Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)Gilded Cage by Vic James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While enjoyable...this book is quite unforgettable in the sea of fantasy books that I've recently read. Nothing specific made it stand out.

Well folks, get ready for an unpopular opinion. In the moment, I really did enjoy reading this story unfold, but it seems like the premise is pretty generic. There are "blueblooded Equals" and then the rest of the "commoners" that have to serve a ten year prison sentence before they turn seniors (sixty). I've heard this book being compared to Red Queen, and if you loved that book, great! this is a read-alike for that. But unfortunately, as much as I tried I didn't end up falling in love with this book or the Red Queen.

A lot of the world-building didn't make sense, a lot of the magical elements didn't make sense. And I'm not the type of readers to just completely ignore plot-holes. Here are at least some of the things that I found lacking in explanation: [mild spoilers insue]

~If the Equals were skilled in magic, why did they need the slaves to serve them? Couldn't they just have magically done things with the click of a finger, without having to care and maintain for those extra bodies? I don't understand how this helps the general well-being or politics/economy of the body of Equals.

~My first thought when I opened this book was: how convenient that one of these characters were probably going to start a rebellion. What an unoriginal plot device that has been overused to death and I'm just so tired of. If you think about it logically, in the long history of this institution of slavery there must have been some uprising or rebellion. What happens now that just suddenly spurs this change by again (a main character)?

I have and will always adore books that run with multiple POVs, if they're done well. And because this is a very character-driven (more than plot-driven) story, we do get to experience growth and maturity alongside the time period that we view these characters. At first, I did have to write down each character and who they are in the big picture, because the author was throwing so many names at us. There are so many characters coming at the plotline at different angles and hammering away at the bigger puzzle, that I was pleasantly surprised that this was decently done.

[Pro tip from readers: Please put a table of contents with characters in the back of your book. It would be greatly appreciated instead of just making us write everything out for ourselves.Make it easy on us publisher, eh?]

**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for my review.**

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