Tarnished City, Vic James Book Review

Hello humans! I’m back with a book review that has been a long time coming and I am so excited I got to read this book now because I simply couldn’t wait until publication day! Vic James’ debut novel Gilded Cage captured the interests of a lot of people, myself included and her gift at leaving us all with a cliffhanger ending meant that I’ve spent the last six months desperate to read the sequel. I finally got the chance to do so and I’m excited to share my (spoiler free) review with you!

Goodreads Summary:

In a modern Britain where magic users control wealth, politics—and you—an uprising has been crushed. In its aftermath, two families will determine the country’s fate. The ruthless Jardines make a play for ultimate power. And the Hadleys, once an ordinary family, must find the extraordinary strength to fight back.

Abi Hadley is a fugitive. Her brother Luke, a prisoner. Both will discover that in the darkest places, the human spirit shines brightest.

While amid his family’s intrigues, Silyen Jardine dreams of lost powers from an earlier age. As blood runs in the streets of London, they will all discover whether love and courage can ever be stronger than tyranny.

What I think these books do incredibly well is their exploration of human nature. It was certainly a theme in Gilded Cage and it becomes even more important in Tarnished City. The idea of complacency is also important and ties in with that issue. These would actually make excellent books to read alongside an ethics course or something. What concerns me is how they are becoming increasingly similar to real life (that’s more of a critique of real life as opposed to the fantasy realm).

But enough pontificating. You want to know what the book is like! It’s similar to Gilded Cage as you follow the same characters with each chapter following a different person, often ending on a cliffhanger that makes you need to read the next few chapters very quickly so you can find out what on earth happens to them!

One thing I loved about this book was that, with the characters headed off in different directions (as they were at the end of book #1 so that’s not a spoiler) you get a much wider understanding of the world, the culture, history and geography included. I hope this continues into book #3 because I am thoroughly enjoying how well thought out the world Vic James has built is.

The last thing I’ll say is that this book is unpredictable. I’ve been reading a number of books lately that felt like YA fantasy mad libs (now there’s a blog post) and this story just isn’t obvious. The characters change their opinions and their allegiances and you’re forced to stay on your toes throughout or you might miss something important. It reminds me of early GOT when it was suddenly clear that you couldn’t rely on a character throughout the book staying moral or even alive.

Vic James has done it again. A marvellous addition to this series and one that only enhances how good the first one was. I cannot wait for book #3. No I mean it. I can’t wait. Can I request a review copy now?

My rating: 5/5 stars

Tarnished City releases on the 7th of September so you can order it now and read it oh so soon. The wait is over!

By the way, I received a digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? Did you love Gilded Cage? Excited for book two. Already counting down to book three? Let me know in the comments below!


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