Gilded Cage My Rating:
I liked it!
Published by: Del Rey Books on February 14th 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, Dystopian, Fantasy & Fairy Tales, Light Romance, YA/NA Crossover, Young Adult
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.
Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England's grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England's most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family's secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi's brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
Gilded Cage by Vic James is set in a world where the Skilled, those with magical abilities, rule. The Unskilled are merely tolerated and, for at least a decade of their lives, work as slaves during their mandatory slave days.
Slave days are usually spent in slave towns. The conditions are horrible. Poor living conditions, poor and unsafe working conditions, not enough to eat, and just all around horribleness.
I thought this was a unique blend of dystopian and paranormal when the market for both can tend to become overly saturated with versions of the same type of storyline. In that regard, I thought Gilded Cage was a breath of fresh air.
I liked the switches in point of view, although a couple times it was a little jarring. When the book mainly switched between brother and sister Abi and Luke and then suddenly there was a chapter from Bouda or Euterpe, it was a little confusing. But, that being said, I did enjoy getting to know those characters from the inside out, so I was glad their point of view was included. The only thing about books that have a lot of POV switches, it sometimes causes character development to suffer. And while I liked the characters in Gilded Cage, I would have liked them to have been developed more. I really wanted to dig into Abi’s mind. And Silyen. Geez, he was an awesome character. I would love a few chapters to look around in his brain.
Like I mentioned earlier, I think the premise of the story is unique. Looking at our world segregated in a new way gives us an opportunity to reflect on our beliefs and actions in our lives today. I was aching for more description of Skill, however. Where did it come from? Why did some have it and others not? Why were some Equal’s Skill stronger than others? So many questions. I hope they are explored in the books to come—which I will definitely read!
The end of the book held a few twists and turns and surprises that I wasn’t expecting and I was so excited by that (yes… I am that big of a nerd). But there were also some areas that I felt were just glossed over that I would have liked more of, like a 25-year coma patient waking up… the reader isn’t given much info other than she wakes up and is A-Okay. It almost seemed like an afterthought. Unless—and this might be it—there will be more to her story in the next book. One can hope.
The author’s writing style was easy to follow and flowed well. I found myself lost in her words, not noticing that I was reading. Instead, I felt as though I was there, in the book, watching the characters move and speak and react. I love that feeling. Just a note to American readers, the author is British. And although the version of the book I read was fairly “Americanized,” there were some British-isms. They didn’t bother me or disrupt the pace or flow of the story, so I certainly wouldn’t let language or terminology keep you from reading the book.
Bottom Line: I really liked Gilded Cage. It ends on a huge cliff-hanger, so be prepared to scream and stomp and throw your Kindle/book… because you’ll want to. This was a great debut by James and I’m looking forward to the sequel and where she takes the characters next.