I will readily admit that the cover had me taking a closer look at this book, it’s simplicity is what catches the eye and urges you to take a closer look, and after reading the blurb I figured I’d give it a go. And while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it. It was that weird mix where I was intrigued by the concept, but the book never got it’s claws into me. I could put it down and not feel the urge to pick it right back up, but I still wanted to know what would happen next and when I did start to read it again I enjoyed it.
The concept is quite simple: People separated by status which is based not only on bloodlines and affluence, but magical skill ~ Equals. Those without all of those attributes are commoners and live in freedom with the exception of Slavedays, the 10 years of their lives when they “willingly” make themselves chattel to be used as the Equals see fit and if they survive can once more live their lives as they see fit. I’m still a little. I’m still a little murky on exactly why slavedays are even in existence, but it does set up the stirrings of rebellion within the story and that’s where Abi and Luke Hadley enter the story.
While I liked Abi and Luke, I found I liked Luke more. Abi just didn’t really speak to me like Luke did and I have to admit that it was because of the situations they found themselves in. Luke had to grow up and learn to survive or he’d die. Abi, while her situation was just a dire in some regards, was much more cushy. But though Luke and Abi are touted as the main figures in the story, it was the Jardine brothers who interested me the most. We have Gavar, the Brute who is almost heartless. Silyen ~ the Sneaky One who may or may not be evil. And Jenner, the Nice One. They are all so different and I found their dynamics when they did interact quite interesting. Silyen, for obvious reasons, is the one I’m most intrigued about, but Gavar is a close second.
The writing is engaging and does draw you in, but the multiple POV’s slowed things down for me. It wasn’t that they weren’t done well, or that they didn’t fit within the story arc, because they all did and gave depth to the world, it was more that when I started to get really into that particular voice it was over and I was left feeling a bit perturbed that I had to change gears. There is a cliffhanger type ending, not unexpected, but it has left me with more questions than answers and though I may not be chomping at the bit for the next book, I do want to see how everything plays out, so will be keeping an eye out for it.
~ Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley ~
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?
Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.
She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now writes full time.
Vic has scuba-dived on Easter Island, camped at Everest Base Camp, voyaged on one of the last mailboats to St Helena, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. But there’s little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.