MAGIC RULES. WE SERVE.
In a darkly fantastical debut set 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. . . .
Look for all three books in the mesmerizing Dark Gifts trilogy:
GILDED CAGE • TARNISHED CITY • BRIGHT RUIN
Praise for Gilded Cage
“Beautifully characterised and compellingly plotted, Gilded Cage is an impressive debut.”—The Guardian
“Exquisitely wicked . . . a lavishly opulent, yet brutally vivid, alternate England which subtly questions modern beliefs . . . If ever there was a speculative fiction book that captured the zeitgeist of an era this is it.”—SFFWorld
“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 series
“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
James's clever debut, first published on Wattpad, introduces an alternate present day in which British society is stratified into aristocrats, who have magical skill, and mundane commoners, who are required by law to spend 10 years serving the skilled. Most end up in the factories and workhouses in Manchester's infamous slave town, Millmoor. That's the fate of 16-year-old Luke Hadley; the rest of his relatives are sent to work at Kyneston, the country estate of the Jardines, one of the most powerful families in the country. At Millmoor, Luke quickly becomes part of a secret group that helps ease the harsh lives of workers. Meanwhile, his parents and sisters are caught in the middle of Jardine family intrigues and political scheming that could change the country forever. The setting is so interesting that readers will eagerly suspend disbelief, and James drops tantalizing hints about how the rest of the world treats those who do and don't have access to magic. 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.
I've been looking for something different to read...I read a lot so different is hard to find. The premise of this novel is what caught my attention and the well-written charters and the twisty mystery of who's up to what kept me reading. Next read...the sequel.
The Start of a Great Fantasy Series!
Gilded Cage is one heck of a debut novel for Vic James. The world of Equals and Commoners engulfed me from the beginning. I loved following all of the twists and turns of the different families. Having the chapters rotate points of view really added to the story and help me connect with all of the characters involved and either love them or extremely dislike them even more. I already have book 2 added to my wishlist because I NEED to know what happens next!
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*