The Gilded Cage
By Vic James
ARC e-book, 368 pages
2017, Del Rey
Expected Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Welcome to modern-day England, where the aristocratic have magical powers and everyone else must serve ten years of slavery.
If you’re sensing some snark in my blurb, it’s because I didn’t enjoy this book and I honestly have no clue how else to summarize it. Yes, I read the description and I did see the bit about commoners serving those with magic, known as “the Equals” for some reason that either wasn’t disclosed or I didn’t pay attention to, but I didn’t realize it was ten years of actual slavery, complete with the loss of all rights and “personhood.”
So let’s start with my biggest issue with this book – I don’t buy the premise. Now, I’ve read dystopias before and oftentimes there is a suspension of belief required to really get into the story. But I do not buy that in modern times, people would willingly serve a small class of people, by literally becoming slaves for ten years of their lives, even if they get to choose at what age they do so (well, by the time they turn 60 or something). Other countries have Equals and handle magic with varying degrees, but I believe England was one of the few countries that have these slave laws and it made it even harder to believe that the common people wouldn’t have broken free of this ridiculous agreement by now.
Yes, the Equals are all rich (because, of course) and some are very powerful, but throughout the story we realize most of these people never even display their powers, making me wonder all the more why they’re in a position to command slaves at this point. Many of them don’t even know the extent of their own powers and I wondered whether they could actually snuff out a serious rebellion.
But before I even realized how ridiculous I thought the overall plot of the book was, I was bored to death by the characters. I didn’t care about Luke, Abi and their family and how they were going into slavery. I didn’t care about any of the clichéd Equals. They were so bland I couldn’t even bring myself to hate them, which would have at least been entertaining to some degree. Oh, well there were two sisters named Bouda and Bodina and I hate their names, so that’s something I suppose.
All in all, I was predominantly bored by this book and was relieved when it was over. I believe this is to be a trilogy, but I’ll pass on that.
I expected more from this book – more atmosphere, more character development, more excitement. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I would recommend this book to anyone. However, I seem to be in the minority compared to the other reviews I’ve seen so far, so perhaps you may enjoy this.
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
You can visit Vic’s website.
*cover image from NetGalley