Review: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James


Title: Gilded Cake
Author: Vic James
Publisher/Year: Random House 2/14/17
Length:   255 Pages
Series:  Dark Gifts #1


For readers of Victoria Aveyard and Kiera Cass comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule—and commoners are doomed to serve.

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 their 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?

My Thoughts

First of all i need to thank the folks at NetGalley for getting me a copy of this book so early.  I’ve been on a bit of a YA / Fantasy jog these days it seems so this introduction to a new series is kind of right up my alley.

What we have here is a bit of a split thing.  first we have you’re expected YA coming of age story where there’s a family that’s ripped apart because of society laws with all but one going to this ‘majestic’ home to work out their ‘slavedays’ while the son, Luke is sent to a horrid slave town.  The expectation here of course is that Luke will come into his own, gain respect, power, authority and skill which will then come into play later in this book and the series as becoming some type of martyr right?

If only that worked.  Because the other side of this story is that it’s a bit fantasy, where the folks that don’t have to devote ten years to slavedom, they are the Equals, those who are born with power and Skill – a magical ability of sorts.  There’s so much uncertainty still behind where these abilities came from, what they can do and why surprisingly there are a few folks who don’t have it.  but needless to say, there’s a bit of dark fear around some folks and their abilities.

Throughout this story we see things happening in two places, where Luke is and where his family is and then the pov of what those with ability and not live their lives when there’s a notion of a threat to who will be free and not.  (that’s the end game of course for the slaves).

We meet quite a few interesting characters throughout -the Jardine brothers especially, as there’s Gavar who’s very much like his father and has power and authority.  he’s the heir and will take the family seat.  Silyen who’s the youngest and who seems to have the strongest powers but also something very dark and evil inside.  then there’s Jenner – the one that is a mystery.  he has no powers, and he’s the most approachable, yet the one with the least value.

this story’s interesting since you see that there are so many sub plots and stories being woven throughout that you’re not sure most of the time which is going to become something important as things progress.  There’s a constant questions of who is on which side since we know that there are people playing both, but then there are people with their own agendas especially within the Equals since it’s all a power struggle.

The climax here comes when there’s a vote to abolish slavedays and the outcome of what happens during the third debate is not at all what was expected.  We see favorites crumble, we see bonds broken and we see perhaps one of our favorite characters running for their lives in the hopes of being able to bring huge change when we see what happens in book 2.

Great mix of YA angst, and coming of age ‘need to change the world’ mentality.  There’s also an interesting mix of fantasy and heritage here that we get when we try to get into the heads of some of the characters.  When it comes out – i suggest you guys try to get a hold of this one.  Enjoy!