Title: Gilded Cage
Author: Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Release: February 14, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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?
*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own*
Reading the synopsis, I couldn’t wait to read this book. I wanted to get lost in world of magic, but that’s not what I got. I got confusion and a lot of info-dumping with switching POVs.
This book takes place in an alternate England where those born without Skills are to serve their slavedays for 10 years to the Equals (those with Skills). The slavedays can be completed anytime during one’s life after 10 years old. I found this disturbing though I understand the importance to discuss this issue. I just didn’t feel like it was executed properly. It felt a little sloppy.
Though the plot was promising and interesting (I loved the concept of the Skills) this book suffered some detachment issues. No one character really shone any light or held any emotional connections. The romance (if you want to call it that) suffered as well. We see two characters who don’t even interact with each other seem to have developed feelings behind the scenes? Show me their attraction. Don’t just tell me. I didn’t buy their crushes on each other for one second so I didn’t even care for what happened at the end. I could blame it on my mood, but I did not enjoy this book. If I can’t find any connection to at least one character, the experience is fraught.
This book suffered with too many POVs. I think I would have liked it better if it just focused on Abi and Luke. In fact, those were the POVs that gave me the most story. When you bring in a brand new POV 40% in the story for only one chapter I will most definitely wonder “what was the point in that?” I am not one to complain about too many POVs because I read A Game of Thrones and it works when everything serves a purpose. However, most of them just seemed to be thrown in there randomly and too convenient (example: Bouda). Bouda didn’t serve much purpose for me and I found myself skimming her chapter almost entirely.
I really wanted to like this book. The premise sounded interesting and fun. but there was too much info-dumping that wasn’t smooth. Plus, correct me if I’m wrong, but there wasn’t much diversity in this book? I think I found only one PoC and his role was very minor. Sadly, this was a miss.