Gilded Cage by Vic James is a YA fantasy/dystopian novel pitting the powerful against the magic-less. In this alternative Britain there are Equals and Commoners; the Equals are powerful aristocrats with magical powers, skill, which they use to control the common man. For ten years of their life the commoners must give up all rights and serve their time as slaves. For one family their years are about to begin…
Abi has found a way for her family serve their slave days in relative “comfort” by serving a family of high ranking Equals but something goes terrible wrong and her brother, Luke, is separated and taken to serve his days in a slave town known for its harsh jobs and even harsher punishments.
As Abi and her family head to the estate, Luke is thrown into Millmore and left to fend for himself. Luke finds himself in this factory town and along with his fellow rebels he realizes that he’s also found himself a revolution. Things are not as they seem at the Jardine estate and Abi soon finds herself in the middle of Equal politics, even while her attraction to one of them grows.
What will become of these siblings, separated by miles and circumstance? Will the Equals maintain their hold over a country divided? And what happens when one of their own has and agenda all his own?
I enjoyed this book a lot… except for one storyline: Abi’s. Where Luke’s story is interesting, fast-paced and filled with dynamic characters, Abi’s is kind of slow and frankly annoying. She has this love at first sight thing for the powerless equal, Jenner, and even though she knows what happened to the last girl who fell in love with a Jardine, she is still head over heels. She doesn’t even question it. It’s all very ignorant given the world they live in and I couldn’t stand it. The romance wasn’t a problem, since there hardly was any, but the infatuation overshadows a really interesting plot. I almost couldn’t get past it. The one thing I will say, is that James sets up Abi to have a much better character in subsequent novels, it was just a shame she was so lackluster in this one.
That being said, I loved Luke’s story-line and I hope we see more of Doc, Genie and the rest of the rebels in the future. Luke’s story is what I expect from a dystopian, rebellion, discord and hope in dire circumstances. The “game” Luke begins to play with his fellow rebels is a lot of fun and a unique take on starting a rebellion from the inside.
This story was surprisingly political and I didn’t mind it actually. In fact, I sort of really like a character, I am pretty sure we are supposed to hate: Gavar. I found him troubled and volatile and also conflicted and interesting. I see him as a wildcard in the coming books.
Overall, I am interested in seeing where this series goes. I really, really hope Abi gets a bit more dynamic and I really want to know what the youngest Jardine is up to. This one gets 3.5 from me.
That’s all for now!