Review: Gilded Cage, by Vic James

I would like to thank Random House Publishing – Ballantine and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

I really liked the premise of this book – that there are Aristocrats with magical gifts, called Equals, who forcibly took over the rule of England (and parts or all of the rest of the world) and made it so that those without gifts must work for 10 years of their lives in factory towns. Basically, those 10 years are spent in terrible conditions, and they are considered to be slaves, with no rights whatsoever for the duration of the 10 years.

This story follows Luke, Abi, Daisy and their parents as they start out their 10 years. Luke ends up going to one of the factory towns on his own, but Abi, Daisy and their parents go to the biggest estate in England owned by Equals to serve out their time.

I really enjoyed reading this story, and I also really enjoyed learning about the characters in this book – including some of the Equals. There were also a lot of the Equals who are pretty awful, and just completely secure in their sense of power. Thinking back on the story, the one thing that is most striking to me is that at the beginning, you get this sense that when the normal people are just living their lives that life is somewhat similar to what our lives are like. They have families and go to school and work and are mechanics and work with computers and are doctors and nurses and the kids go to school. But then when a family or an individual chooses to get their 10 years started, the next 10 years is nowhere near normal.

I would have liked to have had more information on what the rest of the world was like as far as the Equals go. There were bits and pieces of information, but nothing that I really feel gave me a complete picture as to where they are and are not in power around the world, so I don’t feel totally clear on that knowledge. The story occurs in England, but because they talk about the rest of the world some, I just feel like I was left with half of that picture. Also, I can’t help but wonder what life is like for these people after they come out of the factory towns. Do they just get to pick up life where they left it off when they left? Are their houses and jobs still there? They are really minor details, but I am left wondering about them anyway.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I am never compensated for my reviews.

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