Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopia
Release Date: January 26th 2017
Buy The Book: Book Depository
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?
This story is set in an alternate England where people with magical abilities known as Skill are held higher than those without it in society. People who are born without Skill are forced to complete ten years of Slave Days during which they serve the Equals.
Gilded Cage is an intriguing concept and the spilt between those with and without Skill was fascinating. The story focuses on a range of characters, but pays more attention to siblings Luke and Abi. Whilst Abi, her younger sister Daisy, and their parents end up working inside Kyneston, the luxurious mansion belonging to the powerful Jardine family, Luke ends up in Millmoor, a brutal slave workhouse. The contrast between these two sides of the story made for an exciting read. I expected to prefer Abi's chapters at Kyneston, but was surprised to find myself looking forward to Luke's chapters more. Luke was a character who I personally felt we got to know more than his sister. His struggles at Millmoor were heartbreaking at times but also showed him changing and growing more determined.
The Jardine family consists of three brothers, Gavar, Silyen, and Jenner. Abi ends up with a romantic subplot involving one of the brothers that didn't draw me in as much as I would have liked. We didn't get a chance to see the relationship development, with not many conversations or heartfelt scenes between them, so it felt a little bit sudden. The brothers themselves are all interesting characters in their own right, but Silyen stood out the most for me. His character has a darkness and element of mystery, and he's the one I'm most excited to learn more about in this trilogy. We don't get to see much of him, but it's a treat when we do. The scenes at the end only added to my overall curiosity about him.
Vic James has a great way of describing the world and the magic system within it. There were a few moments when I had to go back and read more carefully, but it wasn't overwhelming. The politics surrounding Skill in this story is beautifully crafted and it was compelling to learn about. It's a world that I know I'll be easily able to jump back into when the next book comes around.
The final few chapters were truly fantastic and have definitely made me eager to read the next book. I'm excited to see what the future of this trilogy has in store for the characters because after that ending, things are really going to change. I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Jardine family in the future. They were one of the most exciting aspects of this story for me and I still don't know who to trust. Gilded Cage was a thrilling start to what promises to be a trilogy that will definitely keep me hooked.