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.
I was granted eARC access to Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe via NetGalley last year, but I guess publication got delayed? My eBook copy has a different cover and my records say it was meant to be published in October 2021. Either way, it wasn’t, and then it fell to the backburner. Then I saw the audiobook offered on NetGalley, decided to take a chance, and here we are! Thank you to the publisher’s employees who approved me. My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
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About the Book
Bright Ruined Things
by Samantha Cohoe
Published 15 February 2022
Wednesday Books (St. Martin’s Press)
Page Count: 352
Published 15 February 2022
Narrator: Imani Jade Powers
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
Genre: YA Dark Fantasy, Historical Fiction
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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.
Forbidden magic, a family secret, and a night to reveal it all…
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My Rating: 4 Stars
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Intended to be a reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Temptest (one of the only major Shakespeare plays my Honours English teachers didn’t have us study in high school,) Bright Ruined Things is set on an island removed from the mundane world where magic exists, spirits can be seen, and the world is never silent. Now the spirits are dying and it’s becoming more and more clear that all is not as it seems. Can she solve the mysteries the island holds before she loses everything?
I devoured this book in a single sitting! I loved the 1920s flair to this otherwise otherworldly low fantasy with a strong element of mystery. The plot is very dramatic in a classic soap opera sort of way and just about every common romance trope makes its way into the plot, yet this isn’t a romance novel. The magic system is fascinating, the interwoven web of deception and hidden truths is very compelling, and I really enjoyed our protagonist Mae.
With that said, no other character really stood out to me, and I couldn’t even keep the men Mae was involved with separate in my mind. Which one was each young lady supposed to marry? Which one did each actually love? Which one loved each lady? Not sure!
The audiobook narration is excellent! The pacing is perfect, there was no distractingly overdone vocal pitching or put-on voices for different characters, and the sound quality was great. Although as mentioned above, I couldn’t keep the men straight, that was certainly not a failing of the narrative performance.
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Comments on “Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe – 4 Star Review”
Sounds like a book that was worth the shot. Definitely going to check it out