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.com
I’m so glad I requested this book on NetGalley. From the dark, magical, and often brutal world, to the hidden political agendas, to the complex, and ambiguous characters, Gilded Cage ranks high on my list of YA reads over the past year.
Although Abi and Luke are mentioned in the book description, they’re far from the most interesting characters for me. The Jardine brothers are what drew me into the story and I’m still not sure what to make of them. My opinions of them changed over the course of the novel – I still think there’s more to them than meets the eye and they may not be what they appear at first glance. That’s the beauty of this plot – there’s the top layer with the horrific slavery laws and the brewing rebellion – but there are so many undercurrents, subplots, and questionable motivations, the wheels of my mind were constantly turning, examining every character’s actions. It’s a wonderful challenge for the reader.
Yes, this can be a dark, difficult read at times with the slavery and abuse scenes, but with fantastic, descriptive writing, strong characterization, and a unique YA dystopian plot, you’ll be glad you gave it a chance. Gilded Cage is scheduled for publication February 14th, 2017.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the digital ARC.