Gilded Cage by Vic James

Posted February 8, 2017 by Minx

This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

Gilded Cage by Vic James Gilded Cage by Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 368
ISBN: 0425284158
Purchase at: Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository Google Play Kobo
Minx's Rating:

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?


Brilliant, dark and intense! Creative world building filled with fantastical imagery and deplorable cruelty. Brings to the front issues of class inequality set in a world with no boundaries. Definitely agree with the consensus that if you are a fan of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series then you will enjoy this novel.

The setting of this story is a modern day alternative Britain where there are even alternate world histories, America is split into two nations (the Union did not win). The inhabitants of the alternate Britain are separated into magically skilled, the aristocracy and Muggles, lol, no…I am kidding…. could not resist a Harry Potter reference but if you are fans of Harry Potter you get it, they are magically un-skilled people.

The plot revolves around the society they live in. In this society, the un-skilled are basically allowed to live their lives as they would with the exception that they have to complete a 10-year slavery service. Oh yes, they must submit to slavery, no rights, no one to advocate for them, completely at the mercy of the aristocrat they serve. Sucks, right?! Awful! There are a few rules that apply for underage but it is pretty much ten years of hell and anyone is lucky to survive.

Where I think, it fell short was this story is told from multiple alternating point of views and usually I absolutely adore stories told from different characters POV’s but that was not the case with this one. There was a lot of plot building going on with multiple characters but I did not feel that I was able to connect with any one character enough to be invested. Very little depth. For me there was also the issue that some of the main characters fell flat, Abi for example. We hardly heard from her and she was written as an integral part in the plot building. She has to face a terrible choice but I heard so little from her that although I felt bad for her I was not at any level of emotional anguish for her predicament. Hence I felt very little impact regarding her choice.

There are true twists and turns in this novel. The writing is descriptive and there are many scenes that are just disturbing and I loved that. If you are looking for an entertaining read that has magical elements and you have a real draw to young adults standing up to oppression for the good of mankind, then this is right up your alley.

*Thank you to NetGalley & Berkley Publishing Group for this eARC of Gilded Cage*

About Vic James

Author Vic James

Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com

She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo as a Daiwa Scholar. There she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist.

Returning to the UK, Vic became investigations producer for Channel 4 News, then began directing current affairs documentaries for BBC1 and BBC2. She now writes full time.

Vic has scuba-dived on Easter Island, camped at Everest Base Camp, voyaged on one of the last mailboats to St Helena, frolicked with sea-lions in the Galapagos, slept in a shipping container in the Falklands, driven a dog-sled in the Arctic, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia.

But there’s still little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.

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