Book Review of Gilded Cage by Vic James

Book Review of Gilded Cage by Vic James

Scheming, politics and family secrets abound in Gilded Cage. With dramatic flair, it introduces an alternate modern-day Britain where only a thin veneer of magic and opulence separates society. 

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."

GILDED CAGE is Vic James' debut young adult fantasy. First publishes on Wattpad, it introduces readers to an alternate British society where magic is the driving force behind a society, separating them into two classes. An elite, aristocratic class of those with magic known as The Skilled, and the commoners, also known as The Mundanes, who possess no magic and are required by law to 10 indentured years serving the skilled. 

The setting for Gilded Cage is a clash of ideas, featuring the lavish and opulent setting of Kyneston Estate and the dark, gritty world of Millmoor, an industrial slave town. The story opens with the Hadley family, commoners, beginning their 10 years of service to the elite Jardine's at Kynestone Estate when they find out they are to be separated with their son, Luke, being sent to Millmoor's instead.

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?"

One of the strongest features of Gilded Cage is the contrast of settings used as a vehicle and the separating of the Hadley family to demonstrate the demoralizing inequality with the abuse of magic. Told through multiple viewpoints, in particular, brother and sister, Luke and Abi's, we see behind the decadent curtains of the gifted at Kyneston as well as what lies behind the smoked tinged world of Millmoor's.

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. 

Vic James is crafty in her characterization, building each slowly, while ultimately leaving us guessing at some of their true natures. I enjoyed trying to figure out the motivation behind each character, and until nearly the end many kept me guessing. Kyneston and Millmoor both hold surprises for Abi and Luke, changing them and forcing them into action, some willingly, and some not. 

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An aristocrat and 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?"

At the heart of the story, Gilded Cage, makes us ponder what would one do with power, the temptation for abuse and the ability to do good, straddling side by side, and the ability of the powerless to rise up for a common goal. Again, there are some surprising characters that I'm still not sure 100% about. Are they going to fuel a revolution or something dark and incidious?

A plot whose thickness hampers reading.

For all the things I enjoyed in Gilded Cage, the thickness and dense political intrigue hampered some of my enjoyment. It seemed to take a good portion of the story to move the plot along and action sprinkled throughout helped but ultimately it felt sluggish. I enjoyed what was happening but was hard to wade through.

Dramatic Flair and Infused Magic.

Gilded Cage definitely supplied a dramatic flair but the magic was less than I had anticipated. I think readers need to know going into this story that there is a strong focus of the social climate and drama, with magic lightly infused into it, rather than the other way around, in order not to be disappointed.

In the End.

Gilded Cage is dramatic with politics and family drama filling the pages. A slow plot and light use of magic should be anticipated. With its climatic ending, I'm curious enough to want to visit the next installment.


Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)by Vic James 

Gilded Cage by Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts
On Sale Date: February 14, 2017
Fiction / Fantasy / Contemporary
Del Rey (Random House)
Source: Publisher
My Rating: 3 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?
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