Gilded Cage by Vic James
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
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 their 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?
I tried to steel myself from expecting too much of Gilded Cage – despite being drawn to its irresistible premise of an alternate England where the aristocrats had magical gifts and the commoners did not – thus leading the un-magical to serve as slaves for 10 years. Any skepticism I had for this world was vanquished by the prologue, which intrigued and tugged at my emotions so much that I made quick work of the rest of this book. It took me two days, mostly because it was during the workweek but I did tear through it nevertheless.
I most emphatized with Luke, who was ripped from his family to serve his slave days in a terrible industrial town of backbreaking work. There, despite the utter bleakness of his situation, Luke comes into his own as a rebel against an unjust society. Abi, I wanted to shake sometimes, as she predictably, too-quickly fell in love with one of the aristocrats she served. Her storyline did not interest me as much until the very end when she does something completely unexpected --- and left me hanging, wanting the next book so badly…
To balance the slaves’ perspectives are some of the aristocrats’ points of view, one of whom was so perplexing and ambiguous that he was easily a dark horse character – is he a villain? A good guy? Arghh, when will I know?!
As you can tell, this book swept me away and riveted me at a time when I sorely needed an escape. I had tried and discarded half a dozen other books but somehow, Gilded Cage was the one which caught my imagination and would not let go. Eagerly anticipating the sequel!