Title: Gilded Cage
Author: Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Dystopia, Magic, Romance
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This book took me by surprise because when I decided to glance into it I didn’t intend to read it, I wasn’t even in the mood for fantasy but it sucked me in immediately and before I even realized I was done with half of the story. The flowing writing style and the interesting concept make it easy to get lost in the book.
The world building is quite simple as in uses the known world and even the historical events just add a little magical element to it. This creates a completely new and different social hierarchy and political world. It’s so fascinating how a small change can create something entirely new and intricate. I liked it. Two things thou, the story takes place in modern age with gadgets, electronics and such yet for me it has a Victorian atmosphere and it stuck with me so much that I pictured all of the events in a background as such. Sometimes it confused me and made it harder to picture the story especially when they mentioned the modern elements in it.
There is not on main character in this story so much so that the events are told from 6 different points of view but in my opinion there are at least two more important characters in it.
Luke: His family is enamored and really curious about the mysterious equals but some why he has a more foreboding feeling regarding them. He falls into a less than ideal situation thanks to his parents but he is defiant enough to survive. He is not one to lay low when he can do something to help. Even in a sticky situation he adjusts quickly and finds a place for himself, where he can live without losing himself in his slave years. He doesn’t have revolutionary ideas; he never questioned the order but in the slave-camp he realizes how unfair and inhumane is their society and tries to change it. His chapters show the dark side of the created world and they are a stark contrast to Silyens. He is not the most educated person in his new ‘insurgent’ team but doesn’t let himself played, he is smart. He is loyal and throws himself into the cause so it’s understandable why he feels so betrayed when he discovers a pretty big deception by his new friends. He is an ok character.
Abi: She is a dreamer and she kind of believes that things can be as in her books. She is quite naïve and Jenner kindness lulls her into a disillusion. Her crush is really ridiculous and I didn’t really like her character that much. She kind of represent the naïve little girl who believes she is the most special among her peers. She is really impressionable and even the ugly secrets of the mansion fascinated her after the initial shock. She acts like she is the only one who has everything under control and it took her the whole book to realize and see the dark side of their society and the foulness of the equals. Until then denial worked just fine for her.
Silyen: He was my favorite character from his first appearance. He only got 1 chapter but mentioned a lot in others. People are terrified of him, his powers and his pragmatic side. He is an odd, manipulative, emotionless little creature. My impression of hi is the evil little genius. His intentions and goals are not clear but this only adds to his mystery. He is a master machinator and has a really controlled personality. He gets what he wants even without getting overly involved with the politics of their world. I just have a soft spot for the strange ones.
Gavar: He comes across as an entitled and petulant spoiled heir. But his chapters show a deeper understanding into his personality. He doesn’t want the responsibility that comes with being the heir, but he wants the position and the respects it can get him. His sees his road paved so why bother with working for it. He has a quick temper when he doesn’t get his way but has a sweet side too. Also he is a bit daft at times and doesn’t realize that he is just a tool in others game. His relationship with Bouda gives a comic element to the story. I didn’t like him but his chapters were the funnier.
Bouda: I hated her character the most. She is a spoiled princess, an ambitious, sly, shallow, hypocritical person. She believes she is better than anybody else and she deserves more for it. She has similar too in her corner as Silyen but she is not as polished, good with them. She is good at pretending and leading people on. Her smug, arrogant attitude grated on my nerves.
There are a couple of problems with the plot but nothing too big. One thing that I couldn’t follow and didn’t really want to either is the political machinations and the different territories and heirs. They are complicating and hard to follow but you can perfectly understand the story even if you get the bare minimum of it. There is no real romantic element to the story but it didn’t need it at all. This is a fantastic and exciting dark read that I really enjoyed. I can’t wait for the net installment.
My Favorite Quotes From It
“‘The use of Skill to break into the mind of another person is unconscionable,’ said Armeria. ‘We all know the harmful effects special measures can have. They’re well documented. Some subjects have been rendered mentally incompetent for the rest of their lives. When the act is performed by one inexpert in the use of Skill for this purpose, it can even kill.’ So that was what special measures were. Gavar blanched. They sounded horrifying. Or like Silyen’s idea of a quiet evening’s entertainment”
“Silyen presumably had the man on the guest list for his curtain-raiser tomorrow morning: the awakening of Aunt Euterpe. Crovan would find it fascinating. Maybe he’d ask for a ringside seat. Imagine waking from a twenty-five-year sleep, and the first faces you saw were Sil and Lord Weirdo. Aunty Terpy’s sanity would run gibbering back to whatever cracked little corner of her skull it had been occupying all these years.”