The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey

I was sent a free copy of this book by the author in return for an unbiased review.

‘Julia’s world was blue.
Blue was everything. Blue was home. Blue was safe.
How she longed to see red.’

the gilded kingIn 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, who believes in fairytales that her 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.

What I thought

I came into this book not knowing anything about it. I hadn’t even spent much time thinking about what it would mean in the synopsis about not everyone being human. I prefer going into a book with no preconceptions as it means I’m not disappointed if it’s not what I thought it could have been. I hadn’t really thought about the possibility of it being vampires. Honestly I tend to stay away from paranormal romance as I was burnt so much by it when I was younger and starting to properly look at different genres, it was the same time that Twilight came out (or twiglet as it’s known in my family), not only was I not a fan of Twiglet but almost all books at the time became about vampires or werewolves so finding anything different and continuing to expand my reading was almost impossible. By the time the fad finally died out I had grown to associate it with annoyance and was doing my best to ignore it. Recently I’ve read a few and have discovered that if they are written well and have a good enough plot then I have no problem with it and actually my problem stems more the bias that grew when i was younger.
Not knowing that this was vampires meant that when that turned out to be the case I was already invested in some of the characters and therefore I didn’t let my bias take over. I really like the characters of Julia, Lucas, and Cameron. Julia’s opinion on the Blue is a really intriguing one, because she’s aware of the safety involved in staying where she is, in staying at the bottom of the chain and out of people’s way. but she also can’t help but dream about it being different, about going out into the Red even though she is constantly told about how going into the Red will kill her. It’s a form of wanderlust, of that endless potential and a world of possibilities. But every time she goes to the border and thinks about going there is always something, or someone that keeps pulling her back. A responsibility or a promise that she made that means she keeps putting off making that first step. I can completely relate to this feeling, to look at the world and think about all the options open to you, but then to think about all the small things pulling you back. Work, family, or just as simple as saying you’d help out with a volunteer event or having changes at home coming up that you need to deal with, things you need to spend money on before you can put it into travel savings. It’s like an invisible thread pulling her back from the open road.

Lucas is a really interesting character, yes he’s a vampire but he doesn’t like it (and not in a whiny Edward – oh my god i’m cursed and don’t have a soul – kind of way). Just like Julia longs to get out, so does Lucas. Except Lucas knows the truth about why it isn’t safe. And he hates being the young one, even though he’s a thousand years old he’s still the baby of the family and has kept some of his human habits. He doesn’t like having an attendant whose only role is to give him blood. Lucas is brilliantly awkward and loves his room in the attic with a view and a kitchen where he can do his own cooking and live a life imagining a world away from the Blue. Unlike Julia who keeps thinking of reasons of why she can’t leave, Lucas only has one and as soon as he’s fixed the problem of his silver eyes he will be out of there. it’s something that lays heavy between the relationship between the two of them, Julia is much more of a dreamer but feels her responsibilities heavily. Whilst Lucas is the kind of guy who will fixate on a problem or on the barrier in his way, instead of coming up with more problems.

Cameron’s story line is an interesting one that is based in Red and in discovering what’s going on in the outside world while he’s on the hunt for Emmy. I only found out after reading this that this trilogy is set in the same world as the author’s other trilogy just at a later period. Cameron’s story is a continuation of what happens in the other books (The Solis Invcti series) but I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. The plot was explained well enough that I was missing anything although I am now interested in going back and reading this other trilogy.

My main issue with this book is the relationship between Julia and Lucas appeared very quickly and I prefer more of a slow burn. Also I find the issue of a human and a vampire a bit icky due to the age gap, but it was dealt with quite well as it appears that the turning meant that the aging process was slowed down including the mental growth.  I’m also aware that this is a personal thing and I’m able to spend a couple of seconds of ‘urgh’ and then park it and get on with the story.


Why I read it

I was sent a free copy in return for an unbiased review but I was interested in this because of the idea of a contained city with non-humans as well as looking at life inside and outside of this area.


Final Thought

Although I’m biased against paranormal romance because I came into this with no preconceptions I was able to get involved in the characters before my ugly bias raised it’s head. I enjoyed the setting of eastern Europe and the way their myths and legends as well as their words were woven into the story in a way that didn’t feel invasive of over the top.  The characters felt real and I enjoyed seeing the world from the three very different points of view. I’m looking forward to reading book 2 and seeing how the plot continues to grow, in the mean time I’m going to go looking for the earlier series and learn more of Cameron’s back story and how the Blue reached this point.


Would I recommend? This is one I would definitely suggest if people said they were into paranormal romance. I would let them know that this does have an earlier series in the same world but that is is not necessary to read that first.



PopSugar: Book that you borrowed/given as a gift, published in 2018.


Thanks to Josie for sending me this, click here to watch the trailer for this book.  I’m looking forward to reading her other stuff.

Please let me know what you think and if my words have made you interested to read it, or if you have any other suggestions for me in the paranormal romance genre.


P.S The next book is ‘The Pinocchio brief’ by Abi Silver


4 thoughts on “The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey

  1. I am intrigued by your review of this book and I am interested in reading it for myself. Twilight ruined the paranormal genre for me too, which is a shame as one of my favourite series prior was the Last Vampire. I have been slowly reintroducing myself to the paranormal romance genre with series like The Infernal Devices although it was halted by the terrible TV series: Shadow hunters. Where can I get a copy, so I can give the genre another chance?


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