Series : Dark Gifts
Publisher Pan Macmillan
Source : Publisher
Release Date : January 26th 2017
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. . . .
Gilded Cage is an interesting debut. There was some great hopes after reading the blurb , that I the reader would totally fall in love with this novel. And I did on some aspects. For a debut, it did promised a lot and did delivered a lot. James has a clever idea with the commoners verse the Equals (Skilled). Told in multiple POV’s, there was a lot to take in and sometimes I wonder was it necessary but it only added to this crazy creative story.
Like any good verse evil story, story revolve around a number of characters , representing the two sides of the coin. One is an ordinary family, the other the most powerful family in the land. Each of the families have as their own issues when their words collided. It brings a to life a common issue in real life . The 99% verse the 1%
The Hadleys are an ordinary family, who live like any other commoners . There is nothing special about. Just ordinary people who becomes stars as they are thrust into greatness because of events that out of their control. When they decide to do their ten years service now whilst their children are young. It makes sense, get it out of their way and live a normal ordinary life in peace .
However their parents’ decision is one that has one of the most powerful bearings on this novel as this opens up a wealth of possilbities. As whilst Abigail (Agi) is 18 and able to make the decision on her own to join her parents even though she destined for university and a career as a doctor . It makes sense to her and she is curious about the opportunity working for the Jardine family. For her younger siblings Daisy and Luke are brought along for the ride unable to control their lives , it a different story and we are quickly whisk to their new lives after the introduction to this family .
James in those moments, makes it clear who will stand out and a cruel decision is made by their new owners. The Jardines to separate Luke from the rest of his family and this decision sets the course of the novel. The Hadley children become faces of the commoners as they settle into their new lives. Each one of them one tackling on the issues of their own and the greater community unwittingly as they settle in for the ten years service. One in love, one is revolting and one abandoning them.
Entwined with their story is the 1% Equals, their new owners. The Jardine’s , the most powerful family in England. Like any other powerful family they have their up’s and their down’s . The three sons each have their own agenda. They may have power of various kinds but they are caged as well. Watched under scrutiny and more because of their birth rights, each has their own path they have set on guided by their own determination and skill. Still the gilded cage surrounds them and they can only do so much. Abide by the politics or else even when there is change coming….
Good verse evil. Poor verse rich. There is a lot going on with this novel.
Even though I loved the novel, eve I can see where this fantasy novel has it issues. I have tossed whether to bump on my ratings given this is only the beginning and for a debut is written well . It meets what I expect in a fantasy.
A lot happened in the last third of the novel. It revealed a lot, set things up and left us hanging . It did redeem things and made me more curious about the future of this series. It was the saving grace for me. I could have be easily lead another way given the characterisation of Luke and his thoughts that were shaped by the surprising turn of events . I was shocked like he was and I’m curious to see the future of him given the events.
The issues I have with this novel is the somewhat romanticising of slavery. Daisy looks her at her master as in love even though she only a mere child through out this novel. I get she is ten but I wonder with things the way ending as they are . Will this be addressed in the second novel considering the way things ended, I hope so as this is a worrying sight.
Also the condemned those who fought the rules and got caught by the Equals. I get it is fantasy, but it was really out there the punishments for some. Whilst it was a means to end and the way things ended was on a good note for some. I wonder what of those left behind who are being punished.
Despite all that . The book remind me of another book, in a good way. I love when a book goes off the beaten track and deliver something different. It isn’t just a good verse evil story. There so much cold calculation in this story and I’m utterly curious to see where it goes next.