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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Review: Cage of Destiny (Reign of Secrets #3)

Release Date: August 21, 2017
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Publisher: Reign Publishing
Length: 272 pages
Source: Review Copy from Author

Destined from birth to be the next empress of Emperion, Allyssa grew up at court weighed down by the expectations of the crown. Kingdom and duty always came first.

Until now.

Having survived the brutal kingdom of Russek, she is given the choice to walk away and live a peaceful, quiet life. But it also means giving up everything she knows and everyone she loves. Before she decides, word reaches her about an assassination attempt. Donning her secret persona—that of a vigilante—she sets out to eliminate her enemy once and for all.

As Allyssa fights the demons of her past to save her future, she realizes she never had a choice. She can either embrace her destiny or be caged by it.

    

Review:

Protagonist: I feel like I say this with all final installments, but Allyssa really has come a long way since the first book in this series. Once a girl caged by her responsibility, she now has the choice to live whatever life she chooses, and because of her character development throughout this series, she has everything she needs to make the choice that works best for her. Once a girl against marriage, especially one forced upon her, she wants to do what is best for her country, even if that's creating a political match. Allyssa still has a great amount of development in this book, she's haunted by the terrors she went through in Russek at the hands of Soma, she's still heartbroken after Odar severed their marriage contract, and she's not entirely sure what her future holds, but she can't rest until Jana is dealt with and the threat on her life no longer hangs over her head. Allyssa's development in this story is fantastic, some things she learns from other, some is learned through experience and growing up. Every step Allyssa takes feels natural and earned. She isn't perfect, but to be a realistic and believable character she shouldn't be.

Romance: I have to tread carefully here. At the end of the previous installment, Odar made the selfish decision to break off his relationship with Allyssa and Kerdan, the crown prince of Russek, had proposed a strategic marriage between the two. Even though I shipped Odar and Allyssa throughout (most) of Cage of Darkness, he definitely made a HUGE mistake and honestly, I wouldn't have minded Allyssa making a strategic match founded in friendship, especially with Kerdan. That's honestly all I can say with specifics, because how the author handles the romance in this story, and Allyssa's decision is phenomenal, but I'm afraid if I talk more specifics I'll ruin it. I'll just say that my heart swelled so many times throughout this book, and what Allyssa chooses in the end made me cry a little bit... a lot.

World Building: Davis is a master at world building, I swear. While we don't get to really see more kingdoms in this world, we do get to see another side to Russek. We get to learn more about their culture and who they are as people, not just the violent and brutal thugs we saw in the previous story. This book also felt like a bit of a love letter to the fans of the True Reign series, I won't quite say why, because of annoying spoilers, but there was something about this story that brought back a sort of nostalgic feeling for the previous series. Obviously, Nathenek's back and as badass and awesome as ever. His relationship with Allyssa is fantastic and how they bond and grow is very reminiscent of his relationship with Rema. Seriously, I'm trying to figure out more to say that won't be spoilery, but you just have to read this book, everything the author does to develop and flesh out this world, even more than it was, is incredible.

Predictability: So, after finishing the previous installment I thought I knew where the story would go next, I thought we'd get a more politically motivated story, but I was dead wrong. Even after reading the synopsis I thought I knew the outcome of mostly everything, and granted there are some things that I was able to predict, some things hinted at in the previous installment and some things that just felt inevitable. That being said though, there were things I was never 100% sure about with this book. In this book, the author seems to have had a lot of fun subverting tropes and kept me guessing. The way everything unfolds is incredible and the twists and turns in this book are mind blowingly amazing.

Ending: This is another section that I need to tread lightly on. The thing is, at the beginning of this book, before the story even starts there's a disclaimer that this is the third book in a series of an undisclosed number of books, which of course made me curious if the author changed her mind and this wasn't the end. As the final climax drew near, everything is fraught with tension, it's clear that something big is on the horizon, and the final climax of this book is everything I wanted and everything I didn't know I needed. The cooldown though, that's where things get tricky. There are definitely some things left unanswered and while I feel comfortable saying that this ends the arc started in Cage of Deceit, as for whether the author will return to this world, well we'll have to wait and see.

Rating:


It should come as no surprise that I think this book is exceptional. Seriously, though this book is EVERYTHING! I mean it, it's a little typical for people to love either the first or especially last, book in a series the most but here it just can't be beaten. I loved every second of it and I'm hoping it doesn't, but this book probably gave me the biggest book hangover ever.

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