ARC · Ballantine Books · book review · Del Ray · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group

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**

ARC · Del Ray · Dragonfly Press · Loveswept · NetGalley · Non ARC · Random House Publishing Group · Sourcebooks Fire · St. Martin's Griffin · St. Martin's Press · Text Publishing · The Wild Rose Press

Weekly Wrap Up: September 16th through September 22nd

Books I’ve Read (clicking on the picture will bring you to Goodreads page):

Mr. Nice Guy

The Christmas Wishing Tree (Eternity Springs, #15)

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

Our Life in the Forest

Swagger (Milwaukee Dragons, #2)

 

Christmas on Mistletoe Lane

I Hate You, I Love You

Books I’ve Reviewed (clicking on pictures will bring you to the Amazon page):

Bright Ruin—review coming October 9th, 2018

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

Our Life in the Forest—review coming October 25th, 2018

Our Life in the Forest

Swagger—review here

Swagger (Milwaukee Dragons, #2)

Christmas on Mistletoe Lane—review coming September 25th, 2018

Christmas on Mistletoe Lane

I Hate You, I Love You—review coming October 9th, 2018

I Hate You, I Love You

In the Mood Fur Love—review coming October 2nd

In the Mood Fur Love

NetGalley Haul(clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

After the Fire

Dragonfire (Dark Kings, #14)

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke (The Cavensham Heiresses #4)

Email Request (clicking on the picture will bring you to the Goodreads page):

Lakes of Mars

Exposed Fury

Dragon's Shadow

An Unlikely Setup (Welcome to Otter Tail Book 1)

Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Music Monday

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Foodie Friday

Freebie Sunday

ARC · Ballantine Books · book review · Crooked Lane Books · Del Ray · NetGalley · St. Martin's Paperbacks · St. Martin's Press

WWW Wednesday: September 19th, 2018

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What’s going on with me this past week:

Unlike the eastern part of North Carolina, my area didn’t get hit that hard by Florence. We had some branches down and rain. Which I am thankful for. Week 3 progress reports are coming home. Miss B is not doing that well in ELA or Science. Mr. Z seems to be doing well in his classes. Miss R is enjoying preschool. They had a field trip to an apple orchard yesterday and she came home with a bag of apples. This weekend, we have comic con. It was supposed to be last weekend but Florence happened. So it was rescheduled for this weekend. I can’t wait to go.

Reading wise, I surprised myself. I ended up finishing all of my What I’m Reading Next and wrote reviews for them. Go me!!!


What I am currently reading:

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

click on the picture for Amazon link

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.


 

 

What I finished reading:

Our Life in the Forest

Click on the picture for Amazon link

In the near future, a woman is writing in the depths of a forest. She’s cold. Her body is falling apart, as is the world around her. She’s lost the use of one eye; she’s down to one kidney, one lung. Before, in the city, she was a psychotherapist, treating patients who had suffered trauma, in particular, a man, “the clicker”. Every two weeks, she traveled out to the Rest Centre, to visit her “half”, Marie, her spitting image, who lay in an induced coma, her body parts available whenever the woman needed them.

As a form of resistance against the terror in the city, the woman flees, along with other fugitives and their halves. But life in the forest is disturbing too—the reanimated halves are behaving like uninhibited adolescents. And when she sees a shocking image of herself on video, are her worst fears confirmed?

Our Life in the Forest, written in her inimitable concise, vivid prose recalls Darrieusecq’s brilliant debut, Pig Tales. A dystopian tale in the vein of Never Let Me Go, this is a clever novel of chilling suspense that challenges our ideas about the future, about organ-trafficking, about identity, clones, and the place of the individual in a surveillance state.


 

 

What I am reading next (click on the pictures for Amazon links):

The Christmas Wishing Tree (Eternity Springs, #15)Mr. Nice GuyA Spark of LightThe Hangman's Secret (Victorian Mystery, #3)The Rain Watcher

 


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

ARC · book review · Loveswept · NetGalley · Random House Publishing Group · St. Martin's Press

WWW Wednesday: September 12th, 2018

IMG_1384-0

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


What’s going on with me this past week:

One word: Florence. Even though I live northwest of Charlotte, NC, we are still going to get hammered. It is estimated that we are going to get 5-10 inches of rain and wind. Which will lead to flash flooding/landslides. So we have been doing prep. My yard is the cleanest it has been in a couple of months. After I pick Miss R up from preschool, we are putting everything under the house or under the deck. Other than that, this week has been pretty good. No sick kids and I am over the cold that was shared with me. So, if you don’t hear from me for a while (ie no blog posts), its because I have no power and am riding out the storm!!


What I am currently reading:

Drawn to the Marquess (Imperfect Lords, #2)

click on the picture for Amazon link

Destined to go blind, a rake sets his sights on the toast of society, lighting a fire of passion that scorches the night, in this captivating novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans.

Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.

I started Drawn to the Marquess at supper last night. So far, I am liking the story. It is a little cliched but hey, it’s all good. Still a good read. Drawn to the Marquess is available now for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review within the next couple of days (if I can)


What I finished reading:

The Ancient Nine

Click on the picture for Amazon link

“Pulls you into the depths of a secret world from the first page. Ian Smith’s novel is unmissable.” —Harlan Coben, author of Missing You

Cambridge, Massachusetts, Fall 1988

Spenser Collins
An unlikely Harvard prospect, smart and athletic, strapped for cash, determined to succeed. Calls his mother—who raised him on her own in Chicago—every week.

Dalton Winthrop
A white-shoe legacy at Harvard, he’s just the most recent in a string of moneyed, privileged Winthrop men in Cambridge. He’s got the ease—and the deep knowledge—that come from belonging.

These two find enough common ground to become friends, cementing their bond when Spenser is “punched” to join the Delphic Club, one of the most exclusive of Harvard’s famous all-male final clubs. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Delphic has had titans of industry, Hollywood legends, heads of state, and power brokers among its members.

Dalton Winthrop knows firsthand that the Delphic doesn’t offer memberships to just anyone. His great-uncle is one of their oldest living members, and Dalton grew up on stories of the club’s rituals. But why is his uncle so cryptic about the Ancient Nine, a shadowy group of alums whose identities are unknown and whose power is absolute? They protect the Delphic’s darkest and oldest secrets—including what happened to a student who sneaked into the club’s stately brick mansion in 1927 and was never seen again.

Dalton steers Spenser into deeper and deeper recesses of the club, and beyond, to try to make sense of what they think they may be seeing. But with each scrap of information they get from an octogenarian Crimson graduate, a crumbling newspaper in the library’s archives, or one of Harvard’s most famous and heavily guarded historical books, a fresh complication trips them up. The more the friends investigate, the more questions they unearth, tangling the story of the club, the disappearance, and the Ancient Nine, until they realize their own lives are in danger.

I liked The Ancient Nine up until the end. I was not expecting what happened to happen. Other than that, this was a good, but slow, read. The Ancient Nine is available for preorder. Publication date is September 18, 2018, and my review will be published September 24th (as part of the blog tour).


What I am reading next (click on the pictures for Amazon links):

In the Mood Fur LoveI Hate You, I Love YouChristmas on Mistletoe LaneSwagger (Milwaukee Dragons, #2)Our Life in the ForestBright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

In the Mood Fur Love: I like romances. I like shifters. I like shifter romances. But, I don’t like to review anthologies. So, we’ll see how much I like this book. In the Mood Fur Love is available for pre-order. Expected publication date is October 2nd. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

I Hate You, I Love You: This looks like a fun book. I love reading hate to love romances. I have high hopes for this book. I Hate You, I Love You is available for pre-order. Expected publication date is October 9th, 2018. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Christmas on Mistletoe Lane: I love me some Annie Rains. So when I saw that she had another book for review, I jumped on it. Christmas on Mistletoe Lane is available for pre-order. Expected publication date is September 25th, 2018. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Swagger: I have reviewed some of Liz Lincoln’s books before. I also reviewed the first book in this series. But, I am not sure if I am going to like it. Guess I’m going to have to read it to find out!! Swagger is currently available for purchase. Be on the lookout for my review at some point in the next couple of weeks.

Our Life in the Forest: I was intrigued by the blurb of this book. I have had this on my TBR shelf for a while and I am eager to read it. Our Life in the Forest is currently out of print but keep checking Amazon if you want to buy it. It has limited availability. Be on the lookout for my review within the next couple of weeks.

Bright Ruin: I am very excited to be reading this book. I have read the previous Dark Gifts books and I need to know how this series made out. Bright Ruin is available for pre-order. Expected publication date is October 9th, 2018. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

book review

Weekly Wrap Up (6-24-18 to 7-1-18)

Books I’ve Read

The Dream Daughter

I Think I Love You (Oxford, #5)

Jilliand

Inconclusive Evidence

Rough Ride (True Brothers MC, #4)

Books I’ve Reviewed

The Sweetest Oblivion

The Sweetest Oblivion (Made #1)

Every Time You Go Away (review coming July 25th, 2018)

Every Time You Go Away

Broken Promise

Broken Promise (Sons of Broad #3)

Visionaries

Visionaries (Mud, Rocks and Trees, #5)

Before and Again

Before and Again

One for the Rogue

One for the Rogue (Studies in Scandal, #4)

Malevolent Sadness

Malevolent Sadness: A Paranormal Suspense Thriller

NetGalley Haul

Bright Ruin (Dark Gifts #3)

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels, #6)

Email Requests

None

Weekly Posts:

WWW Wednesday

Throwback Thursday

Weekly Wrap Up

book review · NetGalley

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

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts, #1)

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 anyways 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 non people 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 the 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 about 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**