Thanks to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 26th, 2021
Synopsis: ‘A deftly-plotted tale about ambition and belonging, Bright Ruined Things takes Shakespeare’s The Tempest and brilliantly reimagines its themes of family and love. Cohoe writes with a magic that dazzles and cuts right to the core.’ – Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
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.
In this YA fantasy, Samantha Cohoe wonderfully mixes magic and an atmospheric historical setting into a fantastically immersive world, with characters you won’t be able to forget.
Bright Ruined Things is an imaginative retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, cleverly combined with a page-turning mystery/thriller, that had me on the edge of my seat almost the entire time I was reading. Although it’s set in the 1920s, you don’t really see much of the time period except for one party that could have been taken from The Great Gatsby, so I was slightly disappointed about that. I also didn’t exactly like Mae, but I did find her extremely interesting. She’s flawed and very complicated as are most of the characters, and it was entertaining to find out their backstories and watch how they interact with each other. If you think you’ll know what happens because you’ve read The Tempest, think again, because Cohoe includes plenty of twists in here to keep readers guessing. Bright Ruined Things is a unique, action-packed retelling full of Shakespeare-esque drama, double-dealing, and mysterious intrigue that I believe will hold a wide audience of readers spellbound.