Gilded Cage by Vic James*
Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine
Sci Fi & Fantasy
Pub Date 14 Feb 2017
*Book review on my YouTube channel soon to come!
Equal: aristocrat with magical gifts
Based in a world where people’s social and economic status is based upon two factors: whether you’re an Equal or not. Those who are Equal are able to live their lives surrounded around royalty and magic. Those who are not, are forced to serve 10 years of their lives under Equals as slaves. Following a young woman and her family, the reader is able to learn the inside world of the Equals, while learning the rough, inhumane lives of those working their slave-days.
When Abi and her family decide to take on their slave-days, her younger brother, Luke, is shocked and upset, his days in slave town Millmoor were soon to come and if the stories he heard in school were true, the chances of him coming out of it same were slim. Children malnourished, rough guards who deemed physical abuse against slaves appropriate, along with the demand of laborious work under strenuous conditions.
But Abi has good news. For all of them – her younger brother, little sister, and most importantly, her parents. Abi was not going to let them do their slave-days in Millmoor, no, instead they would do it in Kyneston serving under England’s most powerful family of Equals.
Their free days were numbered, and once the last day was up, they had more than just their freedom at stake, but the reassurance of them doing their days together.
With the royal family not having any need for Luke, he was sent to Millmoor while the rest of his family spent their days serving the royal family within the gates.
During this time, Abi was able to work closely with the family and slowly began to learn the inner-workings of Kyneston, the royal family, and most fascinating of all – the magic. Something that no commoner would ever be able to witness.
Meanwhile, Luke while look is in Millmoor he finds himself working alongside group of intellectual and secretive people seeking revolution to end slave-days.
With Equals and commoners livelihood at stake, Luke and Abi are torn between putting aside everything that they thought they knew about Kyneston, Equals, and slave-days and forced to choose revenge or revolution.
This book was a page turner. From beginning to end, I found myself on the edge of my seat, wanting to find out more. I really enjoyed the fact that we got so many different perspectives which allowed us to get a better grasp on the impact Equals have on the lives of commoners along with understanding their history much better. Abi’s character was extremely bright and strong. Although lovestruck, she did not allow that to get in the way of rational thinking and of finding out the truth. Luke, on the other-hand, took time warming up to. Since he got to Millmoor, he days were filled with beatings, terrible food, and exhausting labor duties. There wasn’t much free time for interacting with others, and when he finally was able to find people he could relate to, is when he found himself being put into the middle of a possible revolution. Both characters went from sheltered young adults to confident and strong adults, their shells of what they thought they knew were quickly shattered and once reality set was when we were able to see their individual growth in full-effect.
Gilded Cage was filled with overlapping stories filled with history and politics, along with ones own naïvety regarding those with immense power. It was interesting to see how Vic James presented their history of when Equals came about and how they rose to power. Being that we have books like Red Queen, I was interested to see how she gave a similar theme her own twist. With this being said, I did also find that the book ended way too soon. Luckily, there will be a sequel to this book coming out in September 2017*. Once I found this out was when I figured the ending had to do with the fact that the second book was coming out so soon, so I’d let the quick ending slide… this time! Haha.
*Series is expected to bring in another two novels, Tarnished City set to be published September 2017 and Bright Ruin with no release date yet.
Would I recommend?
Yes! I would definitely recommend. I enjoyed reading this book so much, definitely at the top of my list for this year’s reads so far. The pacing, writing style, and character development was done so well. I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book, but I’m extremely pleased!