Book: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts 1) by Vic James
Release Date: January 26th 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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 is one of those books I pre ordered with knowing very little about the actual plot except there is an alternate United Kingdom and there are skills. Like magic except don’t say that to our fine aristocrats. They might Silence you.
In this alternate world there are those that have skills and then there are the commoners. Commoners are required to do 10 years of slave life to the skilled aristocrats. You can choose when you start your slave years unless your parents decide it for you before you turn 18. This is where we start the story with a family deciding to do their 10 years.
“Always look at the people, not the mass. A face, not the crowd. Look at the world, not at the ground. Every little detail you see is a victory.”
This set up I found rather interesting. Throughout the story we follow a slave town where we find Luke who joins a resistance of sorts. On the other end we follow the Jardine family in politics and Luke’s sister who is a slave at this family’s residence. This narrative shows us a three way into this society which was rather interesting. I will have to admit that I found Luke’s story boring at the start as very little actually happened but as his story was weaved into the other two a note of more consequence was added to his.
At the prologue I worried this book might fall into some clichés like our female mc falling for or connecting with all three Jardine brothers. But I was pleased to see that didn’t quite happen so. Of course there was some romance and some drama with one but that didn’t quite take over the plot as such. It was just there, with a moment here or there in the foreground that wasn’t too disturbing of the rest of the plot.
I really quite enjoyed this book. The writing flowed very nicely and it gave off the feeling of a world set in our past yet there are also cars. It is an interesting world to discover more about. I hope we learn more about the skills, the other countries but also of the skilless aristocrat children. And hey, I got a little surprised with a twist that I wasn’t actually expecting which does not happen to me that often these days. I am quite curious to see where this ending is going to be taken in the next book. I can’t wait!
Yet I did feel something lacked. There were a lot of point of views we followed and I think we could have done without Bouda’s for instance. There is also the point that I felt we lacked a little depth in the relationships. With this I mostly mean the relationships between the three brothers, Gavar, Jenner and Silyen. There was very little interaction between these three on the page and I remain unsure of how they regard each other all that much. They were all wrapped up in their own little worlds. The same could be said for Jenner and Abbi. It is mostly Abbi saying how she was falling for him rather than them actually interacting that much. A bit too much tell and not enough show in that account for me.
Regardless I enjoyed Luke and Abbi as our two main characters though I have no great attachment to either as of yet. To two brothers however I do. Silyen is a powerfull skill user and a bit on the mysterious side. I am interested to see what he is exactly plotting. I can’t quite pin him on what side he really is. Curious to see where he is heading in this world and to see what he really wants.
But surprisingly the character I was most drawn to was Gavar. Surprising because after the prologue I was sure I would hate him. Quite frankly he is an asshole. And nothing redeems that in this book. He knows he is too and he is quite unapologetic about it. Yet I still enjoyed reading his chapters the most. His unapologetic ways with his frustration actually creates a narrative that gave me a lot of laughs. He was the most open with his feelings and as such the easiest to understand. He also adores his daughter Libby and that endeared him a bit more to me. What can I say? I like my assholes.