Author: Vic James
Date of Publication: 26th January 2017
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Thanks to Vic James, Pan Macmillan and Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair an honest review.
For me this was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. The description is filled with phrases which send my fantasy reading senses a-tingling; “magically skilled aristocracy compels all commoners to serve them for ten years”, “secrets she uncovers could win her freedom – or break her heart”, “enslaved in a brutal factory town, where new friends’ ideals might cost him everything“…I mean come on! I was so excited to get stuck in!
Therefore the first few chapters felt a little…disappointing. There is a slow start here, make no mistake; even the explosive first scenes felt a little too clichéd to really grab my interest. At this point fear was starting to set in – where was my amazing promised land of fantasy style class war?
It’s there – I promise! I don’t give out 4.5 stars for nothing. After a bit of a warm up Gilded Cage quickly turns into what feels very much like the beginnings of a new epic. The multiple POVs really started to gel with me. Sometimes James would describe the outcome of actions taken by our leading characters through the POV of someone else; a writing device I loved as it made every movement feel interconnected. Even characters I wasn’t in love with (like Abi) brought chapters that I thoroughly enjoyed by the end. Luke, Silyen / Euterpe and Gavan chapters I could hardly wait for!
James does a great job of writing her villains as varying shades of grey instead of black hat wearing horrors. Even characters which are quite clearly not conventionally “good” have their moments; something which I massively appreciate in a writer. The gradation in characterisation adds another layer to the richness of the whole and made several plot twists / character made assumption that much more believable!
Gilded Cage bears the rebellious struggle for freedom in the packaging of the highly effective multiple point of view stratagem employed by Game of Thrones; along with a great dose of GOTs drama, political manoeuvring, intrigue and passion. I’m incredibly excited to read the sequel and would definitely recommend.