Title: Gilded Cage
Author: Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy?
Release Date: February 17, 2017
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Synopsis: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 was a book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. The premise was intriguing; a servant girl falls for a forbidden boy while uncovering his family secrets and a slave boy fights for a revolution. When I received this book, I thought I was going to get romance, action, and mystery, but I didn’t get that.
Gilded Cage has a well-developed plot. The many complex characters with various motives and goals create an elaborate and complex story. The many moving parts feel more like a movie than a novel. Most books that have more than one POV fail to distinguish between the different voices. That wasn’t the case with this book. Although, the characters were complex enough to recognize, the main characters, Abi and Luke, fell into the background and I couldn’t connect with them at all.
Also, I didn’t understand the purpose of Luke and Abi’s parents. They were present, but never did anything to progress the story. They seemed unnecessary and I felt that if they were removed from the story altogether nothing would change.
On the other hand, my favorite characters were Luke, Renie, and Silyen. Renie was a bold and mighty 12-year-old girl and Silyen felt the most complex. His scenes were always the most interesting. Luke went through the most character development; he went from a weak boy to a fearless rebel through the course of the story.
My biggest problem with the book was the writing technique. The writing itself is good, but too descriptive to the point it became wordy.
“A couple of centuries ago Harding Matravers, heir of an impecunious and obscure line, had decided to put his derided Skill for weatherwork to good use.” (21% of ARC copy, subject to change for final copy)
The entire book is written like this, extremely wordy and unnecessarily long. It’s not too difficult to understand, but it forces you to peruse through the reading rather than get lost in the words. The overall effect is a slow-paced and occasionally-boring read.
For a fantasy book, there isn’t much action or thrill in this book, but an abundance of political drama. We get a lot of information, some even unnecessary in my opinion and combined with the long, detailed writing the book became a hard book to read.
Lastly, I’m very disappointed with the romance in this book. The synopsis made me think that romance would be a big part, but it’s hardly mentioned at all. Through a handful of interactions, Abi falls for one of the brothers and I don’t understand why. Their relationship resembles more sibling than romantic. Regardless, the relationship itself is so insignificant, it could be eliminated from the book and it wouldn’t matter.
Honestly, I think Gilded Cage would be better for upper YA and Adults, because I can’t imagine a lot the younger readers enjoying this. To be fair, a major problem was I was expecting a different story than the one we got. The lack of action, wordy writing, many POVs, and the absence of romance was not what I was expecting. Then again, now that you know what you’ll get, maybe you’ll enjoy this read.
*I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*