Series: Dark Gifts #1
Published by Del Rey Books on February 14th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: the publisher
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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 the 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?
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I posted on twitter that I wasn’t sure if I liked this book but that I wouldn’t forget it anytime soon. That has been true so far. I just can’t get this book out of my mind.
The Gilded cage is deeply disturbing. I loved that it didn’t pull any punches. Usually dystopian worlds look pretty on the surface and it takes a while to get into the issues. Gilded Cage is horrifying right from the start. The ruling class are Equals, capable of performing fantastic feats of magic. They live a life of luxury and ease. Everyone else is known as a commoner and are forced to serve Slave Days. Slave Days are exactly what they sound like. Commoners give up 10 years of their lives as slaves. This is one aspect that really bothers me about the book. Commoners can choose when to serve their Slave Days. It’s an awful fate but forcing people to choose when it happens makes it seem worse.
The Gilded Cage also goes into the darker and more insidious aspects of a dystopian world that other books tend to shy away from. Especially in YA. Usually young adult fiction isn’t as dark as this was. I think that this book could be upsetting to read on a lot of levels. Horrible things happen off screen or before the events of the book but they are still dealt with or touched on. This is young adult because it has a young adult main character not because the content is watered down at all.
This book is going to stay with me for a long time. It really affected me. I can’t wait for book two. Still, I’m not sure I liked it. I’m not sure this is a book you like. It is a book you remember forever.