Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

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Genre: Young-Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 368
Audiobook Duration: 11 Hours, 52 Minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Avita Jay
Series: Dark Gifts #1 (Trilogy)
Release Date: February 14, 2017

4 Stars

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Gilded Cage is set in an alternate UK in which society has been divided into people with magical abilities, Equals, and people without. The ones who don’t have abilities have to give 10 years of their lives to slavery. These years are called the Slave Days.

Eighteen-year-old Abi Hadley, to save her family from the harshness of a slave town, manages to get them all positions as household slaves for an Equal family, the Jardines. She thinks that it will be better for them and will keep them together. But then her 16-year-old brother, Luke, is separated from them and sent to Millmoor, a slave town. And while she’s trying to find a way to bring him back, she starts to realize that she may not have saved them at all. Because the Jardine family is plenty messed up.

The Jardines have three sons: Gaver, Jenner and Silyen. They’re all about a couple of years apart in age with Silyen (sixteen) as the youngest. And the most messed. Seriously, that kid is so smart and so cold. He has an endless amount of evil schemes and he’s very interesting. He was my favourite character to read about. Which kinda sucks because he’s got all the makings of a villain and villains usually end up dead by the end of the series.

Though he’s not ‘the villain’. We don’t exactly have one of those. The thing to defeat is the system and all those who are very bloody determined to maintain it.

The book is told in the third person perspective and we’re usually switching between what’s going on with Abi and her family, and what’s happening with Luke in Millmoor. Luke’s story was quite interesting as he became a part of a rebel group, of sorts. Very small-scale though, just helping people get medicine and stuff. Not something to cause a revolution. A revolution that is very necessary.

I mean, the country is being run by a bunch of entitled bastards with super-powers who think it’s perfectly fair, even generous, that all un-Equals are being forced into slavery. It needs to end. Though I have no idea how, because the Equals are really fucking powerful and other people seem to just have accepted 10 years of slavery. They just wish each other a “quick ten years!” and go on their jolly ways.

Though obviously something will happen. This book was just an introduction to the world (a very good introduction), the characters who will play an important part, and basically setting things up for the big things to happen.

But even though the purpose was to set things up, the book has a great story, a good pace, many good characters, good world building, good writing, and an unexpected ending that’s gotten me very eager to get my hands on the second book. From the events of this novel, I have no idea what’s going to happen.

The narrator did a really good job as well. I loved her Scottish accent which she used for dialogues by the Hadleys but at the same time, I’m not sure why she used it, since the family was from Manchester. Still, I liked her narration and the novel and I highly recommend it, especially to lovers of fantasy, and the dystopian genre.

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