Review: Gilded Cage by Vic James

gildedcagevicSeries: Dark Gifts #1
Published by: Del Rey
ISBN: 0425284158
ISBN 13: 9780425284155
Published: February 2017
Pages: 368
Format reviewed: eVersion from NetGalley
Site: Author Site
Goodreads: Book Page
Stars: Three out of Five

Set in an alternate history, we have England ruled by the elite in an entirely different way – they are blessed with magic, and those not of the elite families must serve ten years hard labour – the only mercy is that they may choose in their life when this servitude takes place. Unless you’re under age, such as Luke is, and your parents decide for you. At first it seems to be survivable, as his intelligent older sister has managed to get them into the royal household to perform what they assume will be lighter duties… that is until it turns out that there was no work to be found for him, and he is sent to the warehouse district instead. It is there, that he discovers true hardship.

The book itself is split into parts, and told from a few perspectives – that of the noble-born sons, Luke, Abi (the intelligent older sister) and this is done well, as it’s not common to see the tone and and choice of words changing so effortlessly between characters – this works very well indeed, and I wish we saw more of it in general.

The characters also seem well developed and all are interesting, especially those Luke meets in his new and sudden future. Somehow, though I’m usually the first to adore character-driven novels and although I can’t think of any issues with any of them entirely, I somehow didn’t feel overly connected with any of the characters. Perhaps something was missing, but I can’t quite tell why I didn’t love them all than I do.

The plot is good and interesting, the injuries and consequences the characters face were believable, and overall it had good pacing and interesting arcs that kept me reading.

Overall it’s a good start to the series, and I’m invested in finding out what happens next. With the introduction and worldbuilding now set, I hope that we get more depth to the history and magic system as some parts felt a little inconsistent, but I could be judging harshly. The writing itself is good, which makes this readable despite minor quibbles.

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