Review: Gilded Cage

Gilded CageI read Gilded Cage a few months ago when I received the ARC here at Mackin. Now that it is finally being released next month, on the 14th, I wanted to share my excitement for this book and the series that is about to begin. I would recommend this book to readers of dystopian fiction with a dash of paranormal. This book will fit right in with books like Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard or Red Rising by Pierce Brown.

The main premise involves the Equals and commoners. Equals are aristocrats born with magical abilities like telekinesis, healing, or control over various elements. The commoners must complete their slave days by serving the Equals for ten years. They are allowed to complete their slave days anytime during their life, as long as they are at least 10 years old. The story follows the Hadley family who have decided to complete their slave days right after their youngest daughter, Daisy, turns 10. The eldest daughter, Abi, has arranged for the entire family to serve their days at the Jardine estate. This is supposed to mean that their slave days go by somewhat easily by serving in jobs that are not dangerous and they can all be together. However, when the transport arrives to take the Hadleys to their slave days, two vans arrive, one to take the family to Jardine estate and one to take Luke Hadley to Millmoor, a slave town filled with dangerous factories and guards. The family is broken apart with Abi promising Luke to find a way to bring him to the Jardine’s.

Once the family has been separated the story switches narration between chapters, following Abi, Luke, and a few Equals. Abi, her parents, and Daisy are brought to the Jardine estate and given jobs to complete around the house. Daisy is given the task of being the care taker of an Equal baby. Abi is assigned to work as a secretary with one of the Jardine sons, Jenner, who is a part of an Equal family, but an outcast because he was born without a Skill. He is different from the other Equals, who are cruel and selfish, and Abi begins to fall in love with him. She doesn’t forget her promise to her brother and prods the Equals at every opportunity to have Luke sent to them.

Luke is sent to the slave town of Millmoor to complete hard labor in a dangerous factory for his slave days. His first days at Millmoor are full of confusion and pain and attempting to get used to the strict schedule and guards of the town. He quickly gets lost in the maze of the streets and runs into Renie, who he eventually learns is a part a resistance group at Millmoor. Luke joins the group and works to fight back against the oppression of the Millmoor guards and the Equals. The resistance group quickly becomes his family and support network during his time at Millmoor.

I think this new series has a lot going for it with the intrigue, a little romance, mystery, and fast-paced throughout. The alternating narrator also gives an interesting dimension to learn about the inner workings of the Equals and their society, but still care about the injustice that the commoners face every day. Gilded Cage ends on a cliff-hanger, so I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book and see where James leads us in this story.

Gilded Cage by Vic James. 9780425284155. February 2017. Gr 10-12.


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