Title: Bright Ruin
Author: Vic James
Series: Dark Gifts, #3
Release Date: July 26th 2018
A gripping Orwellian vision of Britain, with a rebellious Hunger Games heart, Bright Ruin is the third and final title in Vic James’s electrifying Dark Gifts Trilogy, following Tarnished City.
A shattered country A world-changing magic Magically gifted aristocrats rule Britain, and the people must serve them. But rebellion now strikes at the heart of the old order. Abi has escaped public execution, thanks to an unexpected ally.
Her brother Luke is on the run with Silyen Jardine, the most mysterious aristocrat of all. And as political and magical conflicts escalate, each must decide how far they’ll go for their beliefs. Dragons clash in the skies, as two powerful women duel for the soul of Britain.
A symbol of government will blaze as it dies, and doors between worlds will open—and close forever. But the battle within human hearts will be the fiercest of all.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
After narrowly escaping the Blood Fair Abi is in hiding. The safest route for her is to leave England but she had her eyes open by Midsummer and the resistance and she can’t leave them behind even to save herself. Luke managed to escape from Crovan’s estate, now with Silyen and Dog he looking back to the beginning of the Equals power in England, searching for the Wonder King. Silyen believes the answer to his questions is somewhere in Luke’s mind, but the more they look the more questions they find.
Bright Ruin was one of my most anticipated releases of this year after the tense ending Tarnished City left the series on. Things slow down a little at the beginning of Bright Ruin; this book is split into three stories, showing us Abi’s path with the resistance, Luke and Silyen’s partnership to find the Wonder King, and Bouda and Lord Jardine’s political battle for control of England.
Midsummer believes the resistance can win through peaceful protest, but Bouda and Jardine need a formidable enemy to deliver to the people. As they try to force Abi to hand herself in Abi realises a peaceful protest is never going to work when Equals like Jardine have control over their country. Meanwhile Luke’s and Silyen’s quest takes them back to Scotland and Eilean Dochais and to a powerful Silence that has been placed over the whole of England.
There was a lot to cover in this one book and a lot to conclude in order to deliver a satisfying ending, but Vic James managed this in Bright Ruin. She built on what we’d already discovered about the world and the character development already explored and took the story places I never could have predicted. As Abi’s, Luke’s and Silyen’s, and Bouda’s and Jardine’s individual journeys are built up the answers Luke and Silyen are searching for end up shaping the intense conclusion for this book.
Luke may have started his journey in this trilogy as part of the resistance in Millmoor but he becomes part of something much bigger in Bright Ruin. There’s a connection between Luke and Silyen, one neither of them understand but which has been there ever since Silyen welcomed Luke to Kyneston. Luke is sceptical of Silyen, and doesn’t trust either him or Dog, but he makes a deal with the Equal in order to help the people he cares about.
As a character Luke has been through so much hardship and it’s shaped a lot of who he is now. He’s no longer the boy Renie found alone in Millmoor and Doc Jackson recruited but he still has a lot of the same ideals. Despite Silyen’s promise before he left Luke is very much affected by what happened to him under Crovan’s care and he wholly believes England would be better without the Slavedays, without the Equals.
Abi has been betrayed by the man she thought she loved, and after what she saw Lord Jardine set into motion at the Blood Fair she can’t leave the country like Gavar suggests, not when she could do something to help. Abi is very family orientated, she worries about her parents in Millmoor, her sister under Gavar’s care, and Luke among the condemned, but she feels the best way to keep them save is to work with the resistance to bring down the Equals for good.
The growth Abi goes through in Bright Ruin was incredibly written. She realised very quickly the fight isn’t just about her and her family and starts seeing the bigger picture. At her heart Abi is a good person, but she realises she may need to do terrible things for the overall good of the country.
The Jardine’s aren’t close, but it was interesting watching Gavar, Jenner and Silyen move further away from their father and his ideals. Gavar’s priority is his little girl, and with no Equal gifts what his father wants isn’t the best for Libby. Jenner finally has a seat on the council, but no Equal gift and he will give anything to get one. Silyen has always been more eccentric, but in Bright Ruin we finally get some answers as to what he’s been working towards over the course of the trilogy.
At this stage there’s not much to add to the world itself, instead Bright Ruin dives deeper into the past of this version of England and expands on the Equals themselves. The Wonder King Luke and Silyen are searching for is the only Equal who sat on the throne of England, and nothing is known about him other than the fact that he exists. Luke and Silyen travel into their own mindscapes and through their journey in Bright Ruin we learn more about the downfall of the non Equal monarchs and the rise of the Equals. We also learn a lot more about what Equal power is truly capable of, something many Equals now seem to have forgotten.
As the last book in the trilogy there was a lot to wrap up in Bright Ruin, I had no idea where the story was going to go or how it could all be wrapped up given the state we left everything at the end of Tarnished City. Bright Ruin has more of an open ending than a happy one, and while I was satisfied with where things ended for the characters I would love to see more from this world.
What did you think of Bright Ruin? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.