25 Sep 2018

Review: The Gilded King (Sovereign #1)

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

From Goodreads:
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.

On first sight, you might not understand what the book is about. Or anything about the characters' true natures, which I realised quite late in the book. Was it carelessness or something else, I don’t know. But being clueless for the better part of the beginning really took a toll on the plot.

The world the book is based in is complex, that is clear without saying. The safe zone for characters is the Blue. There no one is infected with a deadly disease. In the Red though, the disease rages wild and free. No one who goes into the Red lives to tell what is in there, or at least they haven’t travelled back to tell.

The female main character we follow is a young girl named Julia whose parents left the Blue to brave the Red. They never returned, leaving Julia orphaned and to be trained as a servant for Noble’s household. She never dreamt about being an Attendant, an individual assigned to serve one Noble alone. By a misfortunate event on one of the attendants, Julia is thrown in the complex world of tight etiquette without training. Her Noble, Lucas, though, is not what she expected him to be. He defies the rules set by the society, keeping a rooftop garden and being kind to his Julia.

Lucas was a mystery for the entire book. I never got a clear picture of his motivations nor his values. He didn’t show any clear signs of his goals, just some affection towards Julia and nothing else. He felt more like a shell than a full-bodied character. Julia, on the other hand, was a very see-through character from the beginning. Her naivety was her controlling trait and she didn’t get rid of it or even slightly less naive as the plot progressed. A deer in the headlights could be the most accurate description of her character.

As I mentioned earlier, the world the is set in is so complex that it is quite impossible to explain even a half of it without going deep into the plot. What I realised now is that the reason why I was so out of it and confused about the characters was that there are more books based on the same world and some of the characters. So therein might lie a bit more in-depth explanation of the workings.

Then there is Cameron or Cam for short. I believe he is from the previous series focusing more on the Nobles. He wanted to find someone called Emmy very badly. He has been travelling in the Red for decades to find her, But there are people working against him, and people who still believe his search is for nothing. He is an enigma to me. Maybe his purpose comes clearer in the sequels, but in this one, I just didn’t understand him at all.

The Gilded King is set in the far future, but instead of the world getting a science-fiction-like technology, it has regressed back to horseback riding and poor plumbing. It's an entertaining read. Progressing slowly at first and accelerating towards the end.

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