To Read or Not to Read?

Gilded Cage by Vic James

Note: I received a free advanced copy of Gilded Cage from NetGalley about a year or so ago. So oops on just now getting to it. I’m really bad at this.

I requested Gilded Cage by Vic James many months ago and due to a series of unfortunate, or perhaps fortunate as the case may be, events I was unable to read it until just a few weeks ago.

I remember requesting Gilded Cage. It seemed up there with other dystopian/magical type series where you have those with powers and those without. This one primarily focuses on two families, the Jardines and the Hadleys. The Jardines are called Equals, those who have powers or Skills. These Skills can be used to change the physical world or to manipulate the minds of others. The Hadleys are a family without any Skill which means that, sometime in their life they have to spend ten years working their Slave Days. During those ten years they can be assigned to a variety of jobs, some of which are worse than others.

Most of the Hadley family is sent to work for the Jardines which is somewhat cushy but offers some issues of it’s own. (The book opens up with one of the Jardine’s’ slaves trying to run away with the baby she had with one of the Jardine sons and she makes it very clear that he has not treated her well.) But the eldest Hadley son is sent to a work town where the work is dangerous, the hours are long, and the slaves are beaten and treated like nothing.

So of course there’s a rebellion with some Equals recognizing that the current system is awful and not fair.

It definitely sounded interesting enough but there were too many issues for me.

– There were too many narrators and the vast majority were idiots. Fall in love with your slave owner after one day? Check. Join a rebellion after one day? Check. Trust your slave owners even though their own brothers tell you that they are murderers? Check. Be super manipulative and possibly working on the side of good but literally never explaining any of it? Check. Oh, and they were also mostly boring.
– I knew there was politics because that happens in all of these types of books. However I did not expect to spend half the book sitting in on political meetings where the Equals rehashed the same arguments over and over and over again. Really, how were there no rebellions before this? You’re all idiots.
– The “ending” was unsatisfying. Sure, it was explosive and a good rebellion story needs one of those but where each of the characters ends up was not worth the read.

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