I will try to write a coherent review but I don’t think I can hold back all these damn emotions I’m feeling right now! This book turned me upside down and I just want to hug Victoria Averyard.
I don’t think I’ll give a summary because, well, you should just trudge through the second and read this and find out for yourself. But in this book there is a lot more military strategy and more politics. The world of Norta really opens up and we finally get introduced to the neighboring countries: the Lakelands, Piedmont, and Montmort. I could tell that Averyard did her homework and made the complicated relationships of countries with differing views, real. I really enjoyed the tactical turn this book went, but after the end of the second book, there was only one solution, war.
Mare, oh God, I love Mare. I know so many people hated her in the last book, but I loved her and King’s Cage made me love her more. This girl deals with PTSD, loss, and sees the worse side of humanity. She’s always been alone, and I adore her so much for being afraid yet being strong despite her fear.
Then there is Maven. Our dear Maven, I don’t know if redemption will even be possible for him. He is a monster created by circumstance, as so many are, and Victoria Aveyard let us see deeper into his mind this book. I appreciate that because although he wrong, utterly wrong, you can’t help but understand him a little better. My heart broke for him.
Now Cal, my sweet indecisive prince. You mended my and Mare’s heart and gave us hope, and then shattered it completely, just like the last book. (I’m seeing a trend here). I know A LOT of readers do not feel the chemistry between Mare and Cal, but I do. It is very subtle but very powerful, and I was proven correct on how much they love each other in this book. Cal is uber romantic in the most meaningful ways, but he isn’t without his flaws as we see at the end of the book. His decision combined with Mare, made me want to run in the book and fix everything. I really hope in the next book, things work out, but I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better.
Something I really enjoyed was Evangeline’s point of view. I was surprisingly into it and it really aided in understand the decisions and negotiations made during the battles. I don’t think we would have understood otherwise. She is still a bitch. But I can appreciate her now that she is more layered in her characters.
This book left me feeling so heartbroken and empty and I just want to curl up and never leave my bed.
ALSO, those acknowledgments, though. Wow. Thank you, Victoria, thank you. Those acknowledgments were beautiful and much needed. I think I shed a few tears when I read them. In a book about standing up for what is right, I appreciate when authors or other well-known individuals use their platform to take a stand, unafraid. I know in the coming years I will look to your acknowledgments and gather the strength I need to persist, to resist, to rise up.