A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Guilded Cage by Vic James- Feature and Review


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


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?





Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Gilded Cage by Vic James is a 2017 Del Ray publication.

Those who follow my reviews will notice there is a conspicuous absence of anything young adult, or dystopian on my reading list.

Neither of these genres appeals to me all that much, so I’ve pretty much avoided anything that reeks of YA or dystopian themes, despite their extreme popularity.

However, this one came highly recommended to me and the premise sounded interesting, so I decided to give it a go, with a very cautiously optimistic mindset.

The novel is set in Britain, in an alternate dystopian realm, where there are ‘equals’, a small group of people who usually have ‘skills’, running the country. Any of the remaining population born without ‘skills’ are forced to spend a decade of their lives serving ‘slave days’. Those who complete the ‘days’ have better opportunities in life once they have served their time.

Abi’s plan was to have her family, as a complete unit, serve their decade together, so that they could look forward to a better future. But, you know what they say about the best made plans.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is separated from the family, and forced to work hard labor, while the rest of the family got cushy jobs by comparison.

Abi swears she will find a way to free Luke of his circumstances, but the family gets swept away by ‘palace intrigue', while Luke becomes a part of a resistance movement.

The story switches back and for the between Abi’s and Luke’s perspective situations, building the suspense against an obvious politically charged atmosphere. The author does an excellent job of creating vivid descriptions and scenery, as well as the taut edginess that surrounds the Hadley family as they adjust to their new surroundings and learn the lay of the land. However, there were many characters, some without much development, but in a way that did mask the true nature of some of them, which kept me from figuring out hidden motives, and from the ability to fully trust any of them.

Yet, the story did get a little messy in spots, but rebounded quite nicely to conclude with a few stunning developments which commanded my rapt attention.

With a sense of duty and fair play, I feel I should warn you, although you probably already know, that this is a trilogy, which means a continuing storyline, aka, cliffhanger. In any other genre, that wouldn’t fly with me, but in these situations, it’s pretty much a given, so I wasn’t surprised or angered by it.

This is a debut novel, and as such, the author made a terrific first impression. I fully intend on completing the series and eagerly await the second installment!!

I think this book is true to the genre, but is also an unusual and fresh approach to the dystopian novel. Fans of this genre should gobble this one up enthusiastically, but this novel does have the potential for a wider appeal, outside its core fan base. So, even if this type of book is not your usual cuppa, I think you might find yourself very intrigued by it




Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.

She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now writes full time.

Vic has scuba-dived on Easter Island, camped at Everest Base Camp, voyaged on one of the last mailboats to St Helena, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. But there’s little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.

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