I admit to having mixed feelings about this third in the series. It was slow to get going and did, too frequently, feel like a bit of a filler, but it really picked up the pace just over halfway through. By the end I was feeling more than a little wrung out – and now I’m desperate to see where Aveyard takes things in the final instalment.
Our story begins with Mare having been taken prisoner by the new King. She is kept bound in manacles, Maven desperate to take away her lightning power. Though Mare and Cal have been desperate to see the best in Maven – laying the blame for his personality at the hands of his mother – it becomes increasingly clear that he is just as dangerous as she ever hoped he would be.
The initial chapters focus on establishing the stifling atmosphere in which Mare is kept. She is a powerful trophy prisoner, Maven using her to manipulate others within his kingdom. However, alongside this we see the planning and training that the Scarlet Guard/Reds and their supporters are putting in place.
Switching views as we do can, on occasion, mean a frustrating wait to pull together the pieces. However, as we put things together it is clear that we are about to get a humdinger of a story as everything comes together.
There was so much to love about this: some cracking battle scenes; graphic descriptions of the battles and training; a wonderful reconciliation between the characters of Cal and Mare; a hint that sometimes help comes from unexpected quarters, and the most heart-wrenching ending ever (though we kind of know to expect it, it doesn’t make it any easier to accept).
With part four expected in February 2018 we’re in for a tense wait. Personally, I’m torn between hoping Cal and Mare get their happy ending and waiting for chinks in the Maven-bad-guy persona. Whichever way it goes, I have a feeling I’m going to like this!