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Gilded Cage: A BBC Radio 2 Book Club Choice 2017 (The Dark Gifts Trilogy) Paperback – 26 Jan 2017
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Beautifully characterised and compellingly plotted, Gilded Cage is an impressive debut (Guardian)
A dazzling addition to the growing genre of alternative historical fiction, James's first novel has the added bonus of compelling page-turnability (Daily Mail)
I really enjoyed this. It was a fast-paced, entertaining story, in a world that left me wanting to find out more. I will definitely be getting the next book when it comes out (Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library)
A dark and intriguing vision of an alternate, magic-drenched Britain, Gilded Cage kept me up way into the night (Aliette de Bodard, author of The House of Shattered Wings)
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, bestselling author of the Summoner series)
James's dystopian debut, the first part in her Dark Gifts trilogy, addresses issues of inequality that seem all to pertinent (SFX)
It’s smart, engrossing and incredibly snappily written, with so many compelling characters and pulse-quickening situations that the whole book just flies by. We apologise for the cliché, but it is that good (SciFiNow)
The historical parallels are too delicious to ignore . . . one can’t help but anticipate the next novel in the series (Washington Post)
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)
An absorbing first installment that presages an intriguing new fantasy series. (Kirkus)
Gilded Cage offers a fresh take on a popular genre. James' world is as compelling as her prose and as cleverly constructed. Told by a diverse cast of characters from various echelons of society, Gilded Cage is an unputdownable story . . . it's truly a gem (Fantasy Faction)
Ms. James writes with the skill of someone who has been an author for decades. I was blown away by how beautiful the prose was . . . In the end I was left emotionally spent and wanting another book to read immediately (Fantasy Book Review)
Twists and turns make this hard to set down (Booklist)
The most intriguing political fantasy premise since The Hunger Games . . . While the premise is unique, James’ addictive storytelling echoes the strongest qualities of a few of the political YA series of recent years (Barnes & Noble)
An astounding debut from Vic James, and the first title in her gripping The Dark Gifts Trilogy.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
Luke Hadley lives a normal life with his parents, eighteen year old sister Abigail and ten year old Daisy. However, Abigail and his parents have conspired for the family to do their slavedays together as a family. Not in the grim, industrial Millmoor, which looms over Manchester where they live, but working for the First Family of the country, the Jardine’s, as house slaves in their family estate, Kyneston. It should be easier than toiling in Millmoor, and keep the family together, but, as always, the best laid plans go wrong…
Fantasy novels are not something I normally read, but, sometimes it is good to try something outside your comfort zone and I really enjoyed this. Abigail has spent her life reading about, and romanticising, the Equals; but will she be prepared for what she finds, when she discovers the true extent of their powers? Meanwhile, the Jardine’s turn out to be a family with issues of their own, including three sons who include the belligerent, unstable heir Gavar and the sinister, powerful Silyen. As Daisy falls under the family’s spell and Luke begins to fight against the system, the family have to struggle in a world where they have joined a state of legal ‘non-personhood.’
This is obviously the first book in a planned trilogy and the ending will certainly leave you wanting to know what happens next. A very well realised alternate world, with characters you will certainly come to care about. I am glad I took the chance on reading something a little different and look forward to reading on.
Slightly different to the typical fantasy book around nowadays.
Interesting enough characters and good plot (bit predictable).
I will probably read the next book in the series when it is released.
Gilded Cage is set in an alternate England similar to ours but with one big difference. The ruling class have magic and everyone else has to dedicate ten years of their life to work as slaves, either toiling in factories in terrible conditions similar to the 19th century British industrial revolution, or by serving their betters in whatever positions they might be required to fill. Luke Hadley, his sister Abi and their family are down to spend their slavedays serving the powerful Jardine family, but plans go astray. With no rights they are subject to the Jardine’s every whim – which comes with a new set of problems. And with their options looking bleak, it doesn’t take long before the seeds of rebellion start to take hold.
Gilded Cage has an interesting concept, but I found that the characters all felt a bit one dimensional. They didn’t feel real and I didn’t really care about what happened to any of them. I finished the book a few weeks ago and even though admittedly I’ve read a couple of new books since then, I couldn’t remember the names of the main characters and had to look them up to write this review!
I found this with Abi in particular. She isn’t given much depth and although she talked about her feelings and worries, I didn’t quite buy into it. Luke is the only character I really liked. He goes through some genuine struggles and I understood his motivations. The parents are basically non-existent and the other characters just aren’t given the page space to really develop.
In a genre where there’s so much competition, I felt that this book was a bit forgettable. I’ve read a lot of similar books in this category, and they do tend to stick to a tried and tested formula.Read more ›
I have to say as good as the concept for the book was, I just couldn't get into it. We follow the journey of one family. The parents, older and younger sister are placed with one of the elite families, while their brother is sent to a factory town. I found the clash between the almost overly-romanticised stately home where the bulk of the family is sent and the grim, and fairly gruesome factory town where the brother is sent to be particularly jarring. It was like reading a mix of Jane Austin and a Catherine Cookson novel.
The book seemed well written, it's just the overall effect didn't appeal to me. If you like the idea of Jane Austin meets Catherine Cookson with a touch of fantasy thrown in, then there is a good chance this is the book for you.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There's a good market for stories about plucky teenagers fighting impossible odds in unequal societies, with or without magical gifts to help or hinder them, and this book is aimed... Read morePublished 3 days ago by BookWorm
The Gilded Cage is an unusual and interesting story. Set in an alternative UK the story revolves around one particular family as they embark on a period of enforced slavery. Read morePublished 15 days ago by lynnsbooks
**This book was reviewed for the San Francisco and Seattle Book Reviews & Netgalley**
Vic James has woven a vision of a dystopic alter-earth where certain people, known... Read more
Gilded Cage is the first book in an exciting, exhilaratingly fast-paced fantasy YA following the lives of Luke, as he makes his way in a world that is governed by the Equals - the... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Alix
Read this in a matter of days, after hearing the author Vic James talking on BBC Radio 2's Book Club. Read morePublished 1 month ago by john
I have given this book 3 stars because I cannot award 3.5. The book does have some strong plus points; sympathetic characters, a well-constructed narrative, vividly described set... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Pamela Dennis
I got shivers when I finished this book. The kind you get when you realise you've happened upon a future classic. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Rebecca