Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James



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?

I picked up and ARC at NYCC in October.

I really liked the set up of this alternate reality where those with magical powers (Skill) are the rulers (Equals). Usually the magical beings are in hiding and have their own world separate from those without magic. This turn around makes for an interesting story with power struggles, political maneuvering, and a rebellion that’s going to be a bitch of a time. Some reviewers on Goodreads said it was too political and they couldn’t keep the characters straight. I don’t get what they mean. It’s YA and easy enough to follow.

I was happy that it was told from different POVs in the third person. That really gave the world building a fuller picture and we got to understand both the Equals and the slaves. Some characters got more chapters than others and so their story was better developed, but I hope to see more from Silyen in the next book. He’s so conniving and the most mysterious.

A great starting point for a new trilogy. I’ll be awaiting the next book.

4 out 5 Years of Servitude.


The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer (Graphic Novel)


The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer (Graphic Novel)
by Sebastian A. Jones, Joshua Cozine (Editor), Andrew Cosby (Foreword), Peter Bergting (Illustrator), Darrell May (Illustrator)

I was given a second chance in death.
Vengeance was offered and I was quick to accept.”

A cloaked Stranger slips into the rustic Town of Oasis changing things forever. Ten years it had been since he ran this town with malice and harshness. Even then there was hope for his soul. His wife and daughter were on the verge of turning him from wickedness. But they were murdered, and so was he. He is granted seven days to reap seven souls and gain a chance at revenge. Conflict arises as a young girl (Niobe Ayutami) reminds him of his murdered daughter. She acts as his conscience and become his only hope for salvation.

The Untamed: A Sinner’s Prayer is set in the dark fantasy world of Asunda. Asunda was created by Stranger Comics founder and president Sebastian A. Jones over a 20 year period. A true labor of love, Asunda is unlike any other fantasy setting in existence. Developed in coordination with Stranger’s art director, anthropologist Darrell May, Asunda features an honest and oftentimes beautifully violent and savage approach to the medieval sword and sorcery genre, one where the world is exactly that… an entire world, filled with a variety of races which have evolved to suit their environment, not a decades old preconception of what elves and dwarves should be or how they should appear. If you like your fantasy with a touch of Sergio Leone, The Untamed is for you. If you think Clint Eastwood, Toshiro Mifune, or Richard Roundtree would have made bad ass elves, The Untamed is for you. If you want to see a wicked man return from the dead to choose between revenge and redemption… then The Untamed is definitely for you.

I bought this graphic novel at New York Comic Con 2015.

There was also a deal going on where if you bought The Untamed you could get the prequel, Niobe #1 Convention Exclusive, for $10 more. By the time I went they sold out of that exclusive, but there was a signing going on with artist Ashley A. Woods and author Amandla Stenberg. (Amandla played Rue in The Hunger Games and also played Macey Irving on Sleepy Hollow. She is the co-author with Sebastian Jones of the comic book Niobe: She is Life)

Darrell May (the Illustrator), Ashely and Amandla signed my copy of The Untamed.

So, my procrastinating self finally got around to reading it.

I liked the content in the book and felt it was worth the price. The seven comic book issues are in color, which is a plus. The color pallet fit the mood of the story really well. Sometimes it was difficult to tell the hooded characters apart, but that became easier as the story progressed and they would show their faces.

There is also a “making of” feature in the appendix, an interview, and artwork of different characters from a few different artists. It’s a nice collection.

There is some world-building to the story, which actually took me a few rereads to get straight. I could have used a character/creature guide page. I did finally get who was who and what was going on.  I don’t like when a story is dumbed down, but I did feel a bit lost at times as I was reading. I also feel like I am missing some pieces of the puzzle and would have liked some more information about what happened 10 years ago.

I am glad that Niobe has her own comic book series (which I think is a prequel) because I wished there were more scenes with her. I have all four issues and will be reading Niobe’s story next.

All in all I did likeThe Untamed’s story of revenge with a twist of possible redemption and hope. I guess there will be a sequel since the end is left open for one, but so far I only know of prequel stories. I’ll look out for a sequel.

3.5 out 5 runes.

New York Comic Con 2016 – Sunday, October 9

First thing Sunday morning was get on the queue for Carrie Fisher’s autograph. She wouldn’t be there till about noon, but being there early is essential. Her line was capped before she arrived, and there were people from the queue the previous evening who didn’t get to meet her.

That meant we would be missing the panels for Audible Presents: That’s Not My Baby! When Narrators Attack: How a Story Survives the Transition from Text to Audio and NBC’s Timeless Screening and Q&A.

Maybe next year.

As my sister and I waited we got to admire Tom Mison, who was at the table next to Carrie’s. He was drinking tea and looked mighty fine in green.

When Carrie arrived and it was our turn, my sister went first.

As Carrie signed their photo together from yesterday Vic asked if she had any glitter. (We have yet to get glitter from her and saw people yesterday with some on their faces.)

Carrie said she ran out and all the stores were closed so she’ll have to think of something else.

Then Vic told her what she had been planing to say:

Vic: Leia should slap her punk son.
Carrie: She should do more than slap him. She should lock him in the closet.
Vic: I was trying to be nice.

When it was my turn I thought I would tell her how I am looking forward to seeing more of Leia be a badass General and hope she has more scenes with Mark, but I didn’t get that far. I just said how nice it was to see her again and how happy I am to have a photo with her and her dog, Gary.

She said everyone loves Gary and he’s the ultimate. I replied that he’s adorable.

She then also added his name when she autographed our photo. Then she asked for my sister’s photo back so that she could add Gary’s name to hers.

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New York Comic Con 2016 – Saturday, October 8

Inside Gotham with David Mazouz, Erin Richards and Robin Lord Taylor

David Mazouz (Bruce Wayne), Erin Richards (Barbara Kean) and Robin Lord Taylor (Oswald Cobblepot) give a behind-the-scenes look at the seedy Gotham underworld, and what it’s like to be a part of the Bat-Mythos. Join Gotham’s goldenboy and a few sinister scoundrels as they share their Arkham adventures and talk about the latest TV installment in the Batman world.

My sister, myself and our friend Nikki got pretty good seats at the Gotham panel. Fourth row. Nikki wanted the aisle so she could be near the mic to ask a question.

Before the panel the warm up guy played a game with the audience. A cross between a scavenger hunt and musical chairs. Each round the players had to go out and find a specific item (all Batman themed) from the audience and bring it back to the chair up front. Every round a chair was taken away so that the last person back left with no chair was disqualified. The last two contestants were a grown man and girl in her tweens. It was her first comic-con.

The item was a Lego Batman keychain. A guy threw his keys to the male contestant. But they overshot and landing in Nikki’s hands. She wanted the girl to win, so she turned to the girl, made eye contact and threw them to her. The girl got a prize and Nikki got a t-shirt for her intercepting skills.

The t-shirt was from NYCC 2013. HA! Nikki was able to trade it in at the ReedPop store for a 2016 shirt.

The panel started with just David and Robin. Erin was stuck in traffic.

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New York Comic Con 2016 – Friday, October 7

The first thing my sister and I did that Friday morning was go to the Disney Booth. I had gotten an email that there would be a signing at 6:00pm with E.K. Johnston and Ashley Eckstein for the new Ahsoka novel. I wanted to ask if we would need bracelets for the signing. No bracelets required. I was just told by a woman who worked there to be there 15-30 minutes before it started.

Yea right. This is Ashely and Ahsoka we are talking about. I planned to be there no less than an hour before. But when I got there before 5pm I just missed them selling their last copy of Ahsoka and capping the line. They said people had been lined up since about 3 or 4PM, after they heard about the signing at a Star Wars panel that morning.

I was heartbroken. I think the man there felt bad because before someone told him the line was capped he offered to sell me another book for them to sign. But that’s not the point. Why would I want them to sign a book they have no involvement with? He also said Ahsoka would be on sale in bookstores on Tuesday. But then it won’t be signed and that is the point.

Why didn’t the woman that morning tell me to BUY THE BOOK NOW? That that would be my “ticket” to the signing. I also kicked myself for not thinking of it, but honestly, she made it seem like it would be a give away. And let’s be honest, Disney can afford to give a few out for free at NYCC.

I got over it and ended up downloading the audiobook instead. I really wanted to hear Ashley narrate it anyway.

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New York Comic Con 2016 – Thursday, October 6:

Thursday my sister, Victoria, and I got to the Javits Center around noon.

We didn’t go to any of the panels we  wanted to see. Some were at Book Con @ NYCC over at 500 W 36th St and 10th Ave: A World Unlike Any Other: The Importance of Setting in Fantasy and Sci-Fi and Villain Squad: Villains and Anti-Heroes in Literature.

Luckily I can catch up on some the panels I missed here at the Unbound Worlds NYCC wrap-up.

Instead we went around the Exhibit Hall picking up books, looking at Artist’s Alley and taking photos.

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Complete List of Books from New York Comic Con 2015

Hounded, by Kevin Hearne – free giveaway
Star Wars Tarkin, James Luceno – free giveaway
Bones Never Lie, Kathy Reichs – free giveaway – gave to  a friend
The Shadow Revolution: Crown & Key, Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith – free giveaway
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett – free giveaway
City of Blades, Robert Jackson Bennett – free giveaway – Uncorrected Proof, on sale January 2016
Admiral, Sean Danker – free giveaway – Uncorrected Proof, on sale May 3, 2016
Playing With Fire, Tess Gerritsen – free giveaway – Advanced Read Copy, on sale October 27, 2015
The Last Days of Magic, Mark Tompkins – free giveaway – Uncorrected Proof, on sale March 1, 2016
Star Wars Character Encyclopedia – trivia prize
Neverminds 1-4, Rich Bernatovech, Jamie Fay – $20 – SIGNED
Sentinels Anthology Volume 2, Rich Bernatovech, Luciano Vecchio, Jamie Fay – $15 -SIGNED
The Untamed, Sebastian A. Jones, Peter Bergting, Darrell May – $32, SIGNED
The Mirror King: An Orphan Queen Novel, Jodi Meadows – spin and win prize, Uncorrected Proof, on sale April 2016
In the House of the Wicked: A Remy Chandler Novel, Thomas E. Sniegoski – free giveaway