Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James – A Book Review

Another week, another book review. This is a book that I was really excited to get a chance to read and review as I’ve been looking forward to it for some time now. Like here’s a time frame…. I marked Gilded Cage by Vic James on my Goodreads as “Want to Read” August 10th, fast forward two months and I get an email from Net Galley saying that it is available for request and immediately apply to receive the book. I received the book December 15th and started reading it on the 16th. You guys have no idea how excited I was to receive this book! Now, down to the basics…


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? – Goodreads


Title: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)

Author: Vic James

Pages: 368

Expected Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.15/5 stars

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars


Background. So this book is set in an alternative modern-day England where there are two types of citizens, those with Skill (known as Equals) and those without (commoners). Skills can range anywhere from healing people and rebuilding structures to causing pain or even controlling other individuals. In this England, Equals have established rule (for obvious reasons) and have made all citizens that do not have Skill perform a mandatory 10 years time “slavedays”. Until you took your slavedays, commoners weren’t considered “full citizens” including being able to buy a house, hold certain jobs or travel abroad. The main family of the story, the Hadley’s apply to be house-slaves for the most powerful Skill family-the Jardine’s; however, the family ends up being split up from their eldest son, Luke who is forced to attend his slavedays in the terrible Millmoor factories. James takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster with a bunch of politicians thrown in.

Pros. Multi-character POVs! I loved all of the different view points that we got throughout this book. It felt really natural going from one character to another and I wasn’t left feeling like I wanted to skip chapters because I got bored easily. I think James did a fantastic job making each story line be intriguing and made the reader want to see the stories from the different perspectives.

Speaking of characters, this cast I found to be truly enriching. I felt like every character that was introduced was important and had an interesting backstory. I loved Luke’s time at Millmoor just because of the relationships he makes with the various characters in that hell-hole. I even grew to love the only character that I found slightly boring at the beginning Bouda.

The ending. I am ready for the second book. I have to know what happens and I think James did a fantastic job with this first book of the trilogy. She answered and left just enough questions for me to be still intrigued enough to continue with this series and give me another book series to highly anticipate.

Cons. Parts of this book really drug for me. Primarily Bouda’s first chapter. I was pretty confused who this person was and why I had to sit through a Parliament meeting all of a sudden. I eventually grew to like this character more and more but this first chapter was not a very good introduction to her.

I also didn’t like how some things were tied up in a nice bow throughout the story, not necessarily the ending but other key points in the story. A crucial point in the plot was much less action-y than I would have cared for (I’m trying to make this as spoiler-free as possible here…)

Overall. I really enjoyed reading this book and I definitely would recommend it! This is the first book in the Dark Gifts trilogy and James’ writing, characters, story progression and settings all make this a great book to be read. I gave this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, enjoy!


8 thoughts on “Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James – A Book Review

  1. I’m reading this right now, and I’ve been failing so hard to get into it. However, since you wrote such a great review of it, it might have finally got me excited enough to give it another try. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, please do! It did drag a bit for me in the beginning, especially with all the politics that had to be introduced. Once I got through that bit (not even half-way) I really started to dig in and couldn’t put it down! I hope you enjoy it!


      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m reading this right now. I’m still in the beginning. Just finished chapter three I think. It seems good. All the points of views are interesting but it’s taking me a moment to get into the different mindsets.

    Liked by 1 person

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