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Bright Ruin

Review

Bright Ruin

Vic James’ Dark Gifts series (GILDED CAGE, TARNISHED CITY) introduces readers to a familiar yet strikingly different world, where the nations’ aristocracies rule by a set of Skills not possessed by the common people --- specifically magical Skills, which enable them to run a ruthless dictatorship disguised as a constitutional democracy in the Equal Republic of Great Britain. Their powerful Skills run the gamut from the seemingly useful weather control to the extremely sinister mind and emotional control, with every power and ability you can imagine in between.

The unSkilled commoners are all required to give up 10 years of their lives working in the Slavedays, whether it’s in brutal factory towns, for Skilled families (the Equals) on their estates, or in other positions. But the unSkilled aren’t only lacking the magical powers of the aristocracy (which is a definite disadvantage); they lack citizenship and the rights associated with it. Until, that is, they complete their Slavedays, when they finally become full citizens. If they can survive them.

"BRIGHT RUIN is a triumphant conclusion to this outstanding fantasy series. Characters who fascinated us, enthralled us and shocked us in the first two books continue to engage us in this newest fantastic read."

In the final book of the trilogy, BRIGHT RUIN, we again encounter the Jardines: Whittam, the father and ruling Chancellor of the nation; Gavar, the reckless eldest son and Heir; Silyen, the powerful and secretive youngest son who just might be a sociopath; and Jenner, the middle son, who is Skill-less. We’re also reintroduced to the Hadleys, the unSkilled family bound under the Slavedays Compact to the Jardines. Following the events at the close of TARNISHED CITY, the Hadley parents are confined in Millmoor, the brutal slave factory town. Big sister Abi and brother Luke are in hiding and on the run, while youngest sister Daisy continues as nanny to Gavar’s unSkilled baby, Libby. But a hidden revolution is brewing.

There have always been a few Equals who have been sympathetic to the plights of the unSkilled. Some of them, while working on behalf of the commoners, have lost their powers and even their lives as a result. Still, a very few have continued to endeavor to bring true equality to this dark Britain. Midsummer Zelston, an Equal with an unSkilled lover (with a baby on the way) and the ability to bring inanimate objects to life, has continued to stand with the commoners, to attempt to change the terrible status quo along with a group of unSkilled freedom fighters. But there is a traitor in their group who may be feeding information to the Equals, specifically to Whittam and his dangerous daughter-in-law, Gavar’s wife, Bouda Matravers. And neither of them is willing to relinquish their own power or the Equals’ positions of domination over Britain. But change, in ways none can expect, is coming.

Yet even apart from a traitor feeding information about the freedom movement to the Equals, the unSkilled are faced with an enormous challenge. How do you fight against people who can sense you coming, who can quiet your mind and change your own behavior against your will, who can frustrate every single thing you do? You hope for an Equal to be on your side, to even the odds. But even that may not be enough.

BRIGHT RUIN is a triumphant conclusion to this outstanding fantasy series. Characters who fascinated us, enthralled us and shocked us in the first two books continue to engage us in this newest fantastic read. It will keep you up at night until you finish it, and you’ll take a huge breath as you can’t believe the story is over. If you haven’t read the first two installments, please do so, and then jump into the finale. You’ll fly through them all as you see Britain as you’ve never imagined --- and you’ll hope against hope for the freedom that may never come.

Reviewed by Melanie Reynolds on October 12, 2018

Bright Ruin
by Vic James

  • Publication Date: October 9, 2018
  • Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN-10: 0425284182
  • ISBN-13: 9780425284186