All about Books
This is the page where I will be discussing what I'm reading, reviewing those books and be open to suggestions to keep adding to my To Be Read pile. Honestly, I'm never going to get through that thing anyway, so the more the merrier.
Today I’m going to be sharing my first book review. I’ve written a shorter one on Goodreads, the link to which is below. My Goodreads reviews are often quite short since I don’t give away major spoilers.
(For this blog, I will try to do the same if you haven’t had the chance to read the book/see the film/other, but cannot always guarantee I won’t slip up at some point. I’ll put a disclaimer at the beginning of posts if I’m discussing something recent. )
With that out of the way, I’ve put some basic- and hopefully useful- information about the book and then the main review below. Enjoy.
Title: Gilded Cage
Author: Vic James
Part of a trilogy/series: Yes, book 1 in the Dark Gifts trilogy
Original publication date: December 2016 (UK)/February 2017 (USA)
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (Read April 2017)
When I first heard of this book, I knew I wanted to read it and was bought it a few months after publication, so had limited chance to catch any spoilers. As far as I’m aware, Gilded Cage is the debut novel by Vic James, and is a brilliant start to the trilogy.
The scene is a modern England but society seems in a way to have gone backwards. The people mostly in the north are classed as ‘commoners’ and must perform a decade of slave days, either in one of the massive factory-type establishments or in the houses of the Equals in the south. The Equals have Skill, which can manifest itself as different abilities, but frankly some of what they use it for is quite scary and makes me glad it isn’t real. As I’m sure was intentional, the author likens everything to the old North/South divide in England.
For those reading this outside of the UK, some years ago only people from the south of England could do jobs such as being a news presenter, because they spoke more like the Queen’s English. Quite a few cities in, and nearer to, the north had dialects that were harder to understand, so those people were never allowed to have those kinds of jobs. This would have included me and my home city in East Yorkshire. Thankfully, not many people I know look at it like this now*, though it’s still usually there in the background.
*Unless you’re me and one of my best friends who is from London. We joke about things in this way sometimes.
The story follows the Hadley family who begin their slave days. The main POV’s are Abi and Luke, the two oldest children in the family. Abi tries to get the whole family into the house of one of the most powerful families there are, but Luke is separated from them and taken to Millmoor, one of the factory types in Manchester.
As it’s already set in the modern day England, there wasn’t a lot of world building as such as the cities are already there. It was the places of Millmoor and Kyneston, the house of the powerful Jardine family that were created and done really well, making me feel like I was there, and with them being clear enough that it didn’t make me feel lost when a chapter swapped POV’s. Aside from Abi and Luke, there is the POV’s from a lot of the Equals, mostly one of the Jardine brothers or another member of their family.
Onto the characters. I really liked the Hadley family. They felt like a normal family, stuck in situations they were forced into, but trying to do their best for each other regardless. Abi felt the need to be strong, as the oldest, in looking after her siblings or helping her parents and I admire her for that. Luke and their younger sister Daisy did a lot of growing up very quickly and they were both really good characters as well.
The powerful family of Equals, the Jardines, are on the opposite end of the scale. They have everything they could ever want and are proud of their Skill and heritage. The three brothers are Gavar, Jenner and Silyen, each with their own unique personality. However, their father is terrible to each of them in his own way and their mother is quite distant from just about everyone. Other members of their family come in and out of the story, but it is mostly to do with the brothers in the Jardine household.
Gavar is the one I would want to be around the least, as he has a temper though he cares a lot about his baby daughter. Jenner is definitely the kindest, though there are limits to this because of his position. I haven’t made my mind up about Silyen yet, though he’s very intriguing and draws you in. But he’s also scary in the way if he was going to put a knife in you, he’d probably apologise first, but smile while doing it. I’m looking forward to how he’s portrayed in the next book. All of the other characters are also clear, even the ones who aren’t in it much.
However, my one gripe is that the politics confused me a bit at times. I understood the main parts of this, and most of it easily linked into the story, but there seemed to be of rules and set ways when we are first introduced to the political aspects. I’m not sure it quite needed to be written like that, but it is.
All in all, I’ve given ‘Gilded Cage’ 5 stars. If you’ve read it, please let me know what you thought of it as well. Thanks for reading this review. All the best.