Title: Bright, Ruined Things
Author: Samantha Cohoe
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: February 15th, 2022
Forbidden magic, a family secret, and a night to reveal it all…
The only life Mae has ever known is on the island, living on the charity of the wealthy Prosper family who control the magic on the island and the spirits who inhabit it. Mae longs for magic of her own and to have a place among the Prosper family, where her best friend, Coco, will see her as an equal, and her crush, Miles, will finally see her. Now that she’s eighteen, Mae knows her time with the Prospers may soon come to an end.
But tonight is First Night, when the Prospers and their high-society friends return to the island to celebrate the night Lord Prosper first harnessed the island’s magic and started producing aether – a magical fuel source that has revolutionized the world. With everyone returning to the island, Mae finally has the chance to go after what she’s always wanted.
When the spirits start inexplicably dying, Mae starts to realize that things aren’t what they seem. And Ivo, the reclusive, mysterious heir to the Prosper magic, may hold all the answers – including a secret about Mae’s past that she doesn’t remember. As Mae and her friends begin to unravel the mysteries of the island, and the Prospers’ magic, Mae starts to question the truth of what her world was built on.
This may be a bit surprising for those who have followed my blog for a long time as I don’t normally give any book less than a 3 star review. But, this one is deserving…
I personally did not enjoy this book as much as I believe others will. So I’ve split my review up into pros and cons below.
Pros: delightfully dark, amoral characters, fitting for spooky season, a 1920’s vibe
Cons: love triangle, amoral characters, unsatisfying ending, unexplained magic system
You’ll notice I put amoral characters in both columns. The characters were the main reason why I did not like this book, each one was irredeemable and without morals. But, this is something that a lot readers find attractive in a book – I’m just not one of them. So in an effort to stay objective I wanted to include it in both. The love triangle aspect is also just a hint of a love triangle.
The redeemable part of this book is that it is timed well for the season – it fits that dark magic, spooky vibe without being conventionally scary or thrilling. It’s a YA Fantasy set in a unique world with a magic system that is very mysterious and only available to men, so our female MC doesn’t know much about it – but wants to.
Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.
Happy reading, folks!