Tag Archives: Del Rey publishing

Gilded Cage by Vic James

Gilded Cage by Vic James

 Gilded Cage
by Vic James

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?

Rated: ★★★
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Publication: February 14, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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Gilded Cage by Vic James

All I can say is I need the second book ASAP! Gilded Cage by Vic James is an impressive first look into a new, grim world that feels oddly familiar and appropriate given the current state of affairs in the world. Society is broken up into the haves and the have-nots, as those with special powers they were born with (and are acquired through inherited birth by a few it seems) are in control of Great Britain, while the plebs without power all must endure a ten year period of slavery.

Characters are intriguing, especially those that are Equal. There is so much intrigue and family politics that we just don’t know and it drives me crazy! Silyen, the youngest of the Parva-Jardine family is the one with the most Skill, yet, the aristocracy isn’t Skill/merit based. It’s still handed down to the first born. Which puts emotionally unstable Gavar as next in line to rule one of Britain’s founding Equal fathers. James does something incredibly interesting when it comes to Gavar. She sets up an initial prejudice for readers, automatically framing him as an antagonist. Yet, for the rest of the novel, we see more than just the monster James paints in the prologue. We see there is a struggle there; he is volatile, yes, but he is loving too. He is extreme, and yet it is the reserved Silyen who gives off an air of detachment to everyone and everything, that proves to be the extremist. He is the one with the long game, though no one knows what it is, including readers.

There is a sense of heavy worldbuilding here as Vic James mentions how different parts of the world are split up between Equals and commoners. America split in two, an obvious nod to the Civil War, but also the current heavy rift in society and culture. Britain itself remains aristocratic and parliamentary, but it has become more of a joke, as those with the most power tend to be the most in charge; physical displays of Skill taking command. We also get a heavy sense of history behind everything, giving the world a gravity that draws you in.

I could talk about Gilded Cage by Vic James for hours. There are so many layers masterfully intertwined in a book that still remains firmly YA. Strong characters and solid worldbuilding make the political themes of the book flourish, giving readers a desire to make changes in their own world after seeing the inconsistencies and cruelties that are allowed to exist to the benefit of the empowered few.

Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan

Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan

 Age of Myth
by Michael J Sullivan

Since time immemorial, humans have worshipped the gods they call Fhrey, truly a race apart: invincible in battle, masters of magic, and seemingly immortal. But when a god falls to a human blade, the balance of power between men and those they thought were gods changes forever. Now, only a few stand between humankind and annihilation: Raithe, reluctant to embrace his destiny as the God Killer, Suri, a young seer burdened by signs of impending doom, and Persephone, who must overcome personal tragedy to lead her people.

The Age of Myth is over; the time of rebellion has begun.

Book 1 of the Legends of the First Empire series

Publisher: Del Rey
Publication: June 28, 2016
Genre: Epic Fantasy
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Purchase: amazon | b&n | book depo
Rated: ★★★

Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan

It’s hard to find a title that actually lives up to the Epic Fantasy genre claim. Many try, and fall very short of reaching the standards some, possibly just I?, have when it comes to Epic Fantasy. Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan, however, manages to take the genre and run with it, creating his own new and unique world that feels very epic and very fantasy, without falling into tired tropes. It is very fast-paced, possibly too fast, which is what I felt was its main downfall, knocking it down a star.

There is so much new information packed into Age of Myth, it feels very dense at the start. I felt a bit bombarded learning all of this new information, new words, and having no reference point. It was a bit like being swept away with the current and just trying to enjoy the ride. Thankfully, about 20% into the book, I felt centered. I knew what was happening (or so I thought) and was excited, so much so that I finished the book that very sitting.

Pacing was very fast. I think that was a greater problem for me than feeling lost by new words and new worlds. The author tried too quickly to create this world and prep the story, which is a common problem sometimes with introductory books in a fantasy series. Pacing is a hard thing to get right with long series’. Either they go too slow, trying to keep information for subsequent books, or too fast, which was the case in Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan.

Other than pacing, book was great! Characters were fantastic, especially Penelope and Suri! Raithe was well fleshed out, while Malcolm’s appearances were always fun. I’ll talk more about the characters during my spoiler vlog on the book tomorrow!

More akin to George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, than Lord of the Rings at the moment, Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan does an impressive job of creating a grand new world with fully fleshed characters, keeping fresh in the epic fantasy genre.

Quotes & Excerpts

“So stunning and delicate; it’s marvelous. No one can see a butterfly and not stop to admire it. I’d love to be one. To go to sleep and wake up a season later with such beautiful wings and the ability to flutter about. That’s the most wonderful sort of magic, don’t you think? To change, to grow, to fly. But…” She paused. “I wonder what the cost would be.” The smile diminished once more. “There’s always a cost when it comes to magic. I suspect there is a great price to go from lowly caterpillar to glorious butterfly.”
– Chapter Six: Rumors

“Fulfillment comes from striving to succeed, to survive by your own wits and strength. Such things make each of us who we are.” Using the blanket, he rubbed his hair. “You lose that in captivity, lose yourself, and that loss saps your capacity for joy. I think comfort can be a curse, an addiction that without warning or notice erodes hope. You know what I mean?” He looked at each of them, but no one answered. “Live with it long enough and the prison stops being the walls or the guards. Instead, it’s the fear you can’t survive on your own, the belief you aren’t as capable, or as worthy, as others. I think everyone has the capacity to do great things, to rise above their everyday lives; they just need a little push now and then.”
– Chapter Nine: Tight Places

There is an old clan saying: When a stranger comes to the door, always be generous because it might be a god in disguise. In my experience, gods do not use disguises. They are too arrogant.
– Chapter Ten: The Galantians

We were foolish to think the Fhrey were gods, but it was insanity for the Fhrey to believe it, too. I’d rather be foolish than insane.
– Chapter Twenty: The Prince

When the dead betray the living, the victims are memories.
– Chapter Twenty-Two: Curse of the Brown Bear

About the Author

Michael J SullivanAfter finding a manual typewriter in the basement of a friend’s house, Michael J. Sullivan inserted a blank piece of paper and typed: It was a dark and stormy night. He was just ten years old and mimicking the only writer he knew at the time…Snoopy. That spark ignited a flame and Michael’s desire to fill blank pages would become a life-long obsession. As an adult, Michael spent more than ten years developing his craft by studying authors such as Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck. During that time, he wrote thirteen novels without finding any traction in publishing. Since insanity is repeating the same act but expecting a different result, he did the only sane thing he could think of and quit, vowing never to write creatively again.

Never turned out to be too long for Michael and after a decade he returned to the keyboard in his forties…but with one condition: he wouldn’t seek publication. Instead, he wrote a series of books that had been building in his head during his hiatus. His first reading love was fantasy, and his hope was to help foster a love of reading in his then thirteen-year-old daughter, who struggled due to severe dyslexia. After reading the third book of this series, his wife insisted the novels needed to “get out there.” When Michael refused to jump back onto the query-go-round, she took over the publication tasks and has run “the business side” of his writing ever since.

CONTACT INFORMATION

  • Riyria Blog: www.riyria.com
  • Hollow World Blog: www.hollowworldnovel.wordpress.com
  • Legends of the First Empire Series Blog: www.firstempireseries.com
  • Twitter: @author_sullivan
  • Riyria Facebook: www.facebook.com/riyria
  • Author Facebook: www.facebook.com/author.michael.sullivan
  • Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/2063919.Michael_J_Sullivan