Broken (Cage of Lies #3) by Susanne Valenti (2016)
-eARC Review-


YA Fiction | Dystopian Sci-Fi
3.5 Stars

“Since all of her hopes were dashed, Maya is struggling to adapt to her new life. Where dreams and wishes once kept her going now there is only the burning desire for revenge. She’s changing, hardening into the person she needs to be to hold it together but sometimes the cracks still show. She wants nothing more than to go back and become the person she used to be but sometimes she can’t even remember who that was. Nothing will be right again until she resets the balance. Blood will pay for blood and she won’t give up until the final drop has been spilled. Some say she’s taking it too far, others say it isn’t far enough.”

Expected Publication Date: January 31, 2016 


pooled ink Review:

Thank you to the author for submitting this book for review!

Wow. The book begins with the bleak residue of Coal’s absence but there is no time to dwell for long. Hopefully you’ve had enough time to put yourself back together between books because things take off at a run.

Once again I’ll mention how I enjoy the occasional POV changes throughout the book to help add different dimensions and perspectives to the action. And with that I will also once again applaud Valenti’s ability for writing action scenes able to keep them intense, high-velocity, and plausibly realistic. It becomes far too easy to get sucked into the events with people scrambling around, chaos, shouts, explosions, gunfire, and the all-out insanity of battle swirling around you causing your eyes to roam faster and faster absorbing in each word desperately trying to keep pace with the need to know what happens.

With each book the protagonist remains Maya and the people in her life grow in number but it’s interesting how with each mission she’s surrounded by varying combinations of those people. It keeps everything diverse and interesting because, well, change is always interesting. It also invites us to learn more about different people and by alternating her grouping Maya herself learns and grows as a person. It’s weird and unpleasant not having Coal traveling with Maya this go around but other than that particular change in travel buddies I like the constant rotation. (Seriously Valenti, I was this close to hating you a bit when you killed that significant person in the last book. You’re fabulous, and literally no one saw it coming so bonus points for shock value, but I’m just being an honest book fangirl).

The ending, everyone. The ending! I kid you not when I say I did a double-fist pump in the air throwing both my arms into the sky with smugness and a massive amount of satisfaction and relief. I mean, I suspected it would happen but that didn’t take away from the relief of my suspicions being confirmed. YAS!!!!!!

Okay now that I’ve gushed I’ve got to get gritty. In a way I feel that this book, while still pretty great, took a step or two backwards from the momentum and great development of the first two books. It’s perhaps a solid story vessel but water is leaking in through the relationships in this book…

Several relationships change, develop, and go over seriously rocky terrain in this book. Blane gets a love interest. I miss Alicia (you can never have too much of Alicia) and her epic warrior princess but overall fabulous personality that I felt was dulled down to make room for other people’s drama. Laurie and Hunter are great but major drama breaks out between them in this book and I want it to go away quickly before their relationship is ruined beyond repair. I understand where Laurie is coming from but I felt that their drama was dragged on for too long.

Taylor and Crystal have gotten closer since the last book and I actually kind of get it but then things turn into a love-square and I’m not a fan (but I’m generally not a fan of relationship drama even though it seems to be the sustenance of any book, movie, or show). I read about Taylor and Maya with my heels down in resistance but eventually as I began to concede and just give in it finally struck me what I didn’t like about those two together: they’re freaking Bella and Jacob from New Moon! Maya is so okay with dying, she’s taking stupid risks, and she’s using Taylor (even if she does care for him it’s not the same as with Coal and she knows it). And boy, now that I’ve finished the book I feel really bad for Taylor and Crystal. I mean I always felt bad because they were being hurt by Maya’s behavior but let’s be honest, it was a one-book fling and now it’s over and people are going to be crushed.

Oh well, I don’t feel nearly bad enough to take back my celebratory dance at the end (when you read this book you’ll 100% understand what I’m talking about). I know I have no right to ask but please Valenti, please don’t destroy this fragile bubble of hope and joy that has begun to blossom in my chest via those last pages. Follow your writing muse for it knows best…but I know better 😉 Regardless of what happens I can’t wait to read what comes next because I know it’ll be great. I will be living in terror, however, until this series is concluded. So many things could happen and I care too much about all of these characters to not feel seriously afraid.

Now I need the next book! I. Need. MORE.

I definitely recommend the Cage of Lies series to those of you who are seeking a dash of thrill, a heap of action, a sprinkle of sci-fi, a lump of evil government, a pinch of exhilaration, and a spoon of romance in your lives. (…and yes, baking a cake is definitely tap dancing around my mind)


amazon icon_tiny Purchase here: Broken 

Check out the rest of the series: Chained (book 1), Linked (book 2), Embers (novella/book 3.5), Bound (book 4), Free (book 5)

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