Blurb: 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?
Trust was what made everything possible. Trust lent you someone else’s eyes, someones else’s strong arms or quick brain. Made you bigger that just yourself. Trust was how the club worked. How this whole crazy dream of abolition could work, if people could just come together and hold their nerve. Not even the Equals-not even their Skill-would be more powerful than that.
This book took me a while to finish because it had so many great aspects to it and I wanted to savor them all. Slavery, oppression, rebellion. All wonderful obstacles to read about in a book. This is totally my taste. And I was surprised that the author is a woman, since, the name is a bit masculine. But whatev’s, I usually read books written by woman.
This concept of slavery in this book is different than other books with this underlying theme. Instead of being forever indentured, it is a finite amount of time you are required to serve. Almost like a draft for the military if you will. And you get to choose when you serve it, nothing like a little leeway for your slave days to feel a bit more in your control eh?
This author didn’t skip on the descriptions in this book. We see the slums they live in as well as the extravagant estates the Equals live on in contrast. We hear the screams of the slaves that can’t take the abuse they receive and we feel the uncontrollable loss of hope most of the people have when justice is constantly favoring the powerful.
My favorite character was by far Luke. He was young and naive at first. But we get to see his transformation from boy to man as his story unfolds. It’s subtle enough that you almost miss it. How his family becomes less about blood and more about the people he surrounds himself with. His character grows the most in this book I think.
I’d say that the second best characters were the entire Jardine family at Kyneston. Some good, some bad, some you couldn’t really tell, but all highly entertaining in their own way. I can’t wait to read the next one. Which means a whole lot of waiting on my end.
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest/unbiased opinion.