I don’t know where all of these four and five stars came from or what they saw that I didn’t. I’m soooo disappointed in Gilded Cage. I struggled to finish this. I actually skimmed the last 30% of it and I was tempted to skip a big chunk of it to read the ending. I loved the story concept and the title and I couldn’t wait to start reading it, but the writing failed in its delivery at least for me it did. It was just so darn boring.
So here’s the Goodreads summary of the book:
Not all are free. Not all are equal. Not all will be saved.
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?
The summary sounds like the book is going to be an entertaining read that’s an emotional rollercoaster and full of action. Nope. Well, not to me anyway.
Here’s a basic rundown of my issues with this book.
• There’s a whole lot of telling, but not much showing.
• There are inadequate sensory details.
• It lacks character development.
• There’s not much world building.
• There’s no real sense of setting.
• The pacing drags.
There is some showing, but there just wasn’t enough for me. When you’re trying to decide if something is showing or telling, one way is to ask yourself Does the camera see it?. There are exceptions, but asking yourself that helps you decide whether you need to shut up and start showing.
I would have liked more sensory details. The sensory details that I read weren’t very memorable. It’s difficult to visualize a novel that doesn’t give you much description.
I felt so disconnected from the characters. Abi and Luke are the two who are the most developed and you get a glimpse of their personality, but they’re still not fully developed. Actually, a couple of the family members that they serve have some development, but mostly, the characters felt like placeholders. I can’t even recall what anybody looks like. That’s how memorable they were.
As far as world building, the political atmosphere started to build about a third of the way into the novel. I knew the basic laws, especially the slavedays requirement for the commoners, but other than that, not much was explained about their world.
If they hadn’t mentioned they were in England, I wouldn’t have known, unless I just missed something. I had a general idea of the time-period, but only because there are automobiles in the story. The story just felt like it could have taken place at any time and in any place.
This story drags. There were many moments when sentences didn’t add to the plot or the character development.
What I did like, other than the story concept and the title, was the alternating in points of view. I preferred the story from Luke’s point of view because his story was more entertaining than Abi’s.
Overall, Gilded Cage lacks details and development on so many levels. I realize that many people enjoyed this novel and my opinion is in the minority. Although I gave this a low rating, I would still read the next book in the series just to see how the story and the writing develop. Since most people loved this book, I say give this book a try, because your opinion might be in the majority.