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?
Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.
This book, I felt, has been very hyped on Twitter, which always makes me very nervous as I have read plenty of books which I felt simply did not deserve the hype. Well, I can’t say the same for this book – I was in fact pleasantly surprised by it.
The concept behind the book is great being a blend of fantasy and dystopia. Set in England, society is split into two: The Equals who are gifted with magic, and the common people who have to submit to ten years as slaves. If we took the magic aspect out of the story, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine something like that happening in real life which is a rather scary thought.
When I saw the contents page, I did initially balk at the amount of points of views in the story, but I needn’t have worried as each POV voice is distinct enough to avoid confusion. This also gives the reader to be able to experience the lives of a variety of characters, both equals and commoners, which is something I’ve not really found in dystopia novels, so you get to see the political aspects as well. There’s a particular character that I hope we get a bit more POV from in the next book as they really intrigue me. The characters are also complex, which makes you reassess what you think of them each time you read about them.
The pacing was great and there were a lot of twists throughout the story, which meant that I didn’t want to put it down. There was plenty of action as well as a little bit of romance, but this did not overtake the narrative. The ending will leave you wanting more, and the good news is that the sequel is published this year, so there isn’t a massive wait.
All in all, this is a brilliant debut that will leave you wanting more!