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Publisher: Del Rey Books
Source: Publisher provided for review
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Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.As soon as I read the synopsis for Gilded Cage, I was excited. Even as it sounded a bit like all the dystopian books that came out a few years ago, I loved the idea of it being set in an alternate modern day England. However, I quickly became, honestly, kind of bored with the book.
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?
It's hard to pinpoint exactly what doesn't work, but I think the biggest thing is that almost nothing really hits you. There's a lot packed into the book. A lot of characters. A lot of points of view. A lot of things that could be really interesting, but that aren't developed enough to give them the punch they need. Part of the problem is that we're switching point of view every chapter, and we're following stories in a couple of different places. Just when moments start to gain real momentum, the chapter ends and we're shifted to another part of the story. By the time we get back to that character, the momentum is gone. You have to play catch up.
This is worst with Luke's chapters. His involvement with the rebellion quickly becomes the most interesting storyline, but his is the only point of view involved that we get. While I see why the other POVs are involved, I could have done with a book that follows only Luke and probably been happier reading. Otherwise, I think the only other character that interested me was Silyen. Because his motives are completely inscrutable, you don't know what he's going to do. Maybe give me Luke and Silyen?
The romance is also a little upsetting. Abi is a slave. Jenner, even without any powers, is her master. Romance here is just a no. It gives me the icks and I don't like it. It also feels a lot like instalove; even though a lot of time passes that I'm sure they spend a lot of time together, we see very little of it, so their "attraction" feels baseless.
I'm sad not to have liked Gilded Cage because I was so excited by the premise. I'll probably give a look to the sequel when it comes out later this year, because I'm curious, but my interest may not go any farther. I read the whole book, but it was hard to get through for me, honestly.
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 where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. 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, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. But there’s little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.