Gilded Cage by Vic James – Review

In a world that belongs to those that have Skill, all others have to suffer. Commoners have to serve the equals for ten years of their life, their slavedays. In a story that follows a family who end up being separated, somehow their fates join back together as the world comes as one to fight the Equals and fight for their human rights. But it isn’t all straightforward, with the fight for equality comes a cost, and is that cost one that Luke or Abi would be willing to take?

Ok, first things first- the positive aspects of this book. I have to admit, the one thing that stood out to me positively was the concept. On the surface, this whole premise sounds amazing, something so original that hasn’t been done before, and what seems to be a book that isn’t willing to follow the usual tropes. I did honestly really like the different settings and view points- both Millmoor, where Luke resides for the majority of the novel, and Kyneston, where the rest of the family, including Abi, carry out their slavedays. On the topic of slavedays, this concept was a really interesting one, and definitely made me, personally, consider the impact of slavery on people in not as privileged a situation as a lot of us are, whether it be in the past or currently. But I think having the situation of slavery brought on a very ordinary family, in what is pretty much our world, was very effective and thought provoking.

However, sadly, it wasn’t all good. It all sounds great when I put it like this, but actually to read about, somehow the majority of the book was pretty boring. This may just be me personally, especially as my reading of it was very disjointed because of other commitments and the fact I was reading another book in between, but it is something that kind of overruled my enjoyment of the book. It was engaging to begin with, but after about a quarter of the book, the boredom started to kick in.

This boredom could be for a few reasons. One- I felt pretty much no connection with the characters. There were a lot of moments where I felt like the book wanted me to care, was expecting me to feel some kind of emotion towards the characters, but it just wasn’t there. I started to get confused when a load of extra characters were introduced with very similar names, and because I was already zoning out slightly, this really made me question what on earth was going on and what was the point of these characters. I think the only characters that seemed to have any depth were the Jardine brothers, and maybe Abi, Luke and Daisy. The rest just weren’t really there in terms of presence or personality or seeming like real, 3 dimensional characters. And I just have to say, what was the point of Angel? She just randomly appeared out of nowhere, everyone gushed about how she looked like an angel, and then she left again. What?! She had no character whatsoever, no kind of personality or anything, apart from her beauty. I came pretty close to DNFing at that point.

One more thing was the writing. It was well written, but there were some points that were so cringey, I just had to keep moving on, not dwelling on each passage that just made me cringe so much. I felt like the writing was aimed at a younger audience possibly? But some of the content doesn’t match up to that. I don’t know.

I think the whole book was kind of bland, the idea was there, it was just the aspects that make you really care in a book that were missing. I loved the concept, but I didn’t feel connected or invested in it at all. The characterisation was missing, there just wasn’t enough depth there. To be completely honest, it just bored me. I came very close to DNFing, but it picked up just enough for me to reach the end. I don’t think I would recommend this. It just fell flat, the premise was excellent but the book as a whole didn’t pay off in the way I hoped it would.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

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