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Gilded Cage

(Dark Gifts #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  9,130 ratings  ·  1,986 reviews
In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering mil
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by Del Rey Books (first published December 1st 2016)
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Vic James Yes! This initial arc is a trilogy. After that ... who knows! It's a big world, with many more wonderful stories I'd love to explore. …moreYes! This initial arc is a trilogy. After that ... who knows! It's a big world, with many more wonderful stories I'd love to explore. (less)
Vic James There is no profanity and minimal sexual content (one character receives unwanted sexual advances at a party). There is some violence - a beating and …moreThere is no profanity and minimal sexual content (one character receives unwanted sexual advances at a party). There is some violence - a beating and two shootings - and 'dark' themes of inequality, oppression and intrusive use of magic. One reader was happy for their mature 10-year-old to read it, but I feel it is best suited for teen readers and up. Note that this is adult/YA crossover.(less)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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 ·  9,130 ratings  ·  1,986 reviews

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James Tivendale
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of Gilded Cage from NetGalley and I would like to thank Vic James and Del Rey Books.

Gilded Cage is set in a dystopian, totalitarian alternative United Kingdom where certain individuals are born with the power of Skill. This created world is a mix of Dickensian Britain (with slave towns) and modern Britain (with computer consoles and C-pop music). The Equals are the ruling aristocrat elite here as they are born with the magic of Skill, they are the celebrities and they run the
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
4.5 stars. This is the first book in a very good but hard-hitting YA fantasy trilogy. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:


In the world of Gilded Cage (2017), there are those who are called Equals ― but there’s a deep divide between Equals, who have magical Skills, and the commoners, the Skilless, and they are decisively not equal. In England the Equals are both the aristocrats and the sole parliament, and they hold all the power, with the magical ability to enforce it.

One of the ways the
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I don't know how I really feel about this book so I'm going with the three star, I liked it =)


I thought the book started out awesome and then I got a little meh feeling about it and then I got excited again so I'm all over the place.

I didn't much care for the parts with Abi and her parents and Kyneston, although I'm very interested to see where little Daisy, the baby and Gavar is going to go with their story. It was strange but interesting.

The parts I loved the most were with Luke at Millmoor
Cindy ✩☽♔
Rating 4.5ish

This was everything I did not know I wanted, and I loved it.

This is a story with a theme I think we are all familiar with. But, unlike in some cases, it is done well.

The story takes place in an alternate version of Britain. It is the story of a society in which the powerful, The Equals (hopefully the irony of the name is not lost on anyone), and the wealthy oppress the powerless lower class. A society in which the majority of the population are denied their basic human rights whi
The Gilded Cage by Vic James is a 2017 Del Ray publication.

Those who follow my reviews will notice there is a conspicuous absence of anything young adult, or dystopian on my reading list.

Like anything else, readers go through trends where certain genres get hot for a time, but soon burn out as readers slowly return to their usual reading fare.

If I were the gambling type, I would have bet that the young adult dystopian 'trend' would be a short- lived trend, and I admit, I would have been happ
Ben Alderson
Apr 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Politics, a modern Britain and MAGIC! A unique story line filled with deep, complicated characters and mysterious situations!
From page 250 the twists and turns just kept coming and WOW.. I need book two..

VIC.. this part is for you.

WOW, What a wonderful person you are. You have been an utter joy getting to know and I look forward to supporting you from now on into the future.
Keep up the incredible writing! YOU ARE FAB!
Trinity Irwin
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Okay, stop what you’re doing and read this review because this book was AMAZING.

 photo 4E3E4392-A60C-42B1-A8E3-E06B09793E96_zpsdjitfrrf.gif

Unlike a lot of books I’ve read recently, this was more of a long read. In a really good way though, might I add. I took my time with it because there is so much detail within its pages that it was like looking in a history book. Vic James created basically an entire family tree dating back to like forever ago and many other generations of ‘equals’ but they’re all fictional. It takes talent and patience in my opi
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017, fantasy
But that was the power of Skill for you. There was nothing natural about this place or the people that lived here.
Time to go.

The concept is beyond awesome. A world where a small percentage are gifted Equals who rule the country, while all commoners are required to endure 10 years of forced slavelife in which you lose all basic human rights and live an extremely degrading, sometimes abusive life. If there were powerful beings who could wield magic while others simply cannot, this doesn’t soun
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
4 Stars


“Always look at the people, not at the mass. A face, not the crowd. Look at the world, not at the ground. Every little detail you see is a victory.”

I think there’s going to be a lot of mixed-opinions on this one. It really feels like a book you either love or hate.

Taking place in an alternate England where those with a magic known as “Skill” rule, and the unskilled serve 10-year stretches in slavery, Vic James’s debut focuses on the intersecting lives of an aristocrats and
Lonna | FLYLēF
Nov 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
FLYLēF Reviews

Original Post: Gilded Cage at FLYLēF (

Actual rating 4.5.

AS AN AVID reader, I have read more books than I can recall. Yet, it remains a pleasure to read something that proves I can still be swept off my feet. Gilded Cage, Vic James’ debut novel, is just that kind of book. Thought provoking and highly original, the first installment in the Dark Gifts series is a scintillating blend of urban fantasy and political intrigue.

The world-building is gorgeous and magnificently detailed.
Taran Matharu
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Devious and deliciously dark with lashings of magic, mystery and mayhem, this juggernaut of a book will keep you hanging on by your fingernails until the very last page!!
Dannii Elle
An unique magic-system, a compelling narrative structure, enthralling writing and an unguessable plot.

From the very first page I was enchanted by the intriguing and complex storyline. Each character’s perspective added something to the story and I was equally as invested in their personal struggles. The converging of these separate narratives provided an unguessable ending and a multitude of plot twists to appear along the way.

However, it was the evocative and compelling power of the writing tha
Kari Rhiannon (Moon Magister Reviews)

I have a bit of a thing for dark and despicable books.

You only have to look at my favourites shelf to know that much. From the pseudo Roman, genetically-augmented Golds of Pierce Brown’s ‘Red Rising’; the sin and smoke devoured pages of Dan Vyleta’s ‘Smoke’; to the wicked and wasteful young Aristocrat of ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, there is a bit of a trend. So the moment I opened the first pages of ‘Gilded Cage’ and met a moonlit night and a young woman fleeing across a dark country esta
Just as good on round 2. :)
I am thoroughly impressed. This book gets all the stars from me. I'd give it more if I could.

You've got an interesting concept - two kinds of humans, Equals and the normal people. Equals have superhuman powers. Normal people are, well, normal. Every normal person is required at some point in their life to serve ten years of "slavedays," service to the Equals in some form or fashion.

You've got superpowers - instant hook for me - and they're not used on every page or
I was sent this book as an advance copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

DNF @ 37%

I wasn't enjoying this and life is too short.

Honestly I feel a little bit bad about DNF'ing this one, and seeing that many people have enjoyed it, I feel like I might just have commitment issues, but I promised myself that I wasn't going to do anything that I don't fully enjoy, and that includes reading.

What I read up to 37% wasn't bad, but I found myself skim
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
About: Gilded Cage is a fiction novel written by Vic James. It will be published on 2/14/2017 by Del Rey Books, 368 pages. This is book 1 in the Dark Gifts series. The genres are young adult and fantasy. The author obtained her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives. As always, my reviews are spoil-free.

My Experience: I started reading Gilded Cage on 11/8/16 and finished it on 11/14/16. This book is an excellent read. It’s full of actions and happenings from beginning to ending. It draws in my
Brittany McCann
Gilded Cage is a thrilling new start to a series by Vic James. The read is thrown into a somewhat fantastical dystopian world. Although different situations are going on around the world, the story's focus is on Britain. Those with "skill" or magical abilities are the rulers of Britain. At the same time, there is a mandatory ten years of slavery due by everyone else by their 65th birthday.

The focus is on one of the families of equals and a family that has decided to enter into their ten years a
Katerina  Kondrenko
7.3 out of 10

Ревью в моем блоге/This review on my blog
Living A Thousand Lives
(please use Chrome/Yandex browser or Android/IOS to see the page; otherwise, spoiler-tags I use to make my post compact may not work)

Massive Attack – Silent Spring
Eliza Lumley – Creep
Matthew Perryman Jones – Keep It On the Inside

Genre: fantasy, dystopia, YA
Stuff: superpowers, slavery, politics
Fail: the main concept
WOW: writing, characters
POV: 3rd person, multi
Love-Geometry: none

In Gilded Cage , Vic James has created a world where slavery still exists- 10 years of it for every single person. It doesn't matter if you serve your ten in a glass mansion or a dingy factory-slavery is still slavery.

I enjoyed the world-building and almost in spite myself I became attached to the Hadley family. Even though their rather naive daughter, Abi got on my nerves a little bit, I did care about her brother, Luke, her sister and parents. I found the concept of the "Equals" a fascinatin
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
In Gilded Cage the world is ruled by Equals who are aristocrats with magical gifts. Everyone else are known as commoners and at some point during their lifetimes they have to serve the Equals for a period of ten years as their slaves. Commoners can choose to serve at any point in their lives from 10 to 80 years old.

After Luke's younger sister turns ten his family breaks the news to him that they have signed up the entire family to serve their slave days. Luke's older sister Abi has arranged for
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is one of the most exciting dystopian fantasies I've ever read. It is set in an alternate present-day England, where a magical aristocracy requires each citizen is to work for 10 years as a slave. Although the book is set in a similar world to ours, Ms. James has done an excellent job imbuing the story with a rich, well thought-out history. It is told from multiple POV's, but James handles them brilliantly. Rather than that sinking feeling one often gets when reading a novel with multi ...more
Wren (fablesandwren)
Published Date: February 14th 2017

Thanks to the publisher, I am honored to be one to get a free, digital copy in order for an honest review. Anything said is my opinion and my opinion only.

I just don't know how I feel about this book.

It has a great concept and had a lot of potential with how this world works.

There are those who are "The Skilled" who have unhuman-like powers, and then there are normal people like you and me (sad day). These normal people have to be slaves to The Skilled for ten
Minni Mouse
2.5 stars and DNF around 80%. This isn't your teeny bopper dystopian like The Hunger Games or Divergent. It's smarter, more complex, more patient, and more urban realistic. It's also a lot more boring.

The potential is there. Gilded Cage is a multi-layered story where every character has his or her own spinoff that, I'm sure, ultimately ties together.

1) Bland. Each character lacks an internal motivation that drives them and gives them depth. It's not enough that Luke is sep
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Family, slavery, magic, rebellion, separation.

This book was horrifying in the best of ways.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I started reading Gilded Cage. Perhaps something fun and a little vapid, and totally unbelievable.

What I actually read couldn't have been more different.

Gilded Cage is a challenging read. It is challenging in content and the way it explores the current definitions of words. Being set in an alternate universe the world is startlingly familiar, yet chillingly d
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Rarely have I read a story where my thoughts at the end are such a complete turnaround from my thoughts at the beginning. When I first started Gilded Cage, I was beyond pumped–the excellent writing, solid world-building, and strong portrayals of the main characters all made me think this book was going to have everything I wanted. Yet by the time I finished, I could barely even put my feelings into words. I didn’t love i
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an outstanding dystopian novel set in an alternative Britain. It kept me riveted and I stayed up past midnight to finish it in one sitting.

It is a story about the Haves and Have Nots. The Haves are called Equals (which is actually kind of ironic) and they are the nobility who have material wealth and power due to their psychic talents. Skills, psychic talents, are the criteria that separates the Haves from the the Have Nots - if you do not have Skills, you are not an Equal (unless you a
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is cleverly set in an alternate version of the modern world, where everyone in the United Kingdom is forced to give up a decade of their life in slavery. Ruled by Equals; skilled aristocrats with special, magical powers, who use their power to enslave the population and force them to work for them.

Luke Hadley lives a normal life with his parents, eighteen year old sister Abigail and ten year old Daisy. However, Abigail and his parents have conspired for the family to do their slaveda
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, owned, arc
Powerful super humans The Equals, controlling lesser humans through slavery and special abilities.
There were several things I enjoyed. The plot was really interesting, trying to figure out who was behind what was a complete mystery. The ending left no clues about who was on what side, a cliffhanger left me nothing to go on. The mystery weaving was wonderfully done. I loved the Equals, they were much more interesting than the commoners. Silyen, was the Equal to watch, off centered, quirky, wicke
Erin Dunn
Jan 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wishlist

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free ebook copy of Gilded Cage By: Vic James in exchange for an honest review.

At first I had a hard time getting into Gilded Cage because there are so many POVs. I also struggled a little in the beginning trying to figure out the world. Once I understood the world and got into it, I really enjoyed it. It's a pretty unique book and there is just something different about it that intrigued me.

I am surp
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
3,5 stars.

This book was so hyped that, as it often happens, it failed to meet my expectations. I no longer read dystopian novels, but Gilded Cage caught my attention. For some reason I thought that it will be as successful as The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. It definitely has its own charm, but the idea is pretty simple.

The story is as old as the hills: the society is divided into two groups – Equals (the ruling class) have incredible powers and control the world, and ordinary people a
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Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.

She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now

Other books in the series

Dark Gifts (3 books)
  • Tarnished City (Dark Gifts, #2)
  • Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts, #3)

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