Written by Vic James
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)
Learn about requesting ARCs (Advance Review Copies) through Netgalley.
Thanks for reading!