Title: Gilded Cage
Author: Vic James
Page count: 368 Pages
Format availability: Hardcover
Publisher: Del Rey Book (Random House Publishing Group)
Release date: February 14 2017
Series / anthology / stand alone: Series (Dark Gifts #1
Got my copy via Netgalley for an exchange of honest review! Thank you Del Rey Books! Also I provided below the first read excerpt of this book! I hope you’ll love it!
Our world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.
A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.
Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?
A boy dreams of revolution.
Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.
And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.
He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?
Another dystopian world where it will transfer you to the world of England where there are two different people living in this estate. First, the Equals, this people have dark gifts that is no ordinary people can do, so they are called “Equals”. Then second are ordinary people they will slaves and serving the Equals for 10 years. This focuses to Hadley Family decided that they want to start their slavedays where they will absolutely commit their selves for the Equals, Jardine’s Family. Unfortunately it turns out Abi’s plan ruined due to Luke been sent to Millmoor, where he have to work there in factories unlike to Abi’s situation in the house of the Equals. Will Abi learn what is the secrets behind Jardine’s Family and Luke will ever see his family again?
This book leaves me great feelings of action and mysteries while reading this book. I absolutely want to get the second book quickly! *Sigh* this is my third time to read multiple POV and it turns out pretty great! But this is a great thing, this book have 7 POVs that have different scenarios and different personality. I’ve read book with multiple POV but it’s like their connected to each one of them. But this book, every chapter you’ll see different aspect and roles which pretty good because you will see how they think and how they act in a simple situation. One bad thing for me is kind of confusing. I’m not use to read multiple POV since most books I’m reading is one or two POV. It’s pretty challenging for me to read this one, but I’m absolutely loving it!
Let’s go to the romance, there is none much romance. I just can’t feel the romantic scenes here especially to Jenner and Abi. I didn’t even much focus on romantic since, I am more on focus on the rivalry between Equals and Millmoor world. And for the characters, heroic and obviously good with their roles. The writer obviously nailed every characters that made for this book.
This is mix of SOC and RQ stories, but I am more intrigued to know more about the mysteries behind of the Equals. Of course, it’s England, I mean, I really love the stories that sets here. I can totally imagine how good and bad things running to stories. Overall, I love the story and I can’t wait for the second book.
Read an Excerpt
It was an unusually hot weekend in mid-June and sweat pooled along Luke Hadley’s spine as he lay on his stomach on a blanket in the front yard. He was staring blankly at a spread of textbooks. The screaming was distracting, and had been going on for a while now.
If it had been Abigail trying to revise, Daisy and her pals would never have been allowed to make such a racket. But Mum had inexplicably gone into overdrive for Daisy’s birthday, which had turned into the party of the century. Luke’s little sis and her friends were careering round behind the house shrieking at the tops of their voices, while some unforgivably awful C-pop boyband blared through the living room window.
Luke stuffed his earbuds in as deep as they’d go without rupturing anything, and turned up the volume on his own music. It didn’t work. The catchy beat of “Happy Panda” was backed by the delirious vocals of ten-year-old girls massacring the Chinese language. Moaning, he let his face fall forward onto the books spread out on the grass in front of him. He knew who he’d be blaming when he failed History and Citizenship.
Beside him, her own exams long since completed, Abi was lost in one of her favorite trashy novels. Luke gave it the side-eye and cringed at the title: Her Master’s Slave. She was nearly finished, and had another pastel-covered horror lined up. The Heir’s Temptation. How someone as smart as his big sister could read such rubbish was beyond him.
Still, at least it kept her distracted. Uncharacteristically, Abi hadn’t nagged him once about revision, even though this term’s tests were the most important until he finished school in two years’ time. He turned back to the mock exam paper. The words swam before his eyes.
Describe the Equal Revolution of 1642 and explain how it led to the Slavedays Compact. Analyze the role of (i) Charles I, the Last King, (ii) Lycus Parva, the Regicide, and (iii) Cadmus Parva-Jardine, the Pure-in-Heart.
Luke grunted in disgust and rolled onto his back. Those stupid Equal names seemed designed to confuse. And who really cared why the slavedays had begun, hundreds of years ago? All that mattered was that they’d never ended. Everyone in Britain except the Equals—the Skilled aristocrats—still had to give up a decade of their life. Those years were spent confined to one of the grim slavetowns that shadowed every major city, with no pay and no respite.
Movement caught his eye and he sat up, scenting distraction. A stranger had walked up the driveway and was peering through the windows of Dad’s car. This wasn’t unusual. Luke jumped up and went over.
“Brilliant, isn’t it?” he told the guy. “It’s an Austin-Healey, more than fifty years old. My dad restored it. He’s a mechanic. But I helped. It took us more than a year. I could probably do most of it myself now, he’s taught me so much.”
“Is that right? Well, I reckon you’ll be sorry to see it go, then.”
“See it go?” Luke was nonplussed. “It’s not going anywhere.”
“Eh? But this is the address in the advert.”
“Can I help?” Abi had appeared at Luke’s shoulder. She nudged him gently. “You get back to your revision, little bro. I’ll handle this.”
Luke was about to tell her not to bother, that the man had made a mistake, when a stampede of small girls hurtled around the house and thundered toward them.
“Daisy!” Abi yelled repressively. “You’re not to play round the front. I don’t want anyone tearing into the road and getting run over.”
Daisy trotted over to join them. She wore a large orange badge with a sparkly “10” on it, and a sash across her chest bearing the words “Birthday Girl.”
“Honestly.” Daisy folded her arms. “It was only for a minute, Abi.”
The man who’d come about the car was looking at Daisy intently. He’d better not be some kind of pervert.
“Birthday girl, is it?” he said, reading the sash. “You’re ten? I see . . .”
His face went funny for a moment, with some expression Luke couldn’t work out. Then he looked at the three of them standing there. It wasn’t a threatening look, but it made Luke put his arm around his little sis and draw her closer.
“Tell you what,” the man said. “I’ll give your dad a call some other time. You enjoy your party, young lady. Have your fun while you can.”
He nodded at Daisy, then turned and ambled off down the driveway.
“Weird,” said Daisy expansively. Then she gave a war whoop and led her pals in a prancing, cheering conga back round the rear of the house.
“Weird” was the word, Luke thought. In fact, the entire day had felt not quite right.
But it wasn’t until he lay awake in bed that night that it all came together. Selling the car. The fuss over Daisy’s birthday. The suspicious absence of nagging over his own exam revision.
When he heard hushed conversation floating up from the kitchen, and padded downstairs to find his parents and Abi sitting at the table studying paperwork, Luke knew he was right.
“When were you planning on telling me and Daisy?” he said from the doorway, deriving a grim satisfaction from their confusion. “At least you let the poor kid blow out the candles on her cake before your big reveal. ‘Happy birthday, darling. Mummy and Daddy have a surprise: they’re abandoning you to do their slavedays.’ ”
The three of them looked back at him in silence. On the tabletop, Dad’s hand reached for Mum’s. Parental solidarity—never a good sign.
“So what’s the plan? That Abi’s going to look after me and Daisy? How will she do that when she’s at med school?”
“Sit down, Luke.”
Dad was an easygoing man, but his voice was unusually firm. That was the first alarm.
Then as he stepped into the room, Luke noticed the documents Abi was hastily shuffling into a pile. A suspiciously large pile. The uppermost sheet bore Daisy’s date of birth.
Understanding slid into Luke’s brain and lodged its sharp point there.
“It’s not just you, is it?” he croaked. “It’s all of us. Now that Daisy’s turned ten, it’s legal. You’re taking us with you. We’re all going to do our slavedays.”
He could hardly say the last word. It stole the breath from his chest.
In an instant, the slavedays had gone from being a dull exam question to the next decade of Luke’s life. Ripped away from everyone and everything he knew. Sent to Manchester’s filthy, unforgiving slavetown, Millmoor.
“You know what they say.” Luke was unsure whether he was berating his parents or begging them. “ ‘Do your slavedays too old, you’ll never get through them. Do your slavedays too young, you’ll never get over them.’ What part of that don’t you understand? Nobody does days at my age, let alone Daisy’s.”
“It’s not a decision your mother and I have taken lightly,” Dad replied, keeping his voice steady.
“We only want the best for you all,” Mum said. “And we believe this is it. You’re too young to appreciate it now, but life is different for those who’ve done their days. It gives you opportunities—better opportunities than your father and I had.”
Luke knew what she meant. You weren’t a full citizen until you’d completed your slavedays, and only citizens could hold certain jobs, own a house, or travel abroad. But jobs and houses were unimaginably far off, and ten years of servitude in exchange for a few weeks of foreign holidays didn’t seem much of a trade.
His parents’ reasonableness knifed Luke with betrayal. This wasn’t something his parents just got to choose, like new curtains for the living room. This was Luke’s life. About which they’d made a huge decision without consulting him.
Though they had, apparently, consulted Abi.
“As she’s eighteen,” Dad said, following Luke’s gaze, “Abigail is of age to make up her own mind. And obviously your mum and I are delighted that she’s decided to come with us. In fact, she’s done rather more than that.”
Dad put his arm round Abi’s shoulders and squeezed proudly. What had the girl wonder done now?
“Are you serious?” Luke asked his sister. “You’ve been offered places at three different medical schools, and you’re turning them down to spend the next decade saying nin hao every five minutes in Millmoor’s Bank of China call center? Or maybe they’ll put you in the textiles factory. Or the meat-packing plant.”
“Cool it, little bro,” Abi said. “I’ve deferred my offers. And I’m not going to Millmoor. None of us are. Do what Dad says: sit down, and I’ll explain.”
Still furious, but desperate to know how you could do days without going to Millmoor, Luke complied. And he listened with a mixture of admiration and horror as Abi told him what she’d done.
It was insane. It was terrifying.
It was still slavedays, and because he was under eighteen it wasn’t like Luke had a choice one way or the other. His parents could take him wherever they wanted.
But at least they weren’t taking him to the hellhole that was Millmoor.
Mum and Dad told Daisy the next morning, and she accepted the news with a stoicism that made Luke ashamed. For the first time, he allowed himself to think that maybe his parents’ plan was the right one, and that they’d all get through their days just fine, as a family.
A few days later, once it had all sunk in, he told his best friend, Simon. Si let out a low whistle at the big reveal.
“There’s a department within the Labor Allocation Bureau called Estates Services, where the Equals go for their house-slaves,” Luke said. “Abi made an application for us there. We’re being sent south to Kyneston.”
About the Author
Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.
She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now writes full time.
Thank you so much for viewing!