Gilded Cage by Vic James
Published by Del Rey Books on February 14, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Dystopian
Pages: 368 Format: eARC Source: NG
I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.
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?
Vic James’ Gilded Cage had been drifting around in conversation at the end of 2016 and I was intrigued enough to request a copy. With a world where the ruling class possesses considerable power both in politics and magic and all commoners serve a term of slavery, this novel questions the very fundamentals of humanity. Unfortunately for me it didn’t quite hit the mark and left me with a lot of mixed feelings.
The best part of this story was the politics and magic at play in this dystopian England. The Skill the Equals possess is essentially just magic. Some are better at healing, others destruction, but most of them consider themselves better than those without. Change may be on the horizon though and more than one is working in the shadows. Whether that’s good or bad is up for debate, but it does keep the reader on their toes.
It’s hard to know where to even begin with these characters. When it comes to the Hadleys, Luke shined, making tough choices and looking out for the people he cared about. Abi, this smart, talented girl was unfortunately sidelined by love and it was kind of disappointing. As far as the Jardines go, Silyen was a creepy kid but ridiculously powerful, Gavar was the brute, and Jenner the normal, kind one. It was such a mixed bag and I’m not sure I fully connected with any of them besides Luke.
My biggest problem with this book was actually the set up and pacing. Honestly there were too many POVs and some of them were so sporadic they felt extremely out of place. As far as plot goes it was slow in the beginning and then it’s was one thing after another at the end. All of this made it hard to connect and there was also a lot of time and moments just glossed over which left me wanting more.
Overall Gilded Cage by Vic James held an interesting story but fell flat in a number of areas. An intriguing world needed more to hold it up and while some of the characters stood out, too many of them were overshadowed. I wish I had liked this one more but I’m still curious to see how the rest of the series plays out. Hopefully others will be able to enjoy this title though.
So does Gilded Cage pique your interest? Do you like fantasies and dystopians mixed together? Let me know in the comments below!