Cover Image: The Golden Cage

The Golden Cage

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

The heart of this was a good thriller, and I always love stories about a woman getting revenge on a terrible man. But, this book was much too long, the flashbacks were somewhat unnecessary until the last few, the fatphobia and privilege in this just made me not like it as much as I wanted to.
Was this review helpful?
Revenge is a dish best served cold ... or in the case of Camilla Läckberg's novel The Golden Cage, steaming hot.  This 2020 Swedish translation is every scorned woman's retaliation fantasy, as Läckberg's protagonist Faye knows no limits in her attempts to bring the man who ruined her to his knees.  Faye takes her revenge where most of us dare not go, and the result is a chilling, pulse-pounding novel of a love gone very, very wrong.

Faye's husband Jack would not be where he is today if it weren't for her.  She basically made the man, but you won't see him giving her any credit.  Instead, he belittles and objectifies her, isolating her more and more from the world and her true self.  Faye spends her days caring for their young daughter and doubting her self worth, all the while serving as the star of Jack's lurid fantasies.  So when Faye literally catches her husband in the act of betraying her, she wastes no time in exacting revenge on the sleazy philanderer.  She is hellbent on making sure that Jack gets his just desserts, and she has no plans of remaining a demure woman of little consequence anymore.  Jack would do well to recognize that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned ... especially when she's your wife.

Camilla Läckberg's The Golden Cage is an explosive, in-your-face tale of revenge exacted.  It takes awhile for Läckberg to build Faye's background and set the stage for what's to come, but once this story gets going, it doesn't stop until the jaw-dropping conclusion.  The Golden Cage also incorporates themes of feminism and reclaiming one's power, and does a satisfying job of developing Faye's character from submissive wife to a strong woman in her own right.  While some parts of this novel require you to believe the unbelievable, and others may turn weak and sensitive stomachs due to its unsettling and graphic nature, The Golden Cage is an intoxicating story of vengeance that is not to be missed by fans of the suspense-thriller genre.

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to like this book.... I really, REALLY wanted to. I've heard so many wonderful things about this author, so I was incredibly excited to begin reading....  but I ended up being very disappointed.  I didn't feel any connection to the characters- I found the protagonist just as unlikable as the antagonist, and the book just felt..... predictable. Will I try another book by this author in the future? More than likely. Will I be reviewing this elsewhere than NetGalley. Definitely not.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the ARC copy!   What a story!!   Fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat!   There were twists all the way up to the end.   WIll definitely recommend!!!!!
Was this review helpful?
Even though this book is not for me, I'm sure it will find success with fans of her previous books. I will try again, perhaps when the book is released.
Was this review helpful?
Easy escapism and enjoyable nonsense. This one didn’t do anything special for me but I wanted something quick and fun, and this gave that to me! This one might be good if you haven’t read a lot of crime thrillers!
Was this review helpful?
Fair warning: This has an exceptionally high Ick Factor, but if you can get past that it’s also a clever and satisfying revenge novel. 

There’s a lot to be said about the treatment of women in this book (both by men and by other women) and almost none of it is good. Which is, of course, exactly the point Lackberg is trying to make about the roles women are forced to play in both their professional and personal lives and how the two intersect. 

Though there are a number of instances in the book when the women (mostly protagonist Faye) plot and take revenge upon men who have wronged them, the central focus is Faye’s ex-husband Jack, who was such a monster that I found myself shouting “Kill him! Just kill him!” out loud as I read.

Like most of the men (or at least the bad ones) in the book, he gets what he deserves in the end, and that’s thanks to a masterful long-game plot carried out by Faye over a number of years. 

There are going to be readers out there who won’t like what Faye does because it’s all about holding onto her anger and hatred. I’m not one of those readers. I love a revenge story, and if someone had treated me the way that Jack treated Faye, I would probably spend years trying to pay them back for it too. 

There’s one flaw in the revenge narrative that’s tough to get past, however. As mentioned, most of the men who find themselves on the wrong end of Faye deserve everything she dishes out. Unfortunately there is one instance in the book where the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, and it’s a big problem because it makes Faye—who we’re supposed to be sympathetic toward—look like a sociopath, or at the very least a morally lacking conniver. 

It’s not the “what” of it that’s the problem. It’s the “who” and the “why.” Had Jack, for example, been subject to this, we would all likely be cheering. But in this instance the punishment isn’t a match for the offense, and it creates a huge problem in Faye’s character arc. 

That said, the story also proves to be surprisingly sweet at times (Chris! Has there ever been a better friend than Chris?) and the ending has a fun and satisfying twist. The “big” twist is pretty easy to guess well before it happens, but there’s a good zinger in the last line of the book that will leave you smiling.

I could have done without all the cringey, pseudo porn aspects of this as well as some of the ickier elements of the plot, but mostly it’s a fun revenge story that will leave you feeling empowered.
Was this review helpful?
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.

This is a great thriller for fans of the genre. I am not usually a big thriller reader, but the synopsis and premise of this intrigued me. I had a hard time getting into it in the beginning, as it seemed a little slow, but I sped through the last 25%. I do think it could have been a little shorter, but I appreciated that the author attempted to create some character development.

I really enjoyed the themes of feminism and equality and the twist was a good one, if not one that I kind of saw coming.
Was this review helpful?
I knew I had to read this book when Kirkus described it as “Big Little Lies meets Gone Girl”.  I could not agree more.
	Golden Cage has more twists and turns than I have read in a long time.  There were serval times I thought I knew what was going to happen and a big twist would come adding even more to the plot.
	There was a point in the middle of the book that I was so mad at one of the characters I wanted to stop reading.  I’m glad I got over my over-involved feelings.  I would have been disappointed if I missed out on this ending.
	This is a must-read, Five Star book.  I would love to see a movie (at the movie theatres) made from this book.
Was this review helpful?
Published in Sweden in 2019; published in translation by Knopf on July 7, 2020

The Golden Cage might be characterized as a female empowerment thriller. The protagonist, Faye, had an abusive father, although he generally saved his physical abuse for Faye’s mother. Faye went on to forego a college education so that she could stay home and raise children after using her business acumen to help her husband grow rich. When he betrays her by having endless affairs before dumping her in favor of a younger woman and leaving her penniless, she vows to get revenge. She believes that “no act of vengeance could be too brutal” for a husband who cheated her out the life she feels she deserved. She also vows to empower other women to seek vengeance again the evil men who betray them.

The reality is that women betray men in growing numbers — although probably not as often as men betray women — and that women are becoming more willing to admit their infidelity, perhaps because it empowers them to do so. While it is easy to be sympathetic with anyone who has been betrayed, Camilla Läckberg’s caricature of Faye’s husband as an evil man and his wife as a victim who is justified in seeking revenge is hard to take seriously. It was, after all, Faye’s choice to end her career. It was Faye’s choice to stay with Jack long after his narcissistic nature became apparent. It was Faye’s choice to help Jack with his business, even as Jack took credit for her efforts. It was her choice to say yes when Jack asked her to get a boob job. Faye has little insight into the role she played in her own destruction.

Even so, I might have been sympathetic to Faye if she hadn’t become obsessed with revenge. When Faye involves her innocent daughter in a scheme to get even with her ex-husband, I lost what little sympathy I could muster for her cause. I don’t know if Faye is meant to be a role model, an example of how strong women can prevail, but she isn’t someone I would want a child to emulate. Flashbacks to Faye’s childhood only enhance the reader’s perception that Faye has a long pattern of being driven by revenge and self-pity.

The plot requires the reader to believe too many impossible things at once. Having been rendered penniless, Faye starts a dog walking service and leverages her capital to create, almost overnight, an incredibly successful cosmetics company. Who knew that financial success can be achieved so easily? She enlists the support of powerful women in her company by branding it as a crusade against men, then uses her financial might to take down Jack’s company. To do that, she needs to seduce Jack again — multiple times — all the while comparing Jack in excessive detail to the new stud lover who made her realize that Jack is incapable of satisfying a woman. Are we supposed to think that this somehow makes Faye any better than Jack?

A shallow plot, a cringe-inducing protagonist, and lurid prose make The Golden Cage a chore to read. Jack is a stereotype of an abusive misogynist male. Faye is a stereotype of a vengeful woman. Blurbs compare The Golden Cage to Gone Girl, but Gone Girl has insightful, nuanced things to say about the way men and women relate to each other. The ultimate point of Gone Girl is that revenge is a dish best left unserved. While the Golden Cage reads like an attempt to rip off the premise of Gone Girl, it is an unimaginative revenge fantasy that fails to explore the moral implications of the protagonist’s immoral actions. The twist ending attempts to double down on Gone Girl but it is too derivative to be effective. I really don’t understand why this book was a success in any language.

Was this review helpful?
Like her heroine, Nordic noir queen Camilla Läckberg leaves behind the cozy small town of Fjällbacka in her latest novel, The Golden Cage.

After graduating from high school and enduring a family trauma never fully explained, Faye Adelheim “couldn’t get away from that claustrophobic little place fast enough. It suffocated me with its picturesque cobbled streets and inquisitive people who never left me alone.” It’s quite the kiss-off for the bucolic Swedish fishing village where Läckberg set 10 acclaimed books beginning with her 2003 debut, The Ice Princess.

The Golden Cage is a departure for Läckberg in other ways. It takes place amid the glitzy nightclubs, department stores, and cafés of central Stockholm. It’s full of explicit, joyless sex. And it’s not really a murder mystery. The crime is (seemingly) solved in the opening pages, and most of the story is told in flashbacks. Instead, it’s a twisty tale of revenge served ice cold after Faye discovers that her tech billionaire husband is cheating.

She can hardly blame him. Having fled Fjällbacka to enroll in the Stockholm School of Economics, she drops out to waitress while her husband gets the business she helped him brainstorm off the ground. She finds herself overshadowed in life and the press by his male business partner. “Her part in the story didn’t fit the media image of the two young, daring, indomitable entrepreneurs.”

Instead, Faye settles into the role of doting mother and posh lady who lunches. But all those lunches are going to her hips, and her thwarted ambition has started to curdle.

The Golden Cage has less in common with Läckberg’s previous procedurals than camera-ready feminist psychological thrillers like Jane Doe, Gone Girl, Big Little Lies, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and, even further back, Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, which Läckberg has acknowledged as an influence on Faye’s story. As in those books, the narrator is unreliable, and possibly unstable. She’s likable only to the extent that she’s surrounded by people who are even less likable.

It’s a delicate balancing act, and one Läckberg doesn’t quite pull off. By the end, Faye has reinvented herself so many times that it’s hard to know who she really is; there are gaping disconnects between the small-town survivor, the hard-partying student, the clueless trophy wife, and the cunning schemer. Improbably, Faye’s revenge plan depends on her building a booming business from the ground up. While she’s portrayed as the brains behind her husband’s success, neither company is particularly convincing as a real-world enterprise.  That’s surprising considering that Läckberg has an economics degree and an entrepreneurial bent: She’s a founder of the female-focused venture capital firm Invest in Her, among other startups.

Läckberg takes the plot one twist too far. The final reveal on the last page is less of an “aha!” than a “huh?” And readers will spot the denouement coming a mile away. But it doesn’t matter: The point of the book isn’t the smug satisfaction of figuring out whodunit. It’s the full-body catharsis of watching a spurned and slightly unhinged wife methodically dismantle her golden cage—and her evil ex’s life—piece by piece.
Was this review helpful?
This isn't like her usual books, at first.  It had a very slow start and took about a third of the book to really get interesting.  I was really starting to dislike the character until everything changed.  There were a few hints to the chaos to come, and then the good part started.  Good ending!
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars! This was a very interesting revenge thriller with a lot of twists along the way. I found the ending to be a bit unbelievable but overall, I really liked it! The main character was so interesting and gutsy!
Was this review helpful?
The Golden Cage promised a "delicious and sexy tale of revenge" and it definitely delivered! I love a good story of a wronged woman getting what's hers. Faye's plan to takeover her wealthy husband's company and make him pay for his infidelities was pure fun to read about! ⁣
If you like psychological thrillers, reading about the lives of the ridiculously wealthy, and a little mystery set in the beautiful backdrop of Scandinavia this is the book for you.⁣
Was this review helpful?
Is there ever a better thriller story than one that enacts revenge on someone who truly deserves it? Not in my mind! The Golden Cage is a super-fast, revenge-filled tome that had me cheering on the main character by the end of the book.

Faye has done everything for her husband--came up with the name of his business, gave up her college education and the amazing job that should have been, stayed home and raised their daughter like he wanted. But then she walks in on him cheating with his partner Ylva, the young blond woman with the better body. This throws her into her past, where revenge was also a part of her family's story. I loved this book, and by the time I got to the end, I was questioning my own morals after thinking about the revenge I would get on someone who did me wrong. I loved this book!!
Was this review helpful?
Ummmm WHAT! Full disclosure, it had been awhile since I read the synopsis of The Golden Cage by Camilla Läckberg so I completely forgot this was going to be a revenge book, and some revenge it was! This is going to be a must read for any woman scorned or victims of abuse, and even though it starts out with a weaker Faye, she sure doesn't stay weak for long. About the midway point is when things start getting REALLY good, and I LOVED IT SO MUCH! The book flipped back and forth between two time periods for the most part, before adding a third towards the end. This was such a genius way to build suspense and help us get to know Faye and her past better which I obviously loved.

At first I was reading The Golden Cage rather slowly, but even so I was still completely sucked into the story and Faye's world. Jack has got to be one of the worst male characters ever, and it made him so easy to hate which means revenge felt even sweeter. Once Faye started plotting her revenge, I literally couldn't put the book down, so I ended up finishing most of it in one day. There is also some focus on female relationships, and it ends up being a bit of a tear-jerker which I wasn't expecting but appreciated.

I am incredibly excited that The Golden Cage is the first book of a series, and I could see how Läckberg was setting things up for the book, or books, to follow. It is clear that Faye has a very dark past and after the shocking ending you just want to know more about her. Fortunately, there aren't really any cliffhangers, but it left me wanting more which was great. There is also a decent amount of both sex and abuse in the book but it was executed in a way that didn't feel overdone or unwarranted so that was a plus. I have other books by this author on my shelf so while I'm impatiently waiting for more Faye, I will be reading those. Such a well-written and clever book, thank you Läckberg for the perfect revenge novel and start to a new series!

Thank you to the publisher for my advance review copy via NetGalley. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I’m always on the hunt for unique mysteries and thrillers and European thrillers are one category that stand out for me (i.e. A Nearly Normal Family, Quicksand, Based on a True Story). I’d never read Camilla Lackberg before, but she is the author of a number of massive best-sellers…and The Golden Cage is apparently a departure for her. Like the other European thrillers that have worked for me, The Golden Cage is a bit more subtle than American thrillers, more of a slower burn, and more character driven…which I loved. I liked that the story is more about the how and why then about the what. And the big theme is women using their brains to empower themselves over men…and to get revenge. It doesn’t read like a full-on thriller until the very end and, despite thinking I wasn’t going to like the ending, Lackberg didn’t let me down when all was said and done. Great pick if you’re looking for a different kind of thriller!
Was this review helpful?
Summary: Faye lives in Stockholm with her husband Jack and daughter Julienne. She is totally devoted to Jack and strives to be the perfect wife and mother, has sacrificed her career for him even though she helped build his company and in turn their enormous wealth. Jack is a controlling asshole and when she catches him having sex with his younger coworker in their bed, he demands a divorce and leaves her penniless. And Faye takes revenge. 

Oh how I love a good revenge tale! This had major Girl With the Dragon Tattoo vibes - powerful women overthrowing masochistic pathetic men. 
My only problems with the story is that it felt like Faye got away with everything she wanted far too easily. There really wasn’t a whole lot of explanation into how she pulls all of her grand schemes off. Also, there was a lot of buildup around her ~secretive childhood~ that felt pretty unresolved in the end. 

Overall, this was a super thrilling and engaging story. I highly recommend for fans of TGWTDT series and The Last Mrs. Parrish!
Was this review helpful?
A Swedish writer new to me, but a theme/ psychological thriller told many times in many languages.A woman who no longer remains young enough/ thin enough for her powerful husband, is rejected by him and sets out / and accomplishes her revenge.It was good, but I’m tiring of the reject/ retaliate plot-even though it was admirable and knowledgeable how she accomplished it.
Was this review helpful?
I am 50/50 of this book, part of me loved it, part of me disliked it,. It just felt hard to connect with the plot, and with the characters. I do not believe that is at fault of the Author. I believe I was just the wrong reader for the book.
Was this review helpful?