Feb 6, 2017

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts 1) by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts 1) by Vic James



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?

Publication Date is February 14th 2017 by Del Rey Books: Goodreads | Amazon

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book review rating 4.5 out of 5

AS AN AVID reader, I have read more books than I can recall. Yet, it remains a pleasure to read something that proves I can still be swept off my feet. Gilded Cage, Vic James’ debut novel, is just that kind of book. Thought provoking and highly original, the first installment in the Dark Gifts series is a scintillating blend of urban fantasy and political intrigue.

The world-building is gorgeous and magnificently detailed. It is a world ruled by an insular Parliament who call themselves Equals—magically Skilled aristocrats. Those who are misfortunate as to be born a commoner must serve them for ten years.

Do your slavedays too old, you’ll never get through them. Do your slavedays too young, you’ll never get over them.

The Slaveday Compact, as they call them, is a brutal violation of freedom and dignity, perpetrated by the Equals. The settings of these two worlds and their conflicts will take readers from the opulence of England’s grandest Kyneston Estate to the squalor of Millmoor’s slaveday, everything is exquisitely detailed to cinematic effect.

With perhaps one of the most interesting cast of characters I've read in awhile, Ms. James offers a good balance that promises engagement without being overwhelming. Silyen is a Skilled, but he neither plays nor follows the same rules as the Equals. He’s powerful and enigmatic, with a twisted sense of principle that is both fascinating and horrific. Siblings Abi and Luke are commoners, unskilled, but are pivotal characters. Strangely, I felt that they were underdeveloped and often seemed lost amongst the grandeur of the political game. I was a bit disappointed that they seemed like marionettes on strings being tugged by mysterious hands, whom you'll enjoy discovering. Nevertheless, as the curtains of their innocence fall, I glimpsed the first sparks of victims turned victors—bringing the story to a climax that is emotionally intense and exhilarating as well.

Gilded Cage, by Vic James, is as beautiful and nuanced, as it is dangerous and cunning. It is a treasure that I stumbled upon by chance. But, it proves some chances are still very much worth taking.

{Thank you Vic James and Del Rey Books for kindly giving me this book free of charge, through NetGalley, which does not influence my review.}



Which book surprised you by how good it was? Or conversely, which book were you last excited to read that flopped?

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