Review: King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard


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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.

King’s Cage is book three in the Red Queen series.

Okay, so for some reason this series seems to be getting a lot of hate, and as soon as there’s hate, people get nit-picky and shred every aspect of the book.

For my reviews, I base them solely around whether the author kept me entertained. Did they do their job and help me escape the real world? Yes? Automatically at least three stars. The other two stars are made up by taking a deeper look at a combination of character, pacing, and plot.

I don’t believe this book deserves the one- and two-star ratings it has been getting but art is subjective and everyone has the right to an opinion. This is simply mine.

I loved King’s Cage. Mare is such as easy character to sympathise with because she is driven and has agency. She spends a lot of this book locked up as Maven’s—what? Toy, maybe?—and while that could have gotten old fast, Aveyard really amped up the tension between them in a way that keeps interest. She’s also grown a lot as a character. There is less brashness and more calculation and planning. I also loved when she realized what a dick she had been to people in the previous book.

As always, the secondary characters are on point. Evangeline is one of those characters I love to hate and she did not disappoint. There is a lot of character growth for her also, and it is easy to see her being the hero of her own story, despite how much her story opposes Mare’s.

Cal is still a hunk, and Maven is still a twisted lunatic who was absolutely addictive to read.

I with there had been more Kilorn, and I really could have done without Cameron’s chapters—I didn’t even remember who she was to begin with so by the time I figured it out, I really didn’t care.

And while they’re still knee-deep in rebellion, Aveyard has added even more depth to the struggle for Norta, which I won’t spoil here, but has the potential for her to take book four in literally any direction.

My favourite parts of all these books are the battle scenes, and the scenes with Mare and Cal. So it makes sense that when her and Cal finally reunite in the midst of a huge fight, I was cheering them on for days.

This book is on the long side for YA fiction and thankfully keeps the pace throughout. There are no areas that felt boring or stale and I loved how one scene propelled you on to the next. After Mare escapes Maven though, it kind of felt like the rest of the book was all epilogue, getting ready to set up the next book. I mean, there were some great scenes in there and I still loved reading it, but the highlight of the book was definitely Mare’s escape.

I totally recommend this book.


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Heather is rep’d by Carrie Howland of Empire Literary

Author interview: Scarlett Dawn

We interview author Scarlett Dawn, signed to Australian-based Harlequin digital imprint Escape Publishing, on her upcoming NA release King Hall.


AO&R: Welcome, Scarlett, and thanks for joining us on the blog! You’re ten days away from potential release. How do you feel?

SD: Excited. Nervous. Frantic. Hopeful. Just about every emotion in the book! Honestly, I just really hope others enjoy King Hall as much as I did writing it.


AO&R: Give us the cheat’s guide to King Hall.

SD: Whoa. That’s a tall order. Let me see…

King Hall is the start of Lily’s story. She’s a hybrid, a Shifter/Vampire, who should have been killed by the Executioner at birth. Her already chaotic existence unravels further when her mother passes away, and her sadistic uncle becomes her legal guardian and throws her into the most prestigious Mystical school in the world, King Hall. Used to hiding in Commoner schools, it’s a reality shock for her, but not all so dreadful because she finds her mate, Dominic, there.

Until it changes. When she thinks her life couldn’t become more complicated, it does…

Author’s hush-hush note: Pay special attention to every word, every phrase, and every glance. The Forever Evermore Novels are as much a mystery as they are romance.


AO&R: What was your biggest challenge when writing this book?

SD: I’m wearing a small, knowing smile right now reading this question. LOL Refer to the author note above. The main challenge came from making the storyline an “unknown” the reader wouldn’t see coming.

Sorry! *hugs* I can’t say any more on it.


AO&R: King Hall is a NA publication; how did you feel about branding your book in this genre when there is so much controversy about it?

SD: This is a great question. When I wrote King Hall a few years ago, I didn’t know anything about branding. I just wrote what I wanted, what stories came to me. This particular series really took hold, and I kept writing.

And writing.

And writing.

Until I was done.

Even after writing the last sentence of the last book, I still knew nothing about branding. A few months later, when I started investigating on how to query, I read an article on New Adult. It fit. It was that easy for me. If it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, then it’s most likely a duck. Same for The Forever Evermore series.

That said, I probably could have branded this particular novel, King Hall, as YA (even though their ages are 19-22), but I had to think about the entire series as a whole. I didn’t want kiddies to get hooked on book one, only to have their minds blown by the erotica content of future books. I’m a mother of three wonderful children, and while I’ve allowed them to read sections of King Hall, I would never allow them to read the entirety of the other books. It just gets too hawt for young minds. I was thinking about, not only my children, but other parents’ kids as well. So, long story short, the New Adult genre fit.


AO&R: Let’s get to the good stuff. Are there any super hot King Hall men (or women!) we’re going to fall head over heels for?

SD: Laughing here! Oh y-e-a-h…super hot men and women are all over the place in King Hall. A few of the ARC readers have already claimed a few of them too! You’ve got powerful Kings, badass Elders, and the way-too-fine-for-their-own-good Prodigies. Mysticals are one fine species, let me tell you. *fans self* Enjoy readers. I did!


AO&R: What’s the one thing you know now about publishing that you weren’t exactly aware of when you finished your first King Hall draft?

SD: If you’re looking for an agent, write one hell of a query letter. Mine was not. Not the first draft. Or the second. My skills are more reserved for longer hooks, so I ended up taking my novel into my own hands after many rejection letters. I searched for publishers that accepted submissions without an agent. Go figure, I received a lot of positive response, but I found my perfect match with Kate Cuthbert at Escape Publishing, a Harlequin Australia imprint. Luckily, she liked King Hall too. (thanks, Kate)


AO&R: Tell us about your future plans; this is a series, right? Can we have a hint at book two?

SD: Yes, it is a series. Woot, woot!

No, I won’t say how many books there are. It’s a secret.

I will say that Lily’s story is a trilogy. It’s also one of my favorites.

Hint for book two? Hmm. Its title is…King Cave. 🙂

MeAbout Scarlett Dawn

Scarlett Dawn is drawn to all things quirky and off-beat. She believes there are no boundaries for an imaginative soul. Her love of the written word started from at an early age, when her grandmother would take her to bookstores every weekend. Dreams came alive within the books she found there, and now, she is thrilled to share her stories with others who have fallen under the spell of taking fantastical journeys. Scarlett resides in the Midwest with her husband, three children, and two dogs.

You can add her on facebook here, twitter here and goodreads here.

Purchase King Hall from July 26 on Amazon, B&N, iBookstore, eBooks, Booktopia, Lybrary or Diesel eBook.

Lauren (3)

Lauren McKellar is an author and freelance editor, as well as holding part-time roles as Marketing Director and Senior Editor at independent press Entranced Publishing.

She is currently taking freelance bookings (for reasonable prices) in September, and will release her debut novel Finding Home in October, 2013.