King's Cage: Red Queen, Book 3
By Sandie Angulo Chen,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Author returns to form with nail-biting third installment.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about genre fantasy stories that deal with uprisings and revolutions and especially about "chosen one" stories where one character is destined to lead the people to victory.
Strong messages about staying true to promises, asking for help, being your true self, and acknowledging that life is too short to deny yourself true love. It's important to overthrow tyranny, which may involve breaking immoral laws.
Positive Role Models
Although imprisoned for most of the book, Mare is still courageous, even under torture, and more confident than ever in her abilities and what she must do with them. Cal becomes more secure in his role to overthrow fellow Silvers and to stand by Mare's side. Kilorn, no longer just the pathetic third in a love triangle, rises to the occasion and becomes indispensable to the cause. Cameron learns how to wield her power on her own terms. Evangeline proves more complicated than she's been portrayed in previous installments.
Violence & Scariness
All of the Silver and Newblood characters have special powers that help them in battle and cause death, injury, or destruction -- such as manipulating lightning, storms, fire, water, and the like. People are killed from explosions, gunshots, and electrocution and even from telepathic coercion and torture. Mare is tortured and her mind/memories invaded. Mare and Cal are forced to hurt each other. The overall body count is high, but only a couple of characters central to the story die.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A young woman has a lover who isn't her betrothed husband. She recalls seeing her lover's naked body in the moonlight. A young king conducts a conversation while in the bath. The king forcibly kisses someone who can't consent because she's a prisoner. A woman has a baby conceived in a previous book, and others speculate about the hidden romance that led to the baby. A couple restarts their romance, starting with kisses and moving on to a sexual relationship. The love scenes are mostly off the page, but it's obvious and unambiguous that the characters are having a sexual relationship. Although it's unprotected at first, she takes a pill that's clearly meant as birth control after the fact.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Insults and strong language include "bitch," "freak," "weakling," "coward," "liar," "s--t."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Royals drink at events.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that King's Cage is the third installment in Victoria Aveyard's best-selling Red Queen fantasy series. Fans of the fantasy series will know to expect scenes of supernatural and traditional combat violence (the Silvers and Newbloods all possess special powers, while the Reds use weapons), which include battle sequences where some characters control weather, others electricity, and others fire, and some simply use guns, swords, and more. There's a great deal of personal violence in this book, but the action violence is contained mostly in the last quarter of the story. The romance ramps up in this sequel, with one love story resulting in a sexual relationship, but the author keeps the passages teen-reader-appropriate. This continues to be a "chosen one" story, in which the lead character is destined to overthrow the status quo, but there's at least one more book left in the series.
Where to Read
Based on 6 parent reviews
Report this review
Okay, I guess
Report this review
What's the Story?
KING'S CAGE is Victoria Aveyard's third book in the best-selling Red Queen series following Red-born Mare Barrow, who has even greater powers than those born with Silver blood, and the king's cage is the symbol of a revolution to overthrow the oppressive Silver rulers. Starting shortly after Glass Sword ends, Mare is in King Maven's custody, having exchanged her freedom for the safety of Silver-blooded Prince Cal, the Scarlet Guard, and the Newbloods she had rounded up to fight Maven. Back at the palace, Maven has Mare interrogated by his Silver cousin who can manipulate and search her mind -- but he also dolls her up to show off like a pretty puppet. Maven forces her to make statements renouncing the Scarlet Guard and asking Newbloods to come out of hiding and serve the new King. Meanwhile, Cal, Farley, Kilorn, and Cameron try to simultaneously plan the resistance without Mare and find a way to save her from Maven.
Is It Any Good?
After Aveyard's disappointing second book, this installment is just what Red Queen fans need: genuine growth and character development, more romance, and more end game in sight for Mare Barrow. Even skeptics who put the series down after the lackluster Glass Sword should consider resuming it now that the author has once again found her groove, and her main character is no longer as excruciating to follow. Although the bulk of the book has Mare imprisoned in the Silver Palace, it's not just all about her. Aveyard manages to couple Mare's self-reflection with glimpses of villains who are far more complex than they originally seemed. Maven was twisted and molded by his now-dead mother, whose powers allowed her to take away and insert thoughts and feelings at her will. Evangeline is revealed to be far more ambitious (and far less interested in being any man's Queen) and even slightly in awe of Mare. And then there's Cal, who still struggles with Hamlet levels of indecision with the one exception of his overpowering feelings for Mare.
At more than 500 pages, it's unsurprising that the pacing is uneven: Some parts fly by, and others feel overlong. The introduction of Newblood Cameron as a narrator has potential, but so far it hasn't been seamless; her chapters are noticeably less compelling than the other points of view. She is, however, an interesting counterpoint to Mare, and she injects some diversity (beyond the blood colors) to the story. The women in this installment (Mare, Cameron, Farley, Evangeline, and even a brief cameo by Cal's grandmother, who's reminiscent of the clever but elderly matriarch Olenna Tyrell from Game of Thrones) outshine the men. Given that the book starts with a quote from Hillary Rodham Clinton, that's clearly on purpose, and discerning readers can see how girls will eventually rule in this world.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the popularity of fantasy-dystopian novels that take place in totalitarian or caste-based societies. Why are these stories so compelling to readers? How does King's Cage compare with similar titles?
Who, if anyone, is a role model in this installment? What makes that person an example of courage, teamwork, and other such qualities?
What do you think of the romance? Are you a believer in the central "ship," or do you think they still face formidable odds they must overcome?
Do you think there should be only one more book in the series, or would you be up for even more than that?
- Author: Victoria Aveyard
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: February 7, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
- Number of pages: 528
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Read
Our Editors Recommend
Romantic Fantasy Books for Teens
Best Fantasy Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate