The problem with reading series as they come out, for me, is that I forget what’s gone on in the previous book.
When I sat down to read Vic James’ Tarnished City, sequel to The Gilded Cage, I had to put it on hold until I could dig out the first book to refresh myself in what happened.
In Tarnished City, we pick right back up with Abi Hadley and her brother Luke. Unskilled (non-magical) people in a work ruled by the Equals (who have magic), Abi and her whole family, except Luke, were serving their mandatory slave days in an Equal household when everything blew up (literally). Luke, in a slavetown, got caught up with some radicals looking to end the slave days and the tyrannical rule of the Equals.
Now, Luke has been given to Lord Crovan, a sadistic Equal known for punishing the Unskilled in cruel ways. Abi is on the run, herself and the family being removed from the Equal house and taken to a slavetown for the remainder of their days. Abi sets out with Luke’s rescue in mind, but finds herself caught up with some of Luke’s old friends, and she finds that revolution and rescue may end up being the same thing.
The Gilded Cage ends leaving you wondering what various characters are up to. Throughout Tarnished City, not only do we not get answers, but we’re left wondering about even more characters. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s intrigue that keeps you guessing and keeps you engaged in the story.
I’m still not completely sold on the writing style, the language still reads a little childish for me, but obviously that didn’t stop me from reading the second book, and it won’t stop me from reading the third.
But, for someone maybe looking to dip a toe into fantasy and/or dystopian worlds, it’s not a bad series to start on. And if nothing else, once you start, you’re bound to want to finish, just so you know who’s playing for what.