The plot would have been more compelling if it was the love interest’s murder mystery, or my review of Cage of Deceit

blue border limited crop23688106Cage of Deceit (Reign of Secrets #1)

Jennifer Anne Davis

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Publication Date: August 25th, 2015

Format: ebook


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Jennifer Anne Davis’s best-selling True Reign series captivated readers from the very first page. Now, get ready to become entangled in the follow-up series, Reign of Secrets. In this new series, follow Allyssa, the daughter of the beloved Emperor Darmik and Empress Rema— and find out what happens after happily ever after.

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.

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2 star rating

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I really wanted to like Cage of Deceit. It has princesses and princes and royal marriages and a spunky crime fighting lady lead. But, it didn’t happen. The main character was too perfect, except that she refused to speak up for herself, but she was still my favorite character despite this fact because everyone else was much more annoying. From the love interest to her parents, the characters and their refusal to communicate were infuriating.

So firstly, the “prince”, and I say “prince” because of the rather obvious, not well kept secret that the actual prince is someone else, did not do his job as a decoy well. He did not have a grasp on the political situation and was basically the “pretty face” that Alyssa so well described him as. He took direction from his squire on matters of politics, in public, which, if nothing else, just shows he is a weak ruler. Also his name is ODAR.

As for the love interest, Jarvik, he was an ass. He treated Alyssa like shit and yet she still falls for him in a rather spontaneous fashion. He is a hypocrite in every sense of the word. He condemns Alyssa for things she never did, like take a lover (and subsequently accuses every male she is alone with for more than a minute of being said lover. Dude, what I find more suspicious is why you are looking for a bottle of wine at approximately 7 in the morning.) and accuses her of being rude when he’s the one that was incredibly rude first, making her defensive. He makes multiple remarks about having important information to impart to Alyssa but then is like “but I can’t tell you just yet” which was annoying as hell. However, multiple characters in this book do this, so I guess it’s a moot point. Mainly, this information has a huge impact on plot and in his scheming, Jarvik does not see a reason to clarify to Alyssa what is actually going on before huge decisions are made (ie they are heading off to meet HIS PARENTS as in the King and Queen and Alyssa still thinks the fake prince is the real prince). Also, he signs the marriage contract and they are suppose to be married in two days and then is like, oh yeah you have to meet my king and queen now. Oops. I would have thought a move like that would have put more than a small kink in plans. More like a nullifying the marriage contract size kink.

Her parents were hardly any better, other than they were actually nice to her. The kept crucial fact to themselves and expected Alyssa to follow along blindly. They claimed if she knew the truth she would just be angry. However, she is only angry, really, over the fact that they didn’t tell her anything. I feel that keeping information from a person who is suppose to be a future ruler and is tasked with making decisions for her country should have been given all the facts, I guess her parents disagree.

Alyssa would have been a too perfect, easy to resent character if she hadn’t been bombarded by a bunch of numbskulls. I felt sorry for her as she really tried to do her best with the limited information she had. She had Jarvik being demeaning and her parents treating her like a child, and she was always expected by both to do better.

A few notes on the plot: 1) apparently Emperion has the largest and best army so why is this marriage contract necessary? Why aren’t the less impressive countries just agreeing to go to war with them without such a permanent arrangement, one that could be used to settle something else entirely? Why aren’t they already squashing a much smaller army before they even reach their borders? And 2) when there are people who need executing and there is a possibility of them causing shit in the future, you don’t pardon them. You chop their damn heads off. This whole book could have been avoided if the queen had just had her adversaries executed in the first place like any competent ruler would.

All in all, I don’t know if I’ll be reading any further. Unless I find out that Alyssa grows a backbone around Jarvik and gives him hell for all his ridiculous secrets and general ass-hattery.


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Disclaimer: Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The synopsis, cover and other book info were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. None belong to us.