Hello humans! Today I am utterly delighted to be reviewing the final book in Vic James’ Dark Gifts trilogy. Gilded Cage was one of the earlier books I reviewed on this blogging journey and I can remember how excited I was to be approved to read Tarnished City so drawing it to a close is heart-wrenching in more ways than one. These books are such a wonderful example of what I love in this genre and I am delighted to share my thoughts on the final book.
There may be spoilers for books one and two in this review but it will be spoiler free for Bright Ruin.
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.
Content warning: Gore, Torture (mention of), Violence (there are more so please do ask if you have any questions).
This book is complicated. Scratch that, this series is complicated. Vic James takes the idea of a multiple POV and then adds in all the politics and backstabbing and double-crossing you can possibly imagine. I rarely knew from one page to the next who I trusted and who was fighting for who (or what) – and I totally loved every second of it. This won’t suit every reader and I know some people like things to be a little clearer but I just adore being surprised and this series surprised me.
It’s hard to pin down exactly what I loved about this book. I think in part it’s the pacing? The use of multiple POV is ideal for this as you must keep reading to find out what happens to one character, which then gets you hooked on the story of another, it makes for a compelling read. I also found that the balance between action and the quieter moments was well done.
Another thing that this story does well is that, even if you can’t quite keep a handle on who anyone is allied with, the motivations of individual characters is clear. I’ve (almost) always found it to be true that if you understand what motivates a character you will, therefore, be able to understand them and relate to them, even if you don’t agree with them. For example, I dislike Bouda’s actions in this story, can’t stand the woman, but I understand her, I get why she does the things she does and it is for that reason that I still like her as a character and I like the part she plays within this story.
I was rooting for a happy ending to this series even though I knew I was unlikely to get one. What I did get was a powerful, action-packed, surprisingly hopeful story that had a few elements that I don’t think I would have predicted at the start of this story. Back when I read Gilded Cage I compared it to The Hunger Games but two books on the two series are so disparate that comparison doesn’t work at all. This is a different kind of revolution, more focussed on events that happen around the main characters, events that they may help to create but they aren’t chosen ones or leaders, just people.
For fans of this series, I have no doubt that this book will break your heart. For those with a passing interest, this is a strong YA book that will entertain you. Concluding trilogies is always a tricky task, to pull together the hundreds of threads of character, politics, mythology, magic and more into this final ‘knot’ was something I wouldn’t have thought possible. But here we are at the end of the series.
My rating: 5/5 stars
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? Are you excited to read the end of this trilogy? Let me know in the comments below!