Enter the World of Equals... - Reading List

Enter the World of Equals...

Friday, January 06, 2017

Gilded Cage

Vic James

Are you a fantasy book junkie?  Did you devour all of the crazy science fiction, fantasy, dystopian stories that filled the bookstore shelves in the last decade? Yes?  Then, stop reading and click over to get your pre-ordered copy of this book... seriously!

If not, but you are interested in the concept of a story that gives you a glimpse into different character's approach to making a society equal, when there are clearly different kinds of people living it, maybe you should at least consider reading the following review. 

I'll be honest, I never thought I'd be a dystopian fan. I do not enjoy violent stories, and fantasy can be too much for me most days. But I enjoy fast paced stories, and that is why I started picking up the genre. And then, the dystopian market exploded with some real stinkers... and I started to lower my expectations greatly.  So when this little breakout book came up to review I was worried. In fact, I sat on my copy for almost a month before I started it... what a mistake...

And if you follow me on Instagram, you would know that I overshared this baby!  It’s simply amazing and I cannot wait for the rest of the series…

Gilded Cage by Vic James a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

England is controlled, ruled, by a few very powerful families - all those families are part of the new elite class - the Equals. Their magical gifts have given them the ability to become the aristocrats, and all the commoners (every single other, regular person) MUST serve the Equals for 10 years of their lives. (And by serve, read that as become a slave... with no rights... at all...)

The Hadleys are a common family - two working parents with three kids, who simply want to be a family and enjoy life. When the decision is made to start their slave days, Abi, the oldest daughter, works hard to ensure the entire family gets positions at the Jardine's family home (the most powerful family in the Equals... and it's more like a castle...). So while the family is not pleased about their future, they are encouraged that they will at least be together and way from the dangerous slave cities... 

Of course, luck is not on their side. When they are picked up, the rude reality is that Luke, Abi's younger brother, did not get placed in the Jardine's home, and will be taken, immediately to one of the slave cities. 

The story follows the Hadleys as they try to get Luke back, and the Jardines as a new generation of Equals begins to take power over England.  Needless to say, there is a lot of political plotting going on, with a healthy dose of fantasy magic. 

Personal Likes

I love, love, love the characters in this book. They are so complex. It helps that James tells the story from many different vantage points - you see the world through Luke's eyes, Abi's, Gavar, Jenner... and as a result, the reader has no choice but to fully enter this alternate England and experience all of the injustice going on.

I really loved the pace of this book. While it could be confusing, getting all the different perspectives, the editing is done perfectly. When one character's chapter ends you are swept back up into the life of another while the overall story continues to move forward. It was so hard to put this book down once I got to the fifth chapter because I just had to know what happened with each character next... and I was often surprised (which is harder than one might think).

Gilded Cage by Vic James a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

I, personally, struggled with the setting and timeframe of the whole story. This is clearly England... in the future?? When we start off with just the Hadleys it seems like technology exists, and there are cars... but then, once we shift into the world of the Equals it's like we slip back a few hundred years... It was confusing. There are still cars, as that is how Mr. Hadley secures his position with the Jardine's... but I kept picturing an older castle from the 1800's... it's hard to explain... maybe it was all my own biases playing out in conflict to the actual story - if you read this, and thought otherwise, please enlighten me!!

Also, it was a little confusing to figure out how the powers worked in this story... it took me most of the book to finally get a handle on it... so be ready for that.

Oh, and one minor note, because I am not a violence fan, the opening catch scene was a bit much... and that is all I'm going to say so I don't spoil it...

Reading List Rating

Five-Heart rating on Reading List

Oh, this is totally a five-star (or rather heart... hmmm maybe I need a new way of rating my books now...) book.  I loved it when I read it, I love it more now that I've been sitting on it. And I am so anxious to find people to gush over the story and characters with.  I cannot wait for the next installment to come out.  

My Suggested Audience

Alright, this book is being put in the YA dystopian genre - and I would agree with that. Luke is in high school, so it makes sense.  But then Abi just finished school so this could be a NA, too. As the book is basically looking into the unfairness of slavery and revolutions, this could easily be an adult book.  It feels a lot like a historical fiction meets fantasy because of the setting... so... yeah...

I would recommend this to a more mature teen reader who can handle violence and political strategies. If you are a fan of Victoria Aveyard or even Kiera Cass, you will probably get into this one too. Fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and the like will love it.  But also, if you are into the Game of Thrones types, you could find yourself pulled right in as well.

I would also like to point out that this book will appeal to both guys and girls.  So many vantage points are from the male characters that guys should respect it - let's be honest, there needed to be such a shift in this genre from the female vantage on everything... guys and girls should be working together!!

Wondering Questions to Consider

If you decide to read this with your teen - and you should! - this is the perfect time to discuss equality and slavery. While also discussing how much power a ruling body should be given in order to keep a country safe and thriving.  If you are just picking this up for your own pleasure, take the time to think about why you side with different characters at different points in the story - do you agree with their motives? Why, or why not?

Ignorance bred fear... and fear bred obedience. #GildedCage @drvictoriajames @Reading_List1

What are your thoughts on slavery in today's fiction? Does it help today's readers to understand the unfairness or simply fictionalize real history? What are your thoughts on the crazy dystopian fad in fiction? 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

**If you are considering purchasing this book, please consider using the affiliate link here - it doesn't cost you anything extra, and it would simply make my day!!  In fact, just click through and do your shopping, even if you decide not to get this particular book. TIA

***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me: the link is at the bottom of this page.

**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, BethanyHouse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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