I received this book for free from a giveaway, the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe
Published by Wednesday Books on February 15, 2022
Genres: YA Historical Fiction, YA LGBTQ, YA Magical Realism
Source: a giveaway, the publisher
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble
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…
This story took place over one day basically. So we have to get all our history and background info filled in as the day goes by. The author did that perfectly! While the magic parts were a little fuzzy and not completely filled in, even by the end, it worked enough to make the story not be too concentrated on that, and more on the characters and the world around them.
I’ve personally never read Shakespeare’s The Tempest, so I am not able to compare to that. But I liked the storyline, have seen it or read similar in other books. All the characters had qualities to them that made them stand out on their own. They each fulfilled their needed roles in the story as well.
The crush Mae had on Miles made sense, but I would have thought she would have had some feelings for Ivo as well, even with the blow up that had made them not talking to each other at the beginning of the story. It was easy to see Mae finally realizing the things that others thought about her were true, or that she had only made their beliefs stronger by worrying about pleasing them and keeping them happy. When she finally took a stand, or at least made plans based on what she learned and what were towards her own personal goals, I definitely cheered for her. Yeah, maybe they weren’t the best idea, and a little selfish, but she deserved to think of herself after all she’d put up with and to take care of herself in the future.
I enjoyed the epilogue to see just how things would go after the way they left the island at the end of that First Night that the main story took place over. Another great book to add to my school library!