Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts: Book 3) by Vic James

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: October 9th, 2018

Genre: young adult, science fiction, dystopia

Series: Dark Gifts

Gilded Cage – Book 1 (review here)

Tarnished City – Book 2 (review here)

Bright Ruin – Book 3

Where you can find Bright Ruin: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Magically gifted aristocrats rule–and commoners are doomed to serve. But a rebellion threatens the old order. The dystopian trilogy that began with Gilded Cage and Tarnished City concludes.

In a world where the lower classes must endure ten years of forced service to unfairly advantaged, magically powered rulers, a teenage boy dreams of rebellion, his older sister yearns for love and knowledge, and a dangerous young aristocrat seeks to remake the world with his dark gifts. In Bright Ruin, the final book in the trilogy set in modern-day England, our heroes will lead a revolution that will transform–or destroy–the world.

My review:

This book. Has left me. Wordless. Talk about having everything turned upside down and inside out. I can’t even get my thoughts together to write a review that makes sense…lol. But I will try.

I was excited to read Bright Ruin. I had loved the previous two books in the Dark Gifts trilogy and I was expecting to feel the same about Bright Ruin. Which I did. But this book also left me with a what the heck feeling. Why? Because of the ending. But I will get to that later in the review.

Out of all the characters in the book, I thought Gavar shined in this book. His character development from Gilded Cage was amazing. He went from being a pawn of his father to someone who decided to shake off the yoke of oppression that he lived under. I did have my doubts about him while reading Bright Ruin. I had doubts about his allegiances. But, I came to realize that the only one he was loyal too was Libby and through association, Daisy. That everything he did in Bright Ruin was to safeguard them. Of course, he was doing it under duress but still.

Speaking about Gavar brings me to Silyen. I didn’t know what to make of him for most of the book. The author did a great job at keeping his true intentions under wraps until the end of the book. Even when Luke and he met the King, I still had doubts about his true intentions. I should have known after the King’s death scene that Silyen had something up his sleeve. I also should have known when he made that deal with DogA life and an escape“. Grrrr. I also should have known his true intentions towards Luke. Thinking back, there were enough hints, I didn’t add them up. I will say that the kiss was electric and I am glad it was left at that.

I didn’t like Abi as much as I did in the first two books. I don’t know why I didn’t. I do think that she saw something in Gavar that surprised her. She saw goodness and the potential to help instead of harm. Which is why she trusted him with the plans to help break her parents out of where they were being held. Which is why she didn’t blame him for what happened when she found out the truth. I did like the change in her from the first book. She went from someone who accepted what life was thrusting at her to someone who dared to change things. That change was electric. A big part of that change was Jenner’s betrayal at the Blood Festival. But the other half of that change happened when things went sideways when her parents were rescued. Those events shaped her into who she became at the end of the book.

I thought Luke was useless in this book. Until Silyen took him to Crovan’s island. Then I realized, hey he is useful. I thought his relationship with Silyen was one of master and slave. But, as I read Luke’s part of the book, I realized that Luke was providing Silyen with something. I didn’t know what. Like I mentioned above, I was shocked at the kiss between them. But, I was also shocked by what Luke did at Silyen’s request. That took more bravery than anyone in the entire book. But, like I said above, I should have known it was coming. That whole death scene with the King was a huge indicator of what was going to happen. I failed to see it.

I want to mention how much I liked Dog in this book. I loved that the author gave him a voice and a purpose in this book. I also liked that his humanity was showing more and more. It counteracted nicely with what I knew about him.

It was the last chapter that bothered me. Luke’s storyline was not resolved. As was Coira’s, the King’s and Silyen’s. To end the book the way it did make me go “WHHHHHYYYYYY????” I can only hope that the author is going to do some sort of sequel to Bright Ruin. Something that explained what happened.

What I liked about Bright Ruin:

A) Gavar.

B) The kiss between Luke and Silyen

C) Dog

What I disliked about Bright Ruin:

A) What Silyen asked Luke to do

B) The end of the book

C) Abi. Just didn’t like her

I gave Bright Ruin a 4-star rating. This is a fantastic dystopian book. The characters were well fleshed out and the world building was amazing. I did have an issue with the ending. Other than that, loved the book.

I would give Bright Ruin an Older Teen rating. There is no sex (other than that amazing kiss between Silyen and Luke). There is violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Bright Ruin. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Book-Ballantine, Del Ray, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bright Ruin.

All opinions stated in this review of Bright Ruin are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts: Book 2) by Vic James

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Del Ray

Date of publication: February 6th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Number of pages: 416

Series: Dark Gifts

Gilded Cage – Book 1 (review here)

Tarnished City – Book 2

Bright Ruin – Book 3 (no expected publication date)

Where you can find Tarnished City: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

A corrupted city. A dark dream of power.

Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own.

New alliances and old feuds will remake the nation, leaving Abi and Luke questioning everything – and everyone – they know. And as Silyen Jardine hungers for the forgotten Skill of the legendary Wonder King, the country’s darkest hour approaches. Freedom and knowledge both come at a cost. So who will pay the price? 

Trigger Warning: reference to rape

Continue reading “Tarnished City (Dark Gifts: Book 2) by Vic James”

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts: Book 1) by Vic James

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts Book 1) by [James, Vic]

Title: Gilded Cage

Author: Vic James

Publisher: Random House Publishing – Ballantine

Date of publication: February 14th, 2017

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

POV: Alternate 3rd person

Number of pages: 368

Series: Dark Gifts

Gilded Cage – Book 1

Tarnished City – Book 2 (publication date not stated on Goodreads)

Bright Ruin – Book 3 (publication date not stated on Goodreads)

Standalone: Yes

Where you can find this book: Amazon

Goodreads synopsis:

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?

My review:

Gilded Cage starts off with a young woman, Leah, running for her life across the ground of the estate she was a slave too…Kyneston. She is hoping to make it to the wall before Gavar and Jenner do. She has her baby, Liberty (aka Libby) with her and she is hoping that Libby would be able to open the gate so they could escape. It doesn’t happen. Libby doesn’t have the Skill to open the gate. Or as Silyen, the youngest and the most Skilled of the 3 brothers said, maybe she doesn’t want to leave her family.  It doesn’t really matter anyway because before Leah could do anything else, Gavar shoots Leah. Miraculously, Libby isn’t hurt and Gavar takes her back to the house….leaving Jenner to mourn over Leah. Jenner does try to get Silyen to heal her but he won’t…saying that even he can’t bring back the dead. As they are talking, Leah dies.

A few months later, we are introduced to Abi, Luke, Daisy, and their mother and father.  Luke is the equivalent of a junior in high school and Abi, a senior. Their little sister, Daisy, is 10 years old. Luke is studying for his final exams when he notices a strange man looking at his father’s restored Austin-Healey. The man unnerves Luke, for some reason, and is quickly on his way after seeing that Daisy is celebrating her 10th birthday.

Later that night, Luke overhears something horrific. His mother and father have decided to enact their slave days. See, in this dystopian society, all commoners are supposed to serve the Equals, those who have the Skill and rule over the country, for 10 years. What is Skill….well consider it magic of a sort. The Equals can do anything with it…including healing, mind reading and building houses or maintaining a gate that only opens for the Equals. They are sent to a slave town (called Millmoor) to serve out their 10 years. After the 10 years are over, the commoners can hold certain jobs (never went into in the book), own a house and travel abroad.

So it is understandable that Luke is upset. He is losing 10 years of his life and Daisy, who is 10, will not be able to receive any education during the 10 years. Luke would be missing out on college, girls and the start of his life. I would be upset too.

But Abi had come up with a solution. She applied, for the family, at a department within the Labor Allocation Bureau called Estate Services. That is where the Equals go for their house slaves. Her application got accepted and they are being sent to serve the Jardine family on the estate of Kyneston. Seeing that Luke is under the age of 18, he goes with his family. It is the perfect solution to something that is dreaded in the lives of the common people.

Except it didn’t go that way. The day that they are being picked up by the LAB person to be driven to Kyneston, things change. The driver only has 4 names written: Mum, Dad, Daisy, and Abi. Luke, unfortunately, gets sent to Millmoor. Which is unheard of because he is a minor. The officer, who was an idiot and I didn’t like him at all, and Luke’s Dad gets into a scuffle. Dad gets a beat down and the officer, Kessler, explains that they are all nonpeople and have no rights. They all separate and then the story goes into Luke at Millmoor, Gavar at Kyneston and various areas, Silyen at Kyneston and Abi at Kyneston.

I couldn’t put my finger on how I felt about Silyen. He had an agenda and he wasn’t afraid to use people to get desired results. But I also saw glimpses of a kind person and of someone who could be more than what he was raised to be. If that makes sense.

Gavar did redeem himself in the book. I did feel bad for him because his father had an ironclad grip on him. It came out that he was in love with Leah but his father made him shoot her. Which is awful. But his father’s control over him was slipping. Gavar reminded me of an abused dog who is just waiting for its master to not be paying attention before tearing his throat out. I also feel that his fiancé will be caught up in that once Gavar snaps. But he does have a soft side. He loves his daughter and he is very taken with Daisy, who is Libby’s nurse and I believe that he would move heaven and earth to protect both of them. It is going to be very interesting to see how Silyen and Gavar’s storylines end up in the other books.

Jenner was actually my favorite brother. He is Skillless but he is an asset to the estate and runs it. He is close to Silyen (well as close as Silyen lets him be) and he is getting very close to Abi. So close that Jenner’s mother, Lady Thalia, reminds him that he is an Equal (even if he doesn’t have powers) and that she is a slave and warns him off her.

Daisy had to have been my favorite person in the book. She was so upbeat and always saw the bright side of everything. She even liked Gavar, which kinda blew my mind. To be caring for a baby at her age was amazing (now granted Gavar did most of the caring for Libby when he was home and Daisy was just there as a babysitter) but still. She matured over the course of the book and I can’t wait to see where the author takes her character in book 2

I honestly didn’t know what to think of Abi. At times I liked her, at times I wanted to tell her to shut up and at other times I was in awe over her braveness. I am very interested to see what happens to her in book 2.

I felt awful for Luke. Being ripped from his family, put into an awful slave town and being worked to the bone, no wonder he became radicalized. His friendship with Renie, a girl his sister’s age, was very cute but at the same time dangerous. The events after was reunited with his family were beyond his control. I am very interested in what happens to him. Very interested.

Lord Whittman Jaradine, Gavar, Jenner and Silyen’s father, is a bad, bad, bad man. I literally got the chills when I was reading his scenes because his evilness just came off the pages. Again, a storyline that I would be very interested in seeing where it goes. I am also interested in seeing what happens between him and Gavar.

The end of the book ends as a cliffhanger, which made me want to yell. If you have read my reviews for any length of time, then you all know how I feel about cliffhangers. But, it did get me interested in book 2 (which I didn’t know there was going to be one until I pulled Gilded Cage up on Goodreads).

How many stars will I give Gilded Cage: 4

Why: A great dystopian book. This was a quick read with complex characters. I can’t wait to read book 2!!

Will I reread: Yes

Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes

Age Range: Teen

Why: No sex, no language. But there is violence…including a graphic scene of a head being blown off. Also, there is a disturbing side story about a man forced to live like a dog.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**