Review: The Gilded King

Published 25th June 2018

Thank you to Dave at #TheWriteReads for introducing me to this series.

I have a ridiculous amount of positivity towards this book which I loved for many reasons related to characters, world-building, intricate and meaningful plot development and, of course, vampires! 

I quickly became utterly engrossed in the world created by Jaffrey, a world of Red and Blue:  one hidden behind walls where humans serve and feed the ruling vampire class (Nobles), and the other a world to be feared, but by whom?  Could it offer the humans a means of escape from their servitude to the Nobles if only the human inhabitants of the Blue can overcome their fears of what may lie outside their imprisonment, if only they are prepared to question what they have been led to believe …

I loved the dual narrative, with the story alternating between that of the vampire Cameron and a young Server in the Red, Julia.  Both their narrative arcs are fascinating and I especially loved how cleverly they were woven together without the need for them to ever really completely entwine.

Cameron has lived for over 1000 years, his soul tortured by the loss of someone who he once held dear, someone whose loss he blames on himself. His search through the centuries to find her leads to him wandering the Red following any clues for fear of losing hope … and the last shreds of his humanity.  He is joined in his search by Felix who seems to know more about vampires than he should.  I loved the slow burn of the developing relationship between Cam and Felix.  Cameron’s search leads him to make a startling discovery which may very well threaten the very existence of his species …

Julia lives in the Blue, desperate to gain freedom from her fear, a freedom she imagines can exist in the Red, but too frightened to face the terrors that may await her in the land beyond the imprisonment of the Blue.  Unlike her friend, Claudia, she does not hold some romantic notion of falling in love with a vampire and becoming immortal herself.  Until, that is, she becomes the Attendant to Lucas, a young vampire, who turns all that she thought she knew about herself on its head.  I couldn’t help but love the romance of their developing relationship, with Julia fighting against her attraction, but unable to resist “the Pariah of the Blue”. 

I found the exposition of the sociological, political and historical context threaded throughout the story fascinating and, whilst I’m very tempted to discuss it, I’m only going to mention it in passing as it is so cleverly woven into the fabric of the story that I don’t want to spoil the enjoyment of the questions it raises, and revelations it makes, as readers discover it for themselves.

Guilt, revenge, danger, betrayal, friendship, love … this story has it all in spades.  It was one hell of a read which I devoured voraciously.  I’ve since bought The Silver Queen, so that I can continue the story.

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