In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well. Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a d...

Review || The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

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.

The Gilded King is the first novel in the Sovereign series by Josie Jaffery and it certainly sets the bar high for the rest of the series! While the blurb with all its color coding sounds complex, once you jump into the story, the confusion melts away as you lose yourself in this dystopian world. The storyline follows two main characters, Julia, a human, and Cameron, a vampire, as they make their way through their environment.

Julia is stuck in the Blue, a city that has been walled off from the world; the last city in the world, in fact. Made as a defense against the Red, the city is home to the Nobles, vampires who call upon the humans there to be Attendants. Julia never wanted to be an Attendant, servants used to feed the Nobles. She longs for the freedom of the Red, a wild territory outside the walls of the ordered Blue until she is assigned Attendant to Lucas.

Meanwhile, Cameron, one of Solis Invicti, elite military and bodyguard to the Empress, shuns the organized city of the Blue for the wilds of the Reds, looking for a lost friend, one that he will never give up searching for. 

There's a lot going on in this book and not all of it is apparent at first. There's a strangeness to both environments. Someone is keeping secrets. You aren't exactly sure who is telling the truth. (As I type this, the doorkeepers from the Labyrinth, who coincidentally enough are also Red and Blue, comes into my mind. "Ba-ba-boom, Certain Death!" Great. Now I'm going to have to watch that.)

The world building is marvelously done in this fantasy faux utopia. You get both the paranormal elements AND a fantastically done class system and dystopian society. Add in a unique twist -- there is a vaccine to make the humans toxic to the zombies. However, the vaccine makes the humans unedible to the vampires. Talk about a broken cog in your well-built machine!

I'm not typically a fan of dystopian worlds unless they also include paranormal elements. I'm also not usually a fan of dual POV's. However, Josie Jaffrey has entwined it all in such a delightful way. There are paranormal aspects of the vampires and zombies, but the action doesn't overshadow the character development. At the same time, the theme of friendship and the subtle romance doesn't overshadow the action.  The dual POVs are layered over each other so carefully that you aren't annoyed by the shift. Both storylines are intriguing and equally strengthened as the novel progresses. 

Speaking of the romance, I could completely fangirl over it in this book. It's so well done. Too often, it's a love at first sight, two people that are completely wrong for each other, or it's simply too juvenile to be believable. Not so in the Gilded King. It's so enmeshed in the storyline that it almost doesn't even register on your radar, but when it does...ah. Julia and Lucas are so sweet together and I can feel my heart already breaking for Cameron and Felix at the end of The Gilded King.  

The Gilded King is such a great blending of so many things: fantasy, adventure, romance, ya, paranormal, dystopian, action... I think it would appeal to fans of many genres. And if you, like me, are frustrated by the cliffhanger ending, you are in luck --The Silver Queen is available now as well!

Get your copy here: 

I have always written stories, but it wasn't until I started the first book in the Solis Invicti series in 2014 that I really became obsessed with writing. I love to read, particularly where the escapism of the story is enhanced with an element of fantasy or science fiction. For me, writing is simply an extension of that journey, but I get to decide what happens next (though it's amazing how often the characters seem to decide for themselves what I'm going to write!).

I love to hear from readers with their comments and feedback on the books, so please do get in touch through my website or via Twitter.

Thank you for reading!