Author: Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts#1
Rating: 3.5 stars
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. The opinion that this was an solid "okay" start to a YA fantasy series is purely my own.
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?
Let me start with what I liked. I liked the premise of this book. It was different. And the world building was well done. I found myself lost in this world as I read this. Abi is an intelligent girl who showed great promise, but that promise doesn't pay off til literally the very end. So I guess I will just have to read the next book to delve more into her story. Luke, the other main character in the book, was impulsive and very action oriented. But I found his story arc a little dull. I kept wanting to get back to the estate Abi and the rest of the family were "slaving" for as the major players were there. The villains, or Equals in this story, were fascinating. You are given the impression not all are as they seem and motives are hard to pin down for some of them.
What I didn't like? The many, many hard to remember names littered throughout this entire story. They were difficult to keep track of. I also felt there were too many characters. I get you want to build this huge world and show scope, but it got overwhelming. As I mentioned, the splitting of the story between Luke and Abi and then having some of the Equals narrate their own chapters - it was just too much for me. I hope that's toned down in the next book.
BUT overall, I enjoyed reading this book. It was different and I like the potential the story has for growth. I'd recommend it if you are into YA fantasy.