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.
The third instalment started off pretty slowly; Mare is a prisoner, paraded and used as a puppet for Maven's amusement. Mare is showing signs of PTSD and the longer she is prisoner, the more she seems to show Stockholm Syndrome, being glad to the smallest acts of kindness from Maven. I had forgotten how twisted Maven was, but peeking behind the mask and seeing his weaknesses made the black and white seem grey. It's not his fault that his mother was insane and messed with his head, but now that she's gone, it is entirely Maven's decision to continue acting like her puppet.
Like I said, the book started off slowly, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of plot, which is why it took me so long to read it. However, the character development, especially on Mare and Maven's side, was brilliant and terrifying. While Mare was with Maven in the palace, we had odd chapters from Cameron's perspective, to see what's happening back at camp, and then later on from Evangeline, which was utterly bizarre. Honestly, I couldn't remember Cameron at all, I had no idea who this person was, which ruined things for me a little bit, but the pieces came back together (albeit slowly).
I really enjoyed this, even though it felt so long. The villain dissection with Maven was quite spectacular, even made me feel sorry for him, and Mare went through a lot for the cause, which made up for the whining she was doing in the previous book. The last third made the book for me, the action finally picked up and although there's a long way to go, it felt like the Guard was actually getting somewhere in there fight against the Silvers. Plus, Cal and Mare reached a good point in their relationship, until the last second when someone (Cal) did something stupid, but we'll have to find out the repercussions of that in book four!
Published 7th February 2017 by Harper Teen. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.