In an alternate reality version of England, the Equals rule all. These wealthy aristocrats possess not only wealth, but magic as well. Those that do not posses powers are required to spend 10 years of their life as a slave. The work is hard, brutal, and many die. Luke is a teenage boy suddenly split from his family as they enter their 10 years of slavery. His sister Abi, and the rest of his family, are sent to work at the estate of the most powerful family in England. Luke is sent to work in one of the worst slave camps in existence. While his family works under the control of the Equals, Luke meets a group of factory workers who secretly lead a resistance. Luke and his family are not prepared for the cruelty and malevolence of the Equals.
Vic James’ novel, Gilded Cage, is another in a long line of novels set in a world much like our own, but overtaken by powerful rulers who enslave those who are different. Sound familiar? The storyline is fascinating, albeit a bit too close to current politics in the United States. While the tale is fascinating and holds the reader’s attention when speaking about Luke and his family, it has a tendency to take on a pretentious tone when the Equals are the main focus. With their vicious cruelty and game playing, it was sometimes off putting to read the horrific things that happen at the hands of the Equals. People have limbs broken, are beaten within an inch of their life, and brought back as if nothing happened at the will of their captors.
Gilded Cage was an interesting first novel with fascinating characters. It feels like there is much more to this resistance story, if you can stomach yet another Dystopian novel.
Gilded Cageis now available from Del Rey Publishing.