Author: Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts #1
Publisher: Del Rey
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Edition: Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Purchase: Amazon US | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | iBooks | BAM
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 their 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?
This is a strange book. It has a great premise, but parts of the execution were a little weak. The plot didn't really make a whole lot of sense.
People are slaves but only for ten years, and they get to choose when they serve that time. Some people if they commit heinous crimes get a life sentence, but in the overall population that seems to be really rare. They hype up how horrible it is to have to serve this slave time, but really, it just comes across as really inconvenient. If you wait to do your "slavedays" as it's called in the book (It's constantly referred to as "slavedays years" it's an odd phrasing) if you wait, you can do other jobs, and get an education, and have a family and they get to have an education, and so forth.
The abilities that these "Equals" have, also odd phrasing but I guess that it's supposed to sound a little condescending since they aren't equal to "regular" people, they are never really explained very well. Are they telekinesis, or something similar? Questions that it would be nice to have an answer to. They can mess with people's minds, and throw people across the room, blow holes in the wall with their mind, put people into a coma, make people forget things. It's all very underexplained. And when it's supposed to be kind of a crucial part of the story it's barely really talked about.
Then there are the characters. The book is written in first-person but told from multiple perspectives. But all the character's inner voices "talk" the same. The aristocrats sound the same as the commoners. It made the book feel boring, and drab. I kind of skim-read most of the book. I wanted to know what was going to happen at the end of the book and what kind of set-up there'd be for the next one, I got there, but it wasn't that exciting.
Some of the POV chapters, from some of the side characters, didn't really have much if any payout in this book. Which, for me, made the chapters feel like filler and that they weren't needed.
This was an uncorrected proof, so some of the issues I have with the book could very well be fixed by the time it's released, and I hope they are. This book has a lot of potential, it just needs some extra polishing.