Site icon The Cozy Reader

Review | Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James

Gilded Cage
Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James
Del Rey (February 14, 2017) | 368 pages


eARC via NetGalley

My Grade

Plot: 5

Setting: 5

Writing: 5

Originality: 5

Characters: 5

Romance: 4

Overall: 29/30 A

Title/Cover Bonus: 3


Very original, multiple points of view with unforgettable characters.

Summary (Goodreads)

For readers of Victoria Aveyard and George RR Martin comes a darkly fantastical debut set in a modern England where magically gifted aristocrats rule and commoners are doomed to serve.


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?


None at time of review

First Line

She heard the motorbike first, then the galloping horse–two distant points of noise in the darkness, converging on her as she ran.

— Location 58 of eARC, Prologue

Most Memorable Scene

The night of the 3rd debate. Specifically Luke’s serving skills and Abi’s sitting in the Chancellor’s chair.


Citizens of Britain must give 10 years of their lives as “slaves”. They are forced to give up all rights and perform duties for the Skilled.

The Hadley family hope to perform their “slavedays” together at the Kyneston Estate but somehow Luke ends up in Millmoor, a slavetown, separated from his parents and sisters.

I found the plot very engaging, thoroughly thought out and kept me interested.


What I wouldn’t give to spend a day at the Kyneston Estate! The grounds themselves were portrayed beautifully. The buildings and their interiors and exteriors were described lushly.

Millmoor was set and described in the much the same manner just in the opposite sense because it was gross and deplorable for human beings to live.

Vic James did an amazing job creating this world and describing it magically.


I must confess that I nearly put this book down in the very beginning. Why? Because there were SO MANY characters. It is very much “who did what and why? Wait, who was that again?” But I promise that it all starts to come together nicely.

The story is told in alternating point of views between many of the characters. I especially loved this for many reasons. Firstly, Silyen. Man was he a special character! If we would not have been blessed with Silyen’s point of view we may not have fully appreciated what a brilliant character he his. This is why I love alternating points of view. This is especially important when there are multiple locations and only a few characters move about.

The setting, characters and dialogue are all written beautifully.


I really loved how original this book was compared to other YA Fantasy/Supernatural genres. I can’t even think of a similar book to compare it to right off the top of my head.


So, there are a ton of characters and it is a bit overwhelming at first. The Hadley family consists of Mom, Dad, Abigail, Luke and Daisy. Then there’s the Kyneston family of Mom, Dad, Gavar, Jenner, Silyen and baby Libby. There are a hoard of other Equals riddle among these major characters.

We quickly learn that Luke is the major character. He’s all by himself at Millmoor. He does befriend some other slaves and they play a role throughout the plot.

The three brothers are so different in demeanor it’s quite funny. Gavar is a ticking time bomb. Jenner is quite boring but in a good way. And Silyen is complex and is written as creepy but I really had a hard time seeing him that way. I found him mesmerizing and by far one of the best written characters ever. I  cannot wait to read more to find out where he is taking this story. Because I do believe he is the one pulling all the strings!


There is only a little bit of romance going on in this story. But I was okay with that. I believe more may be in the works.

Title/Cover Bonus

Eh, I am not a fan of the title nor the cover. I actually really dislike the cover. It is too drab and boring.


The ending was pretty shocking. We have many characters headed in many different directions. I look forward to seeing what is going to happen in the next book.


This is book 1 of the Dark Gifts series

Exit mobile version