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A darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule, and commoners are doomed to serve—for readers of Victoria Aveyard and Susanna Clarke
NOT ALL ARE FREE.
NOT ALL ARE EQUAL.
NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED.
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 their 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?
Praise for Gilded Cage
“Beautifully characterised and compellingly plotted, Gilded Cage is an impressive debut.”—The Guardian
“An alternate modern-day England where enticing drama and social unrest mix with aristocratic scandal and glamorous magic . . . conjuring up the specters of Les Misérables and Downton Abbey . . . an absorbing first installment that presages an intriguing new fantasy series.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Gilded Cage is a heart-pounding combination of dark magic, political revolution, and forbidden romance that had me addicted from the first page!”—Danielle L. Jensen, USA Today bestselling author of The Malediction Trilogy
“Devious and deliciously dark with lashings of magic, mystery, and mayhem, this juggernaut of a book will keep you hanging on by your fingernails until the very last page.”—Taran Matharu, New York Times bestselling author of The Summoner Trilogy
“A dark and intriguing vision of an alternate, magic-drenched Britain, Gilded Cage kept me up long into the night.”—Aliette de Bodard, author of The House of Shattered Wings
“Brisk plotting, sympathetic characters, and plenty of intrigue will keep readers on the edges of their seats, eager for the next book in a very promising series.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Incredibly imaginative & engrossing start to the series!
Wow. Just WOW. This book completely blew me away. I was not expecting this amazingly and thoughtfully crafted dystopian world filled with such a fantastic cast of characters. I was hooked from the very start and could not put this book down.
Gilded Cage has a whole slew of characters and connections to keep track of, but I swear it is all worth it. The story focuses mainly on the Hadley and Jardine families, specifically Abigail (Abi) and Luke Hadley and Silyen Jardine. The story is told from multiple points of view and each chapter was like peeling back the layer on an onion. Each voice was distinct and you get to go deeper into the inner workings of the character's mind and see just what makes them tick. I especially loved the contrast between how a character is viewed by others/presents themselves versus who they truly are. Not everyone is as they seem. The characters were wonderfully complex and there were lots of shades of grey between who was truly good and evil and what is right and wrong. Can something be truly good if it's done for the wrong reasons? What about something bad being done for the greater good?
The pacing of the story was perfect and the conflicts encountered by our characters were at times intense. I don't think you could write a book about slavery and human decency (or lack there of) without eliciting these powerful emotions. The author gets you invested in these characters and you root for them to persevere and hurt with them when they struggle. The highs are incredibly high, filling your spirit with hope, but goodness, the lows are heartbreakingly low, tearing your heart right out of your chest. This is truly a testament to the superb writing and storytelling of Vic James. Gilded Cage really had it all and I cannot wait to continue on with this series!
*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher*