Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets, # 1)
By: Jennifer Anne Davis
Published: August 25th 2015 by Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Seventeen-year-old Allyssa appears to be the ideal princess of Emperion--she's beautiful, elegant, and refined. She spends her days locked in a suffocating cage, otherwise known as royal court. But at night, Allyssa uses her secret persona--that of a vigilante--to hunt down criminals and help her people firsthand.
Unfortunately, her nightly escapades will have to wait because the citizens of Emperion may need saving from something much bigger than common criminals. War is encroaching on their country and in order to protect her people, Allyssa may have to sacrifice her heart. Forced to entertain an alliance through marriage with a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom, she finds herself feeling even more stifled than before. To make matters worse, the prince has stuck his nosy squire, Jarvik, to watch her every move.
Jarvik is infuriating, bossy and unfortunately, the only person she can turn to when she unveils a heinous plot. Together, the unlikely pair will have to work together to stop an enemy that everyone thought was long gone, one with the power to destroy her family and the people of Emperion. Now the cage Allyssa so longed to break free from might just be the one thing she has to fight to keep intact. In order to save her kingdom, she will have to sacrifice her freedom, her heart, and maybe even her life.
I really enjoyed the True Reign series. I was sucked into the first two books and read both within a little over a 24 hour period. If I had any complaints of the series as a whole, it was simply that I was able to figure out several of the major plot points well in advance and that the cliffhangers between The Key and Red and between Red and War were too similar. Unfortunately, those would be the same complaints I have with Cage of Deceit. I figured out one major plot "twist" at least around the 25% mark, and I'm 99.5% sure that I've nailed down another secret yet to be revealed. And then like the previous series, the cliffhanger ending for Cage of Deceit was just too similar to the True Reign series.
I loved Darmik and Rema, Allyssa's parents, in the True Reign series, but I had a little trouble relating them in Cage of Deceit to the characters that I previously fell in love with. It was easy to see their love and affection for each other, but I often found that I struggled with their decisions in relation to their daughter.
Allyssa does feel trapped in her role as princess. Her closest friends, like her mother before her, are her ladies in waiting and her personal guard. All other courtiers seem to want something from her--mostly her hand in marriage. She doesn't really trust anyone around her. Even her closest friends she assumes are more loyal to the crown and her parents than they are to her. I can understand how knowing that she doesn't get much say in her marriage would be stifling for her. But I didn't see where her lifestyle in general should afford her the discomfort that it does. She uses her time sneaking away from the castle at night to hunt down criminals with her friend Grevik. This makes her feel both free and that she's making a difference. Even when she's feeling stifled, Allyssa loves her country and is committed to her duty.
I've recently gotten a bit tired of the arranged marriage that the couple fights or the main character that falls in love with someone else. So I wasn't initially looking forward to this potentially playing out in Cage of Deceit. This was an assumption I was making based off the description. However, Jennifer Anne Davis played this card in a way that I was actually pretty satisfied with. I don't want to go into too much more detail surrounding this because anything I say might lead to spoilers.
Even though I wasn't thrilled with the specific cliffhanger Jennifer Anne Davis chose for Cage of Deceit because of it's similarities to the True Reign series, I ended Cage of Deceit really excited to read more. I want more. I'd pick up Cage of Darkness immediately if I had it available to me right now. That being said Cage of Deceit gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Cage of Deceit? What did you think? Let me know!