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?
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley for an honest review. All opinons are my own and I was not compensated in any way.
First off, I want to begin that I didn’t care for this book. That isn’t to say there aren’t good things about it, it just didn’t jive with me. To start this review right, I’ll put the good stuff first and end with what I didn’t care for. There may be some intermingling between the two parts, but that’s the way my brain flows.
And now onto the good stuff . . .
I was first drawn to Gilded Cage for its cover and the dystopian world blurb. Before you start thinking the world of this book is set in the distant future or past, it’s more like modern times (this is important because it threw me for a loop. For some reason, I wanted it a Victorian esque setting). So, think of today, but with magic and ten years of slavehood for the non magic folk.
This concept is interesting. It gives the world a depth to it and doesn’t give off a complete dystopian where everyone are “equal” or there’s some big brother or games to kill each other. It’s simply rich people wanting to remain powerful and normal folks getting the serious raw end of the deal. There is a rebellion in the works and the different point of views do lend a different aspect to what’s going on.
The writing is also well done and you can read it fairly quickly. I was up to 25% in one sitting.
That said, now onto why I didn’t care for it . . .
Okay, obviously there’s the issue with the magic and setting. For some reason, the fantasy mixing with modern times bothered me. I couldn’t grasp it in my head and kept putting them in an older time period. This became troublesome when you add in characters playing on a game console, but then have rich guys riding horses for day to day transportation. It played with my mind and it didn’t sit well.
Another issue I had were the slavedays themselves. The concept of people being slaves for a number of years isn’t a big deal. It is a big deal when these guys have been living like this for a long time and aren’t rebelling until now. There are no mentions of previous failed rebellions. If there were, I’d be more inclined to understand it better. Also, ten years is a bit much. Especially if the main populace are supposed to do slavedays. I don’t know . . . it just seems even more unbelievable for the world.
Though there was a good reason for the multiple points of view, it made reading the book a bit disjointed. I honestly didn’t care about anything the Jardine family had to offer. Not as characters as much as characters with run time. I feel the book should have stuck with one or two viewpoints, possibly just Abi and Luke. This way we get the feel of slavedays in both enviornments and want to root for Luke more.
May I also add the names. Boy did they have special names. Now I understand that dystopians and fantasy books are filled with strange names, but Jardine? Kyneston? Zelston? Silyen? The list goes on and on. I didn’t know how to say the names for one. For another, I got confused with all of the strange nomenclature that it pulled me away from the story itself.
So, yeah, I was constantly being pulled away from the book. I didn’t know who was the bad guy, even though the good guys were pretty straightforward. I felt disjointed and I was not sure what I was reading. This just wasn’t a book for me.