Bright Ruin by Vic James

Bright Ruin book cover
Rating 8.5/10
A very intricate and fast-paced story, a hard-hitting tragedy that keeps you guessing

Bright Ruin is the last book in The Dark Gifts Trilogy, which is sad in itself as all three books are gripping in their own ways, and this being the last one, every page was read with trepidation about who would survive this story and would the ending be worthy of the characters that we were rooting for. There may be spoilers for the previous two novels ahead, so if you haven’t read Gilded Cage, or Tarnished City yet, please do not read on.

Bright Ruin, goes deeper into the pre-history of this world, as Silyen’s quest to find out more about The Wonder King, brings them closer to the truth about Skill, but will what they find out be useful to change the future of this Britain? Silyen and Luke’s growing friendship is interesting in itself as Luke has to learn to tolerate Silyen who he still isn’t sure is trustworthy, whilst Silyen has to learn that just because he is smarter and more skilful than anyone around him, he doesn’t have to do it alone.

My favourite parts of Bright Ruin, are how each character is given their chance to shine. There is a lot of plotting between characters throughout this novel, which also leads to quite a few double-crosses which allows for some characters to really feel like they are moving pieces on a chessboard. Horrible actions take place, as well as strategic betrayals and new allegiances form, as the power struggle between Bouda and Gavar’s father. The past and the future are starting to connect, which threatens to change the world that these characters know.

Abi has to learn to trust herself rather than always being swept up by events, she becomes active rather than reactive as she struggles to piece her family back together. Abi continues to learn that actions have consequences as she takes on more responsibilities in the growing rebellion. The rebellion itself discovers that even though they are trying to make the world a better place, propaganda is always in the hands of the ruling power and they can make the truth whatever suits them.

Gavar finally opens his eyes and sees that the world is far more complicated than he had previously believed. Gavar facing reality knows that he needs to take risks that put him at odds with not only his family and the leading Skilled of the country, but will set him on a course that could ultimately hurt the one person he truly loves. It is interesting to see that both Silyen and Gavar come into their own in this novel especially Gavar who is the in the earlier parts of the trilogy seen as a bully and someone who likes to hurt people. Whilst Jenner, who was the more sympathetic of the brothers, ends up as the most repulsive as he strives for power that he doesn’t have.

Bright Ruin is a very intricate and fast-paced story that never feels rushed or overlong. This story is a hard-hitting tragedy that keeps you guessing as to whether the main characters will succeed in their goals of making their country a level playing field. All in all, I would recommend reading this trilogy, as it is a timely reminder that change can come from many directions, but it is always something that has to be worked at, as it will never be freely given.

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