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 going to come down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.
Warnings: bloodletting, domestic abuse, physical violence, description of gore
The Gilded King is a post-apocalyptic vampire novel, in which the world is divided into vampires called Silver, and humans categorized as contaminated or non-contaminated (so they are a good source for Silver) depending on if they have been given a vaccine to a virus that causes zombie-ism. Now, going into this book I didn’t know that it was a spin-off from the Solis Invicti series, but it filled in enough of the gaps with backstory that I didn’t really feel I was missing something (I would still advise reading the original series; I plan to do so before reading the second in this series)
As a story, it has two threads and two POVs – Cam, who is one of the Solis Invicti and who has been looking for Emily (the protagonist of Solis Invicti series) for centuries, as she was abducted by another Silver, and Julia, who is a non-contaminated human living inside the Blue, a safe haven free from any traces of the Weeper virus vaccine or the virus itself. Cam’s is probably the more interesting part as he is somewhat positioned as a casualty of some political machinations of the Silver, while Julia is a reluctant blood source (Attendant) to a young Silver named Lucas, who is gentle and kind, unlike Rufus, a sadistic Silver who puts the fear of the Red in her. Cam meanwhile is traipsing all over Eastern Europe, encountering other human settlements, and Silver blood colonies (think like the ones in The Immortal Rules), along with a mysterious huntsman Felix who agrees to become his guide, and whom he feels increasingly drawn to.
Both the romances are between a Silver and a mortal, but the dynamics of it are different because of the vaccination status of the mortal in question, which meant tension and angst but in different ways. Also, Lucas barely knows anything about the Silver society and the secrets of the Blue but has solid game, while Cam is a thousand-year-old Silver who has pretty much seen it all, and still blushes when Felix teases him. The political aspects comes much later in the book, but the journey until there is also interesting on its own, as we are learning about the world and how it works. The timelines of traveling as well the food supplies of the caravan still has me side-eying the logistics a bit, but I guess I will just chalk it up to Silver speed. On the whole, I found it engaging, well-written, and a story I want to pursue further.
Is it diverse? Cam, one of the main characters, is gay.