I have always been a sucker for so-bad-they’re-good things. I love shows like Gossip Girl and devour movies like Love, Actually. When it comes to books, I like to think I have better taste. But, the truth is, however poorly written and dully executed a novel like King’s Cage is, I still love it. I am a huge fan of Victoria Aveyard. I have met her multiple times at book festivals like YALLWest and have reviewed every single one of her books (Red Queen, Glass Sword).
Aveyard’s first novel, Red Queen, was fantastic. The plot was unique and compelling and the characters were interesting and likable. Unfortunately, Glass Sword, the sequel to Red Queen, and King’s Cage, the third novel in the series, fell short for me. The writing in both novels was overly dramatic, even silly at times. Besides this, the only character I grew to like was Evangeline Samos, who has been competition to Mare, the protagonist (Evangeline is not the antagonist per se, but not on Mare’s side) since the first page. Evangeline was a breath of fresh air- a reminder of what Aveyard can do.
“I know now I didn’t know what love was. Or what even the echo of heartbreak felt like”
What I felt King’s Cage lacked the most was great character writing. There are three narrators in this novel, all of whom sound more or less the same. These characters, especially Mare Barrow (the titular character in Red Queen) made choices that felt like they were made for the plot to continue, not because it was the correct choice for the character. However drawn out King’s Cage was (it just hits 500 pages) Aveyard still kept me turning pages. The plot wasn’t particularly interesting, but she is fantastic at dangling secrets and intrigue right beyond your reach.
I will continue to read Aveyard’s writing, even after her latest efforts. Maybe it’s my love for so-bad-they’re-good things, but I know she can get back to the distinctive writing she showcased in Red Queen, even if it takes a couple more tries.