by Vic James
Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine
Pub Date 06 Feb 2018
Tarnished City is the sequel to Gilded Cage. You must read Gilded Cage first or there will be major spoilers in this review. Gilded Cage is amazing so go read it.
Tarnished City continues with the same lush detail that I enjoyed so much in Gilded Cage. Every event, person and thing merits a second look because nothing is what it seems at all. The Skilled and the Unskilled both have unexpected reactions to the events that culminated in Gilded Cage. Abbey goes on the run in an attempt to find the truth and free her brother, Luke. Luke is taken captive and delivered into the hands of Crovan. At Crovan’s isolated castle, which cannot be entered or exited without the lord’s permission, Luke is to be tortured and questioned about his activities at Kenyston.
I have read over 100 books in 2016, and The Gilded Cage was in the top 3. It is a finely crafted novel. I enjoyed it so much I purchased it in a Kindle version, a hardback and an audiobook version. I plan on doing the same with Tarnished City. I already have the paperback from the United Kingdom because I could not wait for the American release date. It continues the wonderful story lines that Gilded Cage excelled at. Now everything is in flux. Abbey has found the resistance and found them to not all be Unskilled like her. Luke is trying to survive each day and find a way to escape the castle without instant death as he walks through the door. The Jardines work to consolidate their power, seeking to make their family not just powerful but royal.
I was so pleased that Abigail Hadley, strong in the first book, continues to fight to save not only her brother but all the Unskilled. She has moments of doubt but stays strong. It makes her a very relatable protagonist. Luke has lost some of the strength he gained in Milltown. What the Jardines and Corvan did to him has left his brain broken. Gavar is still hot tempered but not as naive as he once was. To share his father’s vision of a powerful future means to lose his Unskilled daughter. Silyen has his own plans for the family’s power. He just has not shared them. Since he seems to be the most powerful Skilled of all, people must use caution around him.
All of the characters in both books are 3 dimensional. None of the characters are flat or unformed. This world, with all its magic and class distinctions, is very believable because the characters and their reactions to the events are so real. Tarnished City takes the politics and action from Gilded Cage and turns it up several notches on the scale. It leaves the reader breathless and ready for book number three.