Book Review – The Gilded Cage

The Gilded Cage
By Vic James
Rating ***

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. Have a quick 10 years…


I read The Gilded Cage by Vic James in 2 days I couldn’t put it down. Magical, mysterious and dark this political fantasy novel had me gripped from page 1.
Set in a dystopian future where a small percentage of the UK population called The Equals have the power of  ‘Skill’ comes a tale of dark magic, political revolution and enticing drama. The Equals control everything; wealth, politics, power and for the ‘commoners’ who don’t possess this elite power of magic they are destined to serve 10 years worth of “Slave Days”. Stripped of their identity, beaten, made to live in awful conditions and struggle working long hours in hard labour slave camps the commoners seem to take all this in their stride, until a rebellion begins to rumble. Some families are lucky enough to do their slave days in Kyneston the beautiful estate where the most powerful Equal family the Jardines reside; although not everything here is as peachy as if first seems.

The book is based around two families, the Jardines who are powerful and posses ‘The Skill’ then there’s the Hadley’s a normal family lacking magic. The Hadley family end up working as slaves in Kyneston all except their son Luke, who gets split up from the ones he loves and is taken to Millmoor in Manchester, one of the horrific labour/slave camps. Luke has barley settled into his new way of life when he befriends a group of people that are part of a uprising against The Equals, trying to send Millmoor and its slave camps into its demise.

Whilst Luke is in Millmoor the rest of his family are serving the Jardines. Abigail, Luke’s eldest sister gets a crush on Jenner Jardine, a love that is seen as forbidden for equals cannot love commoners. Daisy, the youngest Hadley just 10 years old barley a baby herself has to care for the Jardine’s eldest son Garvar’s child and you meet Silyen Jardine who’s mysterious and plays with dark magic and people’s minds.

I don’t want to give away too much as this book is packed with action, twists, surprises and secrets. I can tell you that I really enjoyed this book, yes its a fantasy and there is a magic element to the story however this novels main subject is politics. I don’t normally enjoy anything to do with politics but the way this is written into the story is very readable. I was invested in all of the characters in this book as they were developed really well, each chapter is a point of view of a different character so you get a great perspective of how Millmoor is, Kyneston and the two polar opposite families.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this novel, if you enjoy fantasy mixed with politics, history, magic and rebellions (I guess kind of like The Hunger Games) then you will not want to put this book down. I loved the story, the characters, the way it was written and can’t wait to get stuck into book two of the trilogy, Tarnished City.

Have you read The Gilded Cage? What were your thoughts on this novel? I would love to hear from you, thanks for reading. Katie x

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