Book Review: Gilded Cage

gilded cage


Gilded Cage

Written by Vic James

405 pages

Published by Pan Macmillan

Publication date: January 26th 2017


Summary (from Goodreads):

In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.


Have a quick ten years.

If you read no more of this review, no problem – just go out and read this book now!

I am ashamed that it has taken me so long to write this review but the main problem was that I simply loved it so much that it is hard to know what to say except – READ IT NOW!

(If you’re reading this close to the original publication date and time (April 14th 9. 15am) or shortly afterwards, I will be listening to and meeting the wonderful author Vic James. Excuse me while I fangirl a little!)

It is sometimes easier to write reviews for books that fall into the medium range as you can think about what you liked and disliked. For those books that you completely fall in love with it’s hard to find the words…so you end up just pushing the book at people at screaming ‘READ IT NOW!’

Gilded Cage completely blew me away with the darkness, beauty of language and twisty, fascinating characters. Apparently, the author Vic James, jokingly compared it to Downtown Abbey in a post Harry Potter Britain where Voldemort won. The description has stuck for a reason. In the Britain of the Gilded Cage your destiny is decided by birth. Those Gifted with magical power are in charge and everyone else is expected to spend ten years of their lives doing their ‘slave days’ in servitude to the Gifted.

The story follows one family as they begin their slave days at the country estate of one of the most powerful Gifted families, the Jardines. The eldest daughter, Abi, has planned it out so that they can all, hopefully, complete their slave days together and in one piece. Unfortunately, things don’t quite go to plan…

This is a truly dark vision of what Britain could become when power is held only by a select few.

There’s no magic more powerful than the human spirit.


What I liked: Some people found the politics too much, but I loved every Machiavellian bit of it! Silyen Jardine has set up permanent camp as one of my favourite characters ever (though, in real life, I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him). I really liked how dark the story became and how it didn’t shy away from the nastier side of human nature. I saw another reviewer mention that the characters didn’t have their own motivation, but I think that they all had internal motivation but some people were better at hiding it than others – keeps you guessing!

Even better if:  I want to know more about the Skill! The number of points-of-view meant that I was often rushing through on chapter so I could get back to a storyline I was really hooked into.  The romance felt a bit unnecessary – I didn’t ship Abi and Jenner. But, more importantly, why isn’t the third book out already?! I need it!

How you could use it in your classroom: This is not one that I would recommend for the primary classroom (despite the fact that I would recommend this book to practically anyone!), but it could be recommended to 16+ pupils or used as a great discussion starter in adult education or colleges.


(Thank you so much to my wonderful library for having a copy on your shelves)


Read a review of Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index, Wolf Children, The Circus or How to Catch a Witch?

Learn about requesting ARCs (Advance Review Copies) through Netgalley.


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Thanks for reading!


49 Comments Add yours

  1. yesmoreblogs says:

    I like the sound of this book think I will have alook on netgalley to see if I can request it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think either Gilded Cage or the second book )Tarnished City) will still be on Netgalley as they have both been published now and the books normally get archived once they are published. But you can buy the ebooks quite cheaply or check out from your local library? The third book in the trilogy is due out later this year so it may be on Netgalley then. Hope you manage to get a copy!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yesmoreblogs says:

        I’m going to have alook and try and find it. I’m not actually signed up to my local library 😶 even though I should be. I always take my daughter as she really enjoys going and getting new books 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You should definitely sign up! I get tonnes of books from my library and they are really nice about ordering books in from other branches if they don’t have it in stock 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. yesmoreblogs says:

        I think I will go and join up. I’m always at their books when I’m there anyway 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Got this on my shelf! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Have you read it yet? Please read it soon if you haven’t already!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haven’t read it yet, but its on my soon pile! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hope you enjoy it! I love how we all have multiple book piles… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks! Yea, I don’t think those piles will ever shrink!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. *death by book pile* Inscribed on tombstone

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Those book piles are committing mass murder!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The NChanting whispers says:

    I think I should definitely try this book …Your review actually made me curious …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I hope you do and hope you enjoy it – let me know what you think!

      Like

      1. The NChanting whispers says:

        Definitely …😀😇😃

        Liked by 1 person

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