Posts Tagged ‘Dark Gifts series’

Gilded Cage
Gilded Cage by Vic James

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Content warnings: mentions of rape, violence, death, alcohol use, alcohol abuse, slavery, inequality, abuse of power, abuse of magic, oppression

I received a copy courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I legitimately cannot make any of my feelings about this book into a comprehensive review. I’ve been trying. Since March. And I’m done trying so this is what you’re going to get.

YOU CANNOT CONSENT TO A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE WHO OWNS YOU.

WHY IS A 10 YEAR OLD IN CHARGE OF WATCHING A BABY?

WHY IS THIS A STORY ABOUT MOSTLY WHITE PEOPLE? AND THE FEW POC WHO DO APPEAR GET BEATEN BADLY? IT DOESN’T MAKE IT BETTER OR OK THAT THE WHITE PEOPLE WHO ARE SLAVES DO SO AS WELL. THERE WAS ONE FLEETING MENTION THAT I RECALL OF A POC WHO HAD SKILL. THAT IS PREPOSTEROUS. AUTHORS STOP WRITING BOOKS WHERE POC EITHER MAGICALLY DON’T EXIST OR ARE A VERY SMALL MINORITY.

On the level of the politics and history it was VERY well done

Like the author took her time to really build up the history and work on the politics

and set up political uprising
or attempts of but the rest of it falls short in SO MANY WAYS.

Ok so it’s failings
It jumps around a lot in point of views and sometimes has the bad habit of trying to make you remember small details mentioned in passing from the beginning of the book near the end of the book
Obviously treatement of slaves vs masters
and skilled vs commoners
(commoners who aren’t slaves not just the slaves)
It has the double edged sword of some of the skilled working undercover to “help” the slaves
BUT
their help winds up putting the slaves lives at risk
literally
and can condemn them to a life of being a slave
or worse
One of the slaves is condemned into being a dog
his crime?
during his slavery he and his wife were slaves at an estate and one of the skilled raped his wife and impregnated her and kept raping her to the point that she hung herself
not only that but the skilled have this skill, they all have it, where they can mind rape you as well
they can go in your mind and make it so you can forget what happened
or not be able to talk about it
and some can go in your mind to try and figure out if that’s happened and it’ll drive you insane
and kill you
so he figure out that was happening that she was being raped mentally and physically
it’s called being silenced
and after she killed herself (and the baby) he snapped and killed everyone on the estate
so he got turned over to the sadistic master of torture, got made to forget EVERYTHING but his crime
and forced into acting like a dog
gets fed dog food
is naked all the time
walks on all 4s
regardless of weather
etc
and got turned over to an equally sadistic skilled
minus those two though, everyone else thinks it’s horrific that he’s a dog
yeah
and sadistic asshole revealed at end of the book, plot twist, he found a way to take skilled people’s skill away from them
So now of course I have to read the second book because I need to find out what happens next because that’s a huge thing
Like is there going to be a huge overthrow now?
cause there was just one overthrow of the ruler person I can’t think of the title
but that was done as punishment because someone, a skilled, was brazen enough to come forward and say “i’m behind all the riots in one of the slave towns and this is my doing”
no trial
just “well as my position allows I’m making executive judgement”
it’s also all white people
well not exclusively
but the main characters are all heavily implied as
there’s a few non white
but majority? white
Cause we all know England is predominantly white……..not
Oh and once you start your slavedays you aren’t seen as people anymore……..parallel anyone?
That’s why I’m taking it
Also the parents
Luke, Abi, and Daisy’s parents. They’re present
but
flat
Like I could literally take them out and replace them with ANYTHING and it’d be just as effective
talking dog? sure why not
animate piece of cardboard? definitely
They suffer from sexy lamp syndrome
Except they’re not there to be sexy
And then Silyen, Jenner, and Gavar? Power hungry egotistical father and mother who cares more about appearances than anything else
the former trio are the slaves and the latter trio are the skilled
Jenner could be a sexy lamp to Abi who is barely more of a character
she starts out as a hopefully well rounded character but….
Silyen is manipulative
and Gavar? definitely cares about his daughter. Little else. Sadistic lazy asshole who enjoys raping slaves, having sex with equals to “show them the ropes of parliament”, and shooting slaves in “hunting accidents” in cold blood
Silyen and Jenner do care somewhat, Jenner moreso than Silyen
but Jenner is still a sexy lamp

What Gilded Cage lacks is the terror and the atrocity that the Skilled inflict upon their slaves. While reading this it felt like I was stuck in the worst job I’ve ever worked, soul defeating but bearable. That was until I encountered the character of Dog. Here is a man who is broken and turned into a thing. This is what I wanted Gilded Cage to be. The horror of what a society built upon slavery does, not cotton candy fluff sprinkled with bits of moldy fruit cake.

-Katie Sholty, Goodreads Reviewer

 

The only character I liked was the all-powerful son of the Evil Superpower Lord, Silyen. He was a true charming but devious but manipulative weasel, but possibly working for good??? I say “possibly” because I have literally no clue what he was trying to achieve.

It only had a small smidge of romance (YAY) but it was instalove between a slave girl and her master (NAY). Like how can you fall in love with a guy who’s family destroys and murders and turns people into abused animalsand steals your memories??? Like sure, the guy she likes might not be doing it himself: but his FAMILY ARE and he does 0% to stop them or indicate he thinks it’s wrong. HIS BROTHER FRIKKIN SHOOTS HIS SLAVE GIRL MISTRESS IN THE PROLOGUE BECAUS LOL @ WHY NOT.

Least to say the romance was hella disturbing.

……

the kids had parents, but haha, did they even ever SPEAK? no. they were about as active as a peanut butter sandwich

……….

ALL IN ALL: It was definitely a great premise with SO much potential! I would’ve liked to have understood everyone’s motives, but I did not. I would’ve liked to have a character to connect/care about, but still #nope. Total chance it was just me who got confused. But the book was like toast I was really looking forward to, but dropped, and it fell jam side down on the floor.

Cait (Paper Fury), Goodreads Reviewer

 

Gilded Cage brings nothing new to the table. Like Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, it features a modern yet dystopian society wherein the “normal” lower class suffers under the reign of the “special” upper class. Unsurprisingly, the book revolves around the gradual reformation of such a flawed political hierarchy. The only twist to the overrated plot is that each member of the British lower class is required to be a slave for ten years. The rationale behind this is that the Skilled royals are above doing menial work; their powers entitle them to an indefinite amount of free time, which is supposedly spent to maintain order in society.

Joshua Gabriel (Forever Bookish Josh), Goodreads Reviewer

I literally can NOT recommend this book. AT ALL. But, if you want to read it, I’m not going to stop you. Just be advised, I’m not exaggerating any of this. Nor are the 3 people I’ve quoted above. I both want to read the second book to see where the politics in this book go because that was the most well developed in this book and don’t want to because it disgusted me that much. 2 stars because I’m rounding up for the politics and history.

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