deserve that rank.

Cal A.K.A Emo McBroody.

Cal is another character I was disappointed in. Which is sad because I liked him in Glass Sword. In King's Cage, Cal was being Emo McBroody and that did not help him with his development. Emo McBroody over here was pining for Mare (why I have no idea?) and was struggling with his allegiance to the Scarlet Guard and the Silvers. Look, Cal, I understand this is a hard time for you, but you are fighting in a war. Get over it. I feel like his character wasn't given justice because he was hardly seen during the first part of the book.


She is hands down, the best character ever! She was the only character I was rooting for. She had one goal and one goal in mind: rescue his brother. When she did, I thought she would be leaving the Scarlet Guard. Even though she didn't, I'll still root for her.


Maven Maven Maven. Maven. My little Darkling copycat. (Who am I kidding, no villain can top the Darkling.) Throughout King's Cage, we get more insight on Maven and his plans to rule Norta. During Mare's captivity, we find out that Elara had manipulated Maven throughout most of his childhood to make him a perfect prince. Doing so, she also altered his feelings of Cal and his father. Maven says he loved them before, but that it's gone. It kind of made me sad to see him be reduced to this because of his mother. I'm not saying he's a good character, but he's been manipulated to be a villain. Thank God Elara is dead. Even so, he still hasn't changed. And it's clear that he's in love with Mare. Even Mare herself was confused by Maven and his feelings. Clearly, she doesn't like him, but there's something in her that wants to be close to him. Or rather, close to who he was before. Seeing how he is in the end, I doubt he'll get a good ending.


I was surprised by her appearance. I knew Victoria said there would be a third character with her own POV, but I wasn't expecting Evangeline. Even though she didn't have much story time, we get to know what she and her family is planning. When Mare was rescued by the Scarlet Guard, Evangeline and her family escaped. Turns out, her family, along with other royal houses are planning on overthrowing Maven. Clearly, they aren't happy with recent developments and are now rebelling against Maven and the Lakelands. With this turn of events, I'm actually starting to root for Evangeline. Fuck the Scarlet Guard. Evangeline is where it's at!

Kilorn is there. At least he didn't have a big role in this book and we didn't see much of him. I still want him to die. He better die in the next book.

The Scarlet Guard? Fuck them. They are a rebellion I can't see myself rooting for. Half the time they don't even know what they're talking about. And the other half they're being hypocrites.

There's also something I want to mention. It's pretty obvious that Norta and the other nations/countries/whatever are the result of a war-torn North America. If you look at the map, it's clear that Norta is based on the North-East part of the States and the Lakelands consists of a small part of the States and the majority (I assume) is Canada. And by war-torn, I mean bombs and possible nuclear bombs. My theory (and this is just a theory, it's not 100% fact) is that before the events of Red Queen, bombs were set off in the States and possible nuclear bombs. I believe that the nuclear bombs are what gave the Silvers their powers. Plus it has been said in Glass Sword that the Silvers were persecuted by the Reds because they were different and had deadly powers. Eventually, the Silvers had enough and used their powers to rise to the top and make the Reds be on the bottom because of what they have done.

Now, does this mean the Silvers are in the right? No, but it is understandable that the Silvers had had enough of the Reds persecuting them. I do feel bad for the Reds, but they are now trying to dismantle the Silver hierarchy and live in peace. The problem with that, is the Scarlet Guard seem to care more about Reds being the rulers and the Silvers being at the bottom. History repeats itself and the Reds are a perfect example of that. They think they're trying to make a difference and change, but they're making things worse by creating a war between Reds and Silvers. This is why I cannot root for the Scarlet Guard.

As said previously, this is supposed to be a politically based book. Since Mare is forced to attend events and parties with Maven, she learns about alliances between the different states/countries and their leaders. Later on in the book, Maven is betrothed to the princess of the Lakelands (A.K.A. Canada), sealing an alliance between the two. With the uprise of the Scarlet Guard and other Reds rebelling, Maven needs more power. And what better way than to marry the princess of an enemy country? I actually enjoyed this part of the book. But I also want to knock some sense into Maven. Yes, I'm still in the ship of MarexMaven and I was kind of mad he did this. WHY?!?!?!?!

One last note, I had heard that Victoria doesn't really respond well to criticism. I don't know if this is true, but if it is, then Victoria needs to deal with it. Victoria, people aren't going to like your book. Deal with it.


There were parts of King's Cage that were entertaining, but the negatives outweighed the positives. Cameron and parts of the book were the only things I liked. Other than that, the rest was just plain bad. The weakest of the series. I believe the last book will be in big trouble if Victoria doesn't change Mare.

Thanks for reading my review!

Profile Image for Kezia Duah.
377 reviews308 followers
May 2, 2022
“Monsters are most dangerous when they are afraid.”

We’ve made it this far! But do I want to continue, I don’t know. I’m going to put a pause on it and wait for a sign to finish this series.

“I’m starting to think I need a word that means yes and no at the same time.”
Mare is imprisoned by Maven, and during this time she is tortured in many ways. Cal and the newbloods and reds are working to get her back. Do they succeed?

I really liked how the second book explored the effects of betrayal in the minds of Mare and Cal. I was hoping to get more growth out of the characters, but unfortunately, I didn’t get enough. I liked that we got more points of view, my favorite being Cameron. In fact, she is my favorite character now. A Cameron book, please!! And Cal, the problematic king himself. I’m not a fan of his character at all. He has this “I hate everyone but Mare vibe,” and usually this trope is hot, but he just ruins it. What does Mare see in him? This is an honest to god question I have! We also learn more about Maven and how his childhood plays into who he is today.

There are many secrets revealed in the book, and I didn’t really care like I hoped I would. I did like that there was a sense of loyalty among some people, which is interesting since the first two books were more on the betrayal theme. I’m not saying there’s not any kind of betrayal in this book, but I’m also not spilling any spoilers.

I was satisfied with the overall pacing and plot of the book. I really hope that the last books, and maybe the novellas help with my overall enjoyment of the series.

Profile Image for Rosie.
9 reviews76 followers
October 5, 2017
Yeah, I’m Team Maven all the way😉.
Profile Image for TJ.
978 reviews119 followers
June 1, 2017

Why this book?
I read the other books in this series

What I thought

Why oh why did Victoria Aveyard give Cameron a POV? I couldn't stand the little bitch. Also why her? Why didn't Cal get a POV? Speaking of Cal WTF was Cameron's problem with him? All she did was diss him. She actually made me look forward to the Mare parts just to get out of her head. She also made Mare bearable, that's something I thought i'll never say. The ending is the other problem. Lets just say it upset me okay.

With that said it did have its moments, but I still didn't like the addition to the series . Hopefully the next one is better
Profile Image for ~Calliope~.
234 reviews357 followers
January 31, 2023
“You aren’t alone.” The hope in his eyes cuts deeply. “You have your crown.”

Why???? That ending killed me!!!! Now I see it! Now I feel it! Anyone can betray anyone!
I'm still #teamCal even though he broke my heart.

So, I really loved loved loved what happened the middle of the book until the end! It was amazing.. BUT the beginning was so BORINGGGGGG!! Yess, I said it!!

King's Cage was lot of surprises:
1) I don't still hate Maven! I was angry because of what he did! I just feel sorry for him. Elara took his love for his brother and father when he was a child and she tried to take his love for Mare but he said it didn't work! I don't think he loves her anymore. I think he did but Elara took his love for her and it became an obsession. Cal wants to find someone who will be able to fix him. Even if they fix him, I don't think that would be redeemed for what he did.

2)I never thought I would say that but I really liked Evangeline!! I will admit that I hated her in the first book but now I understand her. I admire her loyalty to her parents and brother even though it's against her free will and who she wants to be with. It's really sad that Evangeline, Elaine and Ptolemus have a strange agreement! I hope she end up with who she wants!

3)Mare was less annoying, thank God! Mare FINALLY admits her love for Cal and Cal for her! And life was good... so so good.... until that Cal's grandmother(that bitch) had a plan to Cal become a King! Her plan worked and she fucked us up!!!
Cal accepts it!
Cal didn't choose Mare!
Mare didn't choose Cal!
“I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I thought that was what Maven did to me. When he stood and left me kneeling. When he told me everything I ever thought him to be was a lie. But then, I believed I loved him.
I know now, I didn't know what love was. Or what even the echo of heartbreak felt like.
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.”

4) I don't have anything to say about Cameron even though she had her own POV!
Oww, I have something. Bravo for saving her brother... that's it. I think Kilorn and Cameron would do a good couple. I don't have to say much about him either :P

5)I was so right about Farley's pregnancy!!

Anyway, I admire Farley. She is so strong even though she feels so much pain.

“The person she loved is dead, stolen by someone else. Mine chose to walk away. Chose everything I hate over everything I am. I wonder which hurts more. "

Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews717 followers
February 14, 2020
Mare surrenders herself over to Maven to protect the others who were with her when they were caught; after what happened to Shadow she couldn't bare to get anyone else in harms way. Maven is content with putting Mare on display, using her to spread his propaganda in public while keep her chained up in the castle at all other times using Silent Stone to repress her powers. The other Silvers are discontent with Maven and move to usurp his power forcing Maven to make alliances with former enemies, Lakelands, to strength his forces. Maven continues to grow paranoid, relying on Mare as his sole confident.

Meanwhile the Scarlet Guard and Cal spend their time organizing and preparing for war. Their alliance with Montfort provides them with much needed supplies and power as well as other New Bloods with experience and training to train the ones the Scarlet Guard has been recruiting. Only time will tell though about Montfort's own intentions for helping the Scarlet Guard and what the price of the alliance may be.

I think this would have been my favorite of the series and even ended up on my favorites shelf if not for a few things. First off I didn't really enjoy Cameron or Evangeline's POVs. I mean it was necessary to keep the reader informed about what was happening outside of Mare's imprisonment but like I love Mare and I can't stand people hating her so I automatically got annoyed with Cameron and Evangeline. I can't help myself because no matter what Mare does I'm just like it's ok I love you always. Second I don't know how much of the history we've started to get I buy into. I understand that they have a certain level of technology and understand genetics but I feel like it was implied both of those have been known about for a while and so I'm wondering why no progress on either end was made? It just feels strange that all of this has existed long enough without anything new happening but long enough for a mutated gene to take over so much of the gene pool. It just seemed in Red Queen that the book was taking place in a time without as much advancement but I guess not. It just doesn't feel coherent and I don't buy it but I'm willing to keep reading and see where this is going. Third I still don't care at all about Cal. He's such a boring character and so cliched. The dark brooding hero. Like go away Cal.

Otherwise I really enjoyed this book. I like that we're getting a more complex picture of the world and the politics in it, and I love seeing how things play out. I know other people didn't enjoy it but I loved it. I also really enjoyed the whole imprisonment arc because of how well done it felt to me. Especially Mare's struggle with her empathy for Maven and how much she misses the person she thought he was. Maven continues to make me want to die because why are you being such a piece of shit but I can't stop feeling sorry for him and wishing he would just cut it out and fix everything god damn it Maven. I love Maven but I hate Maven. I love Farley though and like can't she and Mare run off and raise the baby together and fuck this political bullshit. I also really liked Dane Davidson and I can't wait to read the next book and get more of him. I'm pretty satisfied with how things are unfolding and can't wait for whatever's going to happen next.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,074 followers
June 2, 2018
“Now I’m in a King’s cage. But so is he. My chains are silent stone. His is the crown.”

I’m having a real dilemma with this series. On the one hand, it’s easy to read, there are a lot of great characters and an exciting plot.

On the other hand, Mare is still pretty insufferable. She spent 6 months in Maven’s palace Whitefire, being tortured within an inch of her life and paraded around as a pet the rest of the time. This was a good plot device. However, Mare soon began repeating herself on a regular basis ‘I want to kill Maven” “I wish I could kill Maven” etc. Etc. While her point was valid, I knew how she felt the first time, it didn’t need repeating every couple of pages!
The second half of the book was just as bad. Having escaped her prison all she would do is remind us of the prison she escaped. Like yes I know this - I read 150 pages about it!

I liked the chapters from Cameron’s POV - she was great and super relatable. I also appreciated the few chapters from Evangeline’s POV they were really interesting to see all the inter house politics.

But overall, I can’t get used to Mare. She is vastly irritating. Unfortunately after this ending I still need to read the last one to see how it will all end, because I need to know! But I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy it - my patience with this series is wearing thin.
Profile Image for Coreen Angelie.
319 reviews70 followers
February 28, 2017

"Samos, Calore, Cygnet. The Rift, Norta, the Lakelands. All driven by greed, all ready to break one another for an already broken crown."

Why do authors insist on torturing their readers? I mean, there's the ending to the Crystal Storm and now this. Why shatter my heart into two and make me wait for another year to piece it back together? Why Victoria Aveyard? Why Morgan Rhodes? Why Rick Riordan? WHYYYYYYYYY?!
I still love the torture, so no regrets. Lol

After being stuck with the paranormal romance world —which was kinda bleak compared to the YA fantasy world— I was left craving for a genre like this.

Victoria Aveyard's writing style never changed. It was still captivating and impossible to put down once you started reading it.
The character development of Mare, Maven and Cal was outstanding. They all learned from their past mistakes and changed for the better... or worse.

Mare, her growth as a character was so shocking (See the connection? Lightning girl = shocking. Lol I made myself laugh). From a whiny broken girl she evolved into a cunning and strong willed woman. She refused to believe what she sees and was constantly suspicious about everything.

Cal, I saw only a few glimpses of this broken prince in this book but it was enough to build my love for his character. I mean, aside from the fact that he is smoking hot (that's a pun again) he refused to give up his love for his younger brother. Despite the torture that Maven did to Mare, the deception and the betrayal. He still believes that his brother can change. Not that I can blame him, I love Maven too.

Maven, there's just something broken about him that I wanted to fix and I think that's the reason why people adore Calore. Things about his personality became more crystal clear in this novel. I used to love him more than Cal but I'm afraid I love Cal more than him now, but no need to worry I still love him all the same. Lol

Everything about this book was great, the world building, the characters, the battle, the romance. It all screams perfection and I couldn't agree more to it.

Profile Image for Nasom.
195 reviews139 followers
May 23, 2018
This is by far the best book of the series so far. Mare was far less annoying.

I can’t believe Glass sword was a 1 star read for me while this was 4 stars. Who would have thought? I’m glad I continued reading.

Things I liked
- I love how action-packed this was. Some I saw coming, some I didn’t

- The first thing I noticed was that this wasn’t in only Mare’s POV and that made me excited because if you’ve been following my reviews and updates of this series, you would know I don’t like her. Ironically, I didn’t really mind her chapters in this. She was aight

- Evangeline’s chapters were my favourite. I just love her and her mob-like family. I love how powerful her father is that he doesn't have to look powerful to be feared. I love her and her brother’s relationship, although some things were weird about it

- Although Maven is….Maven, he made this book really interesting


- Cal’s grandmother. I love how fearless she is and how loyal she is to her grandson 💕

There were a few things I didn’t like
- I don’t like Cameron. I don’t know why she had a POV. She was so annoying and wasn’t important enough for her own perspective. There were better people I would have loved to have instead of her.

- Mare during the epilogue

Okay, can we have a Cal and Maven POV in the final book?? And no more Cameron, please.

Something bad better not happen to Cal in War Storm 😤
Profile Image for Katrin D.
287 reviews458 followers
February 18, 2017
The heartbreak is real. I think I actually stopped breathing while reading the epilogue.

Can I have RQ 4 like...now?

I will write a normal review once I'm...not depressed after finishing this book. Which, I hope, will not be next year.



28.06.2016: The cover is LOVE!

On second thought, though, it should have been more bloody. That would have been amazing.

22.06.2016: OMG, did the title just appear today??? It's amazing, I'm satisfied!
Profile Image for Ahmed  Ejaz.
549 reviews325 followers
March 3, 2017
☆☆2.5 Stars☆☆
Power seduces all, and it makes us blind.
This book was my most wanted book. I wanted to read this book more than anything. Anything!! When I got my hands on this, I was kind of...repenting. Repenting on what I was wanting.
First of all, this book's beginning was different from Glass Sword's which was kind of very slow. Beginning of this book was looking breath-taking. I thought I would get more than I wanted. But this book couldn't be able to give what I even expected.

Book begins exactly where the last book ended. Mare is on the edge of death (apparently) but rather than killing her, Maven sets her for a propaganda. He sets her for every bad deed he will be going to commit.
The main development in this book is HISTORY. We get to know more about the world, how it came into existence, how the discrimination of the world was made, how the war was first started and for what etc...

=> When I saw Maven didn't kill Mare, I was shocked. Then I thought 'Maven couldn't be that kind. Oh! He is Elara's son after all. He will must make her suffer more than she deserves'. But NO. Her punishment was only to wear manacles made of silent stone. With manacles, she was allowed to live like a princess.

=> This book is the most boring book I have ever read. Really! Except for 4 to 5 chapters, this book is a total junk. Useless! Just to waste pages (by which most of the trees could have been saved..lol) and to fill the so-called 3rd book in the series of 4 books. I am not quite understanding this! What is the point in making the series of 4 books? 3 or 2 sounds a lot better for this type of story.

=> Mare, I am beginning to hate her more. The more I was reading her, the more I found myself hating her. She always thinks that everyone is trying to kill her. Her thinking is soo over! Kind of exaggerated. Or at one moment she is willing to be killed and another she is afraid of being killed. She is such a confusion. At least for me.

=> Whenever there is the name of Maven, there must be the name of her mother. Like I don't know Maven is Elara's son. Why there is a need of constant reminder!

=> Cameron, she is more insufferable than Mare. Her POV is a true torture for me. Her POV is supposed to show us the proceedings of Scarlet Guard as Mare is in Maven's so-called Cage. That's okay and I completely understand it. But when this book tells her background, that's not okay for me. Why would I want to know that. She isn't even one of main characters. She is just a filler. This thing just helps in making the book more insufferable.

=> I didn't like how this book has changed Evengeline. Well, I couldn't get the point in doing so. That could have been different.


I am quite disappointed right now. But equally curious about the last novel. Really hope for a good conclusion. :(

All will burn [cover says]
And All has burned
Don't let this happen to the next one. Please, Mrs. Aveyard!

March 1, 2017
Profile Image for Madita.
523 reviews19.1k followers
March 29, 2022
First I lived that we had multiple pov’s in this book, especially Cameron’s since I loved her in the last book but wow this book took a turn.
I thought they were prepared to fight and take over. Nope.

I’m just confused on why we get introduced to so many new characters in the last book but then get even more in this book?
There are too many people overall that are just random and have no real meaning in the story but you somehow need to know them all.
Profile Image for ♥ℂĦℝΪՖƬΪℕÅ.
230 reviews3,933 followers
September 19, 2019
3.5 All Will Burn ★'s

“Now I'm in a king's cage. But so is he. My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.”

“I thought I knew what heartbreak was. I thought that was what Maven did to me. When he stood and left me kneeling. When he told me everything I ever thought him to be was a lie. But then, I believed I loved him.”

Small spoilers may insue

DAMN, 'King's Cage' gave me so many feels! And that ending for reals broke my heart 😭😭. Damn you Cal, damn youuuuuu!!!!! Damn the crown, damn it all to the hells!

Though I did like this book, I gotta say it has to be my least favorite in this series thus far. I guess I was expecting a lot more with Mare's imprisonment and her being King Maven's puppet. Maven, the guy she once loved. Mare was basically left in a room, a room with great accommodations mind you. Sure there was that (ONE) time when she was mentally tortured by a Whisper. Yeah okay, it was pretty freaking bad and I really felt for her!! And being handcuffed with silent stone to suppress her lightning ability that left her feeling a deep sense of loss because she couldn't touch her power... Mare is powerless without her lightning. But still, I would have like a bit more torture or something! Other than Mare's pride being broken and being paraded around for all the world to see it could have been a hells of a lot worse! I'm giving it a 3.5 star because I know it could have so much better :D Victoria Aveyard writing was done very nicely, I just really don't care for Cameron's POV. I am NOT a big fan of her's, all she does is shit talk ♥Cal♥! I really like the plot of these books, the world is well thought out and the characters are pretty fantastic, minus a couple of them lol! Sure, Mare is a bit self-righteous at times and annoying at others but it wouldn't be Red Queen without her :) Even though the ending mad me upset with Cal and his decision, he's sill, my man! I love Cal so very much but its true he really can't make up his own mind and instead, he does as others expect of him. Okay well, I'm gonna keep this one short because I can't wait another minute to start the final book in this series War Storm!!!

#teamCal Forever!!

“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.”

“I kiss him for what could be, what might be, what will be—the last time. His lips feel strangely cold as we both turn to ice.”

“You aren’t alone.” The hope in his eyes cuts deeply. “You have your crown.”
Profile Image for Bhavya .
476 reviews873 followers
May 26, 2021
"Not a god’s chosen, but a god’s cursed."

Rating- 3.75 stars

Content/ Trigger Warnings-Violence, blood, death, confinement, torture, language

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard is book 3 in the Red Queen series.

*Spoiler alert for Red Queen and Glass Sword*

No one is more surprised with this rating than me.

To give you a bit of a background, I didn't like Red Queen so much, but I read on as I heard the series gets better. I then read Glass Sword, which I hated and wrote a huge rant on.

And then I read book 3, King's Cage which I expected to hate, but I actually liked.

*le shock*

Now don't get me wrong, the plot and world- building here is just as non-existent as Glass Sword and the writing comprises of constant repetitions of words like sneer, smirk, flinch, wince and some others, BUT I still enjoyed this book.


As it had the only things two I love about this series;
1. Maven
2. Farley

And so I liked it.

Let's break this down, because despite my high rating this is still a rant.

The plot

This book is told from 3 perspectives; Mare, Cameron and Evangeline.

The plot consists of a few random things: Mare being Mare, Cameron trying to free her brother, and Evangeline being the best thing this book has to offer.

Honestly, there’s not much that happens in this plot. Mare is imprisoned in the castle, Cameron is the one giving us the background of the scarlet guard, and Evangeline is the one who is giving us information on the nobles.

The book does pick up around halfway, and we see some court politics which builds intrigue, but otherwise the plot was just ok ok.

The ending was good though.

The world building

There’s no world building in this series.

We get a bit insight into the different places of this world, but it’s not properly explained and I have no idea of all the places here, how far they are from each other etc. It’s not properly developed.

The writing

I don’t really have much to say on the writing. I felt some scenes were well written, but most of it was just dull. I can’t really explain this, but even the action scenes didn’t keep me at the edge of my seat.

It’s like someone suddenly attacks, then the character ‘sees stars’ and their ‘vision spots’ and they try to compose themselves and move and the same thing happens with another character, only for it to repeat again and again. I found it boring.

The characters


“Now I'm in a king's cage. But so is he. My chains are Silent Stone. His is the crown.”

Mare Barrow, our protagonist. Her POV for this book comprises of this:

1. Mare is being kept in a luxury hotel like prison; with a private bathroom, a huge library, along with 3 meals a day, BUT she is still moping about how bad her life is there.

"But like a dog starved, I’ll take whatever scraps I’m given. Whatever passes for kindness in this lonely cage."

I mean what do you want Mare? You have a whole library to yourself.

But ok, fine. The silent stone thing might have been difficult to deal with, but EVERY OTHER THING about this prison sounds amazing Mare. You need to think over your life decisions.

How does a personal library not sound good?

“I would prefer death to this cage, to the twisted obsession of a mad boy king.”

Well whatever.

2. As Mare lives in said prison, she talks about the *struggles* of living there all alone for, um... 3/4th of the book.

“The crushing weight of silence hangs heavy as always. For a moment it's too difficult to breathe, and I wonder if this is how I die. Drowned in this bed of silk, burned by a king's obsession, smothered by open air.”

I get it. Silent stone is hard to deal with. Understood. Move on, please?

3. Mare having some conversations with Maven, which was the only good part of her POV.

"Through it all, I stare at the boy on the throne. He maintains his mask. Jaw clenched, lips pressed into a thin, unforgiving line. Still fingers, straight back. But his gaze wavers. Something in his eyes has gone far away. And at his collar, the slightest gray flush rises, painting his neck and the tips of his ears.

He's terrified.

For a second, it makes me happy. Then I remember―monsters are most dangerous when they're afraid."

Now that was about Mare. Let's talk about Cameron.

Cameron’s POV comprises of the following:

1. Cameron hates Mare and Cal

“The fallen prince is exhausting. I don't know how Mare could stand him or his inability to choose a damned side-especially when there's only one side he can possibly pick.”

2. Cameron keeps talking about hating said Mare and Cal

“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this," he hisses through gritted teeth.
Swooning words. A romantic declaration. I can barely stop my eyes from rolling.
"Save it for when we get her back," I grumble.

These were the only moments I liked Cameron, as we both bonded over our mutual hatred for Mare and Cal.

Apart from that, she also does this;

3. The whole book she talks about getting her brother out, and while her feelings are understandable it made the book painfully boring.

“As much as I want Mare back, I want someone else more.”

Farley and the rest keep telling her why it's a bad idea, and why this is an unrealistic demand.

“Cameron, your brother is embedded in a legion. It’s not like pulling out a tooth.”

But of course she doesn’t listen.

“I’m not asking for your help or the Guard’s. I just need a map and maybe a gun. I’ll do the bleeding rest myself.”

Can you stop it too, please?

The audiobook narration didn’t help, as I personally hated the narration for Cameron.

And now we have Evangeline

“If there was ever a person begging for an elbow to the face, it is Evangeline Samos.”

She was probably the only good part of this book. I liked her. Unfortunately for me, I hated her audiobook narration so her part got ruined.

“We are silver houses of noble and ancient blood, allied with rebels, criminals, servants and thieves. Abilities or not, our ways of life stand in direct opposition. Our goals are not the same. The council chamber is a powder keg. If I'm lucky it will explode. Blow apart any threat of marriage. Destroy the cage they want to put me back in.”


Cal is the most boring part of this book.


I just don’t like him, and I don’t get what everyone sees in him?

He is a boring piece of cardboard.


I don’t want to talk about Cal.


She is amazing. We Stan her.

She somehow manages to hold an entire army, WHILE she’s pregnant and no one gives her enough credit.

She’s better than all the characters in this book. I wanted her POV. Not Cameron.

Cameron can go die in a hole.

And now let’s talk about Maven , who is my favourite character of this series.

“Maven Calore is not his own self. He told me as much. He is a construct, a creation of his mother's additions and subtractions. A mechanical, a machine, soulless and lost. What a horror, to know that someone like this holds our fates in the palm of his quivering hand.”

Maven is a well developed morally grey character.

“And his eyes are worst of all. Her eyes, Elara's eyes. Once I thought them cold, made of living ice. Now I know better. The hottest fires burn blue, and his eyes are no exception.”

In this book, we get to hear his backstory and it was beautiful.

“I love your brother, Maven. You were right. You are only a shadow, and who looks at shadows when they have flame? Who would ever choose a monster over a god?”

“You're like Thomas was. You are the only person I care about, the only person who reminds me I am alive. Not empty. And not alone.”

My heart hurt for him and his story and he was one of the only 2 reasons I liked this book so much.

I would say this is where he finally got his time to shine.

“I have no illusions where Maven is concerned. I know his twisted heart, and that it feels something for me. Something he wants to get rid of, but can never part with.”

The romance

I don’t care about Mare or Cal, they can be together.

Maven deserves better than Mare.

Audiobook Comments

I didn’t like the audiobook narration at all. The only one that was good was Mare’s.

Cameron’s narration felt too old for her age, and Evangeline was fine but I imagined her voice to be different and hence I didn’t like it.

All of the side-characters voices change according to the person narrating and that felt very inconsistent.

I personally wouldn’t recommend the audiobook.

Why did I rate it 3.75 stars?

This book wasn’t great. It has a lot of issues. But I liked it because of Maven and Farley. If it wasn’t for them, then this would have got a much lower rating.

Final thoughts

If you loved Red Queen and Glass Sword, then you will love this book. But if you didn't like those, then you will mostly be disappointed.

“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.”

My reviews and ratings for other books in this series-
Red Queen- 3 stars
Glass Sword- 2 stars

DISCLAIMER- All opinions on books I’ve read and reviewed are my own, and are with no intention to offend anyone. If you feel offended by my reviews, let me know how I can fix it.

How I Rate-
1 star- Hardly liked anything/ was disappointed
2 star- Had potential but did not deliver/ was disappointed
3 stars- Was ok but could have been better/ was average / Enjoyed a lot but something was missing
4 stars- Loved a lot but something was missing
5 stars- Loved it/ new favourite


Writing this review now. Will be up in a while.


3.75 stars (maybe)

Ok, I’ll be honest I actually, very surprisingly enjoyed this book. Now, nothing really happens in this book. Really. The plot is just as non-existent, the world building is very less and the little that’s there is info-dumped and I didn’t like the audiobook narration.

BUT I still liked this book! I liked it enough to finish it in 2 days time (which isn’t rare for me, but I still do it only when I’m very invested)

Also, I pity every person who had to wait for book 4 after that ending. Lucky for me, I’m on it now. :)

Detailed review to come soon.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 16,797 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.