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Gilded Cage

Gilded Cage

Blurb

Britain is ruled by an elite group of people called the Equals. The Equals are in possession of Skill – the ability to practice magic. The Equals control every aspect of society including wealth and politics.

Brothers Gavar, Jenner and Silyen Jardine belong to the ruling family of the Equals.

Those who don’t belong to the ruling class have to give up ten years of their life to serve them. The ten years are collectively termed ‘slavedays.’


Our Review

Gilded Cage is the first book in The Dark Gifts Series book 1 by Vic James. I received this book in my first ever Book box and I was really excited to finally get around to reading it.

Britain is ruled by an elite group of people called the Equals. The Equals are in possession of Skill – the ability to practice magic. The Equals control every aspect of society including wealth and politics.

Brothers Gavar, Jenner and Silyen Jardine belong to the ruling family of the Equals.

Those who don’t belong to the ruling class have to give up ten years of their life to serve them. The ten years are collectively termed ‘slavedays.’

The prologue of Gilded Cage begins with a girl called Leah being chased across the grounds of Kyneston being pursued by Gavar and Jenner Jardine.

“The only place she could run to was Kyneston’s perimeter wall, and the only hope of escape once she got there was the infant bundled in her arms, her daughter, Libby. “

Libby touches the wall and a beautifully ornate gate appears as if from nowhere but they are unable to get through. Leah is informed by Silyen Jardine that her daughter has the blood to make the gate appear but does not have the Skill and so it won’t open for her.

Gavar, Libby’s father and Kyneston’s heir shoots Leah in the head.

When we first meet Luke he is studying the history of Britain and the reason why the slavedays began.

“Who rarely cared why the slavedays had begun, hundreds of years ago? All that mattered was that they’d never ended. Everyone in Britain except the Equals – the Skilled aristocrats – still had to give up a decade of their life. Those years were spent confined to one of the grim slavetowns that shadowed every major city, with no pay and no respite”

Luke’s younger sister Daisy has just turned ten when he finds out that he and his whole family are about to start their own slavedays. He knows that he cannot be considered a full citizen until he has completed them but part of him is resentful that he is going to be missing a big chunk of young life.

One thing Luke is grateful for is that his sister Abi has arranged for them to complete their slavedays together in service to the Jardines at Kyneston rather than in the local slavetown Millmoor.

However, when their transport arrives everyone is horrified to learn that the Jardines couldn’t find a use for Luke so he is being sent to Millmoor on his own. The family protest but are told that there is nothing they can do.

“You all began your slavedays and entered a state of legal non-personhood. You are now chattels of the state. To explain for the little one here,” he said, looking at Daisy, “this means that you are no longer ‘people’ and have no rights at all. At all.”

Whilst working at Kyneston Abi learns some surprising family secrets whilst working with Jenner Jardine. Along the way Abi begins to have feelings for him but knows she must be careful because she knows the fate of the last slave girl to fall for a member of the Jardine family.

Meanwhile, Luke knows that his time at Millmoor isn’t going to be easy. Upon entering Millmoor Luke has an ID chip inserted into his arm and is told his name is no longer Luke Hadley, it is now Hadley E-1031.

Millmoor itself is bleak and without hope.

“There were no vehicles other than the trundling buses and gleaming jeeps blazoned with the slavetowns insignia and ‘security’ written in vivid crimson. Uniformed men stood on street corners, palms fondling the handles of their batons and the butts of their stun guns. Everyone else wore shapeless tunics and jumpsuits and walked with their heads down. It was difficult to discern either age or gender.”

Whilst exploring his surroundings one day, Luke stumbles across a young girl named Renee and finds himself agreeing to deliver some small items for her, items which he could get into trouble for carrying. Before long Luke begins to notice more and more of the little inequalities that exist and finds himself joining a small resistance group who are willing to defy the Equals.

Gilded Cage reminded me of a very weird combination between Downton Abbey and 1984. It was a good book, highly readable, and I cared about some of the characters. However, I felt like there were elements of the book that worked better than others.

For example, I identified much more with Luke’s character than I ever did with Abi. I felt Abi lacked substance and for an intelligent girl she appeared ignorant to the reality of the situation a lot of the time.

Also, the relationship between Abi and Jenner was a little bit dull if I am honest and I can’t decide how I feel about Silyen’s character.

The chapters with Luke at Millmoor were definitely more my kind of thing and I loved the whole dystopian feel of them.

Luke, Gavar, Doc and Renee are all characters I am interested in seeing more of in the sequel.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 3/5

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