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Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage (2017)

by Vic James

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**This book was reviewed for the San Francisco and Seattle Book Reviews & Netgalley**

Vic James has woven a vision of a dystopic alter-earth where certain people, known as Equals or the Skilled, have magical abilities. In some countries, the Equals rule to the exclusion of others. Great Britain is one such country.

Luke Hadley and his family are preparing to enter their Slavedays a ten year period of enforced servitude all commoners must endure. His elder sister, Abi, has worked hard to get all of her family assigned to serve at Kyneston, the home of the Jardines, the Equal Founding Family. Unfortunately, things don't work out as planned, and Luke alone is sent to the slavetown of Millmoor. Shrouded in a miasma of pollution and thunderous with the noises of industry, Millmoor is a harsh place that ages people before their time.

At first desperate to rejoin his family, Luke ends up finding friends and a purpose at Millmoor. Meanwhile, Abi and the rest of the family get settled at Kyneston, and becoming attached to various Jardines. Abi finds herself falling for Jenner, the sole Skilless Jardine. Daisy, her young sister, has been given the task of caring for Gavar Jardine’s illegitimate daughter, Libby. Over time, Daisy becomes fiercely attached to both Gavar and Libby. And brewing under both Millmoor and Kyneston are plots to shatter the nation, and topple regimes. It’s more than just the commoners who are held fast by chains of custom and fate. The bonds may be fancier, but the Equals as a whole are captives just as much.

I devoured this book. James did a marvelous job of making you both despise and love the Jardines, especially Gavar, and many of the other Skilled as well. They really aren't what they seem at first, at least the brothers. It becomes easy to see how they have been shaped by their father, and by their own relative Skill, or lack thereof. It's equally easy to fall in love with Reni, ‘rhymes with genie’, the young girl who befriends Luke and introduces him to the Doc, and the rest of the 'games’ group. I can't wait til the next in the series comes out!

🎻🎻🎻🎻🎻 Highly recommended, especially if you enjoy dystopic fantasy. ( )
  PardaMustang | Apr 14, 2017 |
This was an excellent alternative history story where royalty was more than a simple matter of birth, but the nobility were also endowed with some superpowers that made them able to keep their privileged existence. Talk about income inequality! In this society each plebian member of society has to serve 10 years of his life as a slave and they can choose which 10 years they serve. Fascinating world and the plot goes beyond the obvious revolution with lots of subplots and intrigue. This is the first of a trilogy and you can definitely sign me up for book 2! ( )
  jmoncton | Mar 17, 2017 |
I had a few doubts starting this book, being that it was a new author and yet another dystopia YA novel. However, by the first chapter the alternative history aspects of this book had intrigued me and I was impressed by the author's world-building. Set in a world separated by Skill - basically those who can wield magic and who live an aristocratic lifestyle - and those who lack Skill - basically everyone else. The unskilled are expected by law to spend 10 years of their life as slaves - a system which supports the relative wealth and power of the skilled aristocracy. This book is told from a variety of perspectives, so the reader receives a picture of society at all its various levels. A good read and definitely something to recommend to fans of YA dystopian novels. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 9, 2017 |
fantasy, magic, slavery ( )
  multilingualmaid | Mar 7, 2017 |
Boring little book suitable for young readers without much fantasy literature experience. It's The Hunger Games with magic. Yawn.

I received a review copy of "The Gilded Cage" by Vic James (Del Ray) through NetGalley.com. ( )
  Dokfintong | Feb 25, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425284158, Hardcover)

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 08 Jun 2016 18:54:19 -0400)

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