About the Book:
Title: The Gilded King
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Series: Sovereign #1
Page Length: 303
Publication Date: June 25, 2018
Synopsis: In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.
Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.
But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.
Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.
One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.
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The Gilded King is an immersive and unique dystopian novel that offers a new and fresh twist on vampires and zombies. The story is told from two different perspectives – Julia and Cam’s. I liked this aspect of the novel. Julia is a human living in the Blue, and Cam is a vampire who repeatedly travels into the Red. They are two characters from the same world whose paths don’t cross, so it’s like having two loosely intertwined stories.
The characters are well-layered and richly developed and include vampires, humans, zombies, and even a fiesty, fierce, and intelligent horse names Hades. I love Hades! Cam’s unpredictable horse has a great personality and adds some comedic relief during some otherwise tense scenes. Jaffrey skillfully creates characters (and animals) that I easily became invested in and wanted to learn more about.
Julia is one of my favorite characters. She is smart and strong, and she questions the world she lives in. She is not happy in the oppressive and restrictive world in which she lives, and she longs to escape the confine of the Blue. I love her fighting spirit and her desire to know and see more. I also like that she doesn’t cower from those with more power than her. This makes her a target at times, but she refuses to back down.
I also like that many enigmatic characters are shrouded in mystery. Throughout the story, it is unclear who can be trusted and who has nefarious ambitions. The only characters that feel reliable and trustworthy are Julia and Cam. I love when stories keep me guessing, especially when it comes to character motivations, and there are several surprising revelations in this regard.
I also really enjoyed the love stories! Julia and Lucas have such a wonderful connection, and I like how their story progressed. It’s pretty clear that they are drawn to each other, but both resist because of societal rules and their own fears. As they confront their reservations, they must decide if their love is true and worth fighting for. The scenes when Julia and Cam get to know each other, when Cam cooks for her and brings her into his private world are wonderful (and a bit swoon-tastic!)
Cam and Felix have a slow-building, angst-filled story, and I so wanted them to give in to their feelings!! Their relationship has so many obstacles, which makes me want to see them together even more! I love their chemistry and am curious to see if their bond will survive the events that unfolded towards the end of the book. Both relationships, Julia & Lucas and Cam & Felix) have their fill of secrets and lies, but the longing and desire are so palpable!
Another aspect of the story that I loved was the friendship between Julia and Claud. The women are very different and have almost opposing views on their society. However, they love and protect each other, and their loyalty and bond are unbreakable. I love how much they fight for each other and think there are great messages here about the power of friendship. Cam, who spends the entire book journeying in search of a missing friend, also shows how powerful the bonds of friendship are, as do the group of servant women led by Livia. Throughout the novel, Jaffrey highlights the positive impact friendships and found families have on one’s life.
The author also introduces some interesting and thought-provoking ideas about danger and risk-taking. Danger comes in many forms, and the characters in this story face many dangerous and potentially life-threatening situations. Just living in their world is dangerous. The safe world of the Blue is oppressive and inequitable and often leads to the demise of the less powerful. The world of the Red is unknown and filled with mystery and potential contamination. The characters spend time pondering which reality is worse – the unknown dangers of the Red or the known dangers of the Blue. It’s interesting to see how different characters view danger, the world around them, and the risks they are willing to take to achieve happiness.
The story is well-paced and has a lot of nail-biting action scenes. Political intrigue, threats to the Blue, attacks, journeys through the dangerous Red, kidnappings, rescue attempts, and more make for a suspenseful and intense read that I really enjoyed, and after that shocking ending, I can’t wait to find out what happens next! I think The Gilded King will appeal to readers who enjoy suspenseful dystopian novels with great supernatural elements and dynamic characters. Thanks so much to The Write Reads and Josie Jaffrey for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The unique world and twist on vampires and zombies.
- The romance!
- The messages and thought-provoking ideas.
I want to be able to choose the price we pay for our lives.
The most effective barriers against the humans were the ones in their minds, and the rulers of the Blue had built them well.
Better to live a human life in the sunshine than an immortal life in the grey vacuum of the Blue.
They were a bunch of flowers rather than single blossoms, and together their scents were dulled into uniformity.
“You’re a Noble.”
“I am your noble.”
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