Cover Image: Bright Ruined Things

Bright Ruined Things

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Member Reviews

Bright Ruined Things originally caught my eye because of references to The Tempest and The Great Gatsby. Since either one of those alone would make me want to read a book, I immediately added this one to my TBR. Unfortunately, while I liked the general vibes of the book, this one fell a bit flat for me. 

While the world was vibrant, beautiful, and flashy, it wasn’t fully developed. The world-building (particularly around the magic system) was disappointing. The characters were interesting, but felt a bit like caricatures. And finally, since the romance wasn’t shown, there was a relatively low emotional payout. 

However, I think a lot of my feelings about this book would be different if I had read it as a teenager. So while I would have loved it then, I just tend to want a bit more depth from my novels now.
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The book was very flat and I could not get into this story or really care about any of the characters at all. There were no even remotely likeable characters, and that generally makes it hard for me to get invested in a book. While it did read historical but had it not explicitly said it was supposed to be set in the 1920s, I wouldn't have known. As a standalone book it is kind of average. It's OK. Not bad, but it's pretty unlikely I will recommend it.
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Thank you net galley for the advance reader copy of this novel.   I did not finish this novel.  The character, plot, and writing style were not for me.
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BRIGHT RUINED THINGS is a great young adult read. Though I wasn't as captivated as others, I believe that the plot and the characters will enthrall a teenage reader.
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I cannot wait to get this text in front of my students. Bright Ruined things is deeply immersive, and a fully atmospheric experience that is sure to enrapture readers. 

"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 island’s magic and its spirits. 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.

But tonight is First Night, when the Prospers and their high-society friends 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 realizes 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. As Mae and her friends 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 setting into a fantastically immersive world, with characters you won’t be able to forget.
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This is a pretty fast paced story that only took me a few hours to get through, and while it kept me interested enough to want to see what was going to happen next, and how everything was going to come together.. Out of all the characters the only that I really like was Ivo. I really wanted more of him, and to see what could happen between him and Mae... If she wasn't besotted with Miles.. The magic system was very interesting, and i really loved the setting of the island.

he whole Prospero family seemed only to have use for Mae when they need her for a specific reason. She wasn't really a servant or part of the family, but she did what ever she could to keep them happy with her for fear they would ship her off the island. The only home she has ever known.
In the beginning of the story Mae is definitely more of a doormat to the Prospero family, but towards the middle she really starts to realize where she falls in the family and starts to begin standing up for herself and questioning everyones motives. However this leads her to make some very hasty assumptions and decisions that end up making her act like a jerk. Thankfully towards the end she comes to her senses and realizes what a horrible mistake she almost made.
I really liked the way it ended, once the action started it was nonstop until we hit the finish line. Mae really finds herself and that she doesn't need the Prospero's to survive, she can and does land on her feet and can take care of herself... and with the way it ended I can still have some hope that a certain someone actually survived the destruction that Mae and a few others left behind.
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I loved Samantha Cohoe's first book A Golden Fury, so I was super excited for this book. Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me. I really love the writing, but the plot didn't resonate with me. I think this is a me thing. YA books just aren't doing it for me anymore, and this book fell into that category. But I think YA fans would really love this book and it's themes.
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Yes to a Shakespearean retelling! Cohoe does an amazing job rewriting The Tempest to have the same drama as the play but with an updated cast of characters. Her character development is strong and the tension throughout the novel is so much fun because (especially if you don't know the play) it's not clear who we should or shouldn't like. I'd love to read more from Cohoe in the future.
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Full review to be posted soonish.

I would like to thank the publisher and netgalley for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe is a standalone young adult historical fantasy novel. The story in Bright Ruined Things is a retelling of Shakespeare’s classic play of The Tempest set in a magical world. The story was a little all over the place but I loved the ending and how everything tied together.
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-I was very bored
-Interesting plot; but I don’t think it was executed well
-Couldn’t connect with the characters
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This story is a fun read for anyone who likes magic, fantastical worlds and finds themselves wondering what it means to belong somewhere. The plot of the story moves along at a great pace and the story overall didnt feel slow. I recommend this book to  anyone looking for a weekend read where you will be transported to another magical land.
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I have no feedback to give as I never got a chance to read this book. It archived just a few days after I got it
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Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Wednesday Books for a copy of this book. All opinions in this review are my own.

I am such a sucker for retellings, and retellings of Shakespeare are some of my favorites (outside of fairytales). The tagline for this book is "Forbidden magic, a family secret, and a night to reveal it all..." and it seems like there are a few different reviews that state it is a reimagining of The Tempest. While I am not as familiar with the ins and outs of Tempest, from what I do know about it, this book does follow a lot of the beats really closely.

I did enjoy this book, but it was not, in my opinion, a happy book. I don't consider Tempest to be one of the tragedies, and I think it is classified as a romance? it was one of his comedies, but I have also seen it classified as a tragicomedy, but this book read as a complete tragedy to me. I don't know if that is just what I consider to be tragic things, and not what the literary definition of tragedy is, but there was just sadness, and eventual death, this whole book. I kept waiting for some of the romance between some of the main characters but it just wasn't happening. This was written incredibly well, filled with details & magic, really bringing you into the story, but there was just a lot of information all at once. This is stuffed with details so it can be hard to follow if you aren't giving it 110% of your attention.

If you want a magical book that has Tempest vibes, but are willing to have a sadder/darker version, this is a fantastic book. If you want more of the romantic & magical vibes, I don't know if this is quite it.
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I’m not the biggest fantasy fan but this book is perfect for YA romance lovers!

One of the cutest books of 2022!
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I think that this book had great potential but it didn't quite make the cutoff for me. 
There was a few aspects of the book that I just didn't enjoy the book too much and it was almost something that I was disappointed by. I loved the idea of the book but sadly didn't reach what I wanted.
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2.5 stars for an interesting but ultimately somewhat disappointing read!

Bright Ruined Things caught my attention by flaunting so many things I typically adore in fantasy stories: forbidden magic, secluded locations, secrets galore and a Gatsby-esque vibe to top things off. Sadly, all of these components didn't really come together to make an compelling story.

The romance ultimately only watered down the story, and I honestly didn't care for either the love interest nor what little chemistry they had between the two of them. I actually think that Mae's dynamics with other characters on the island are far more interesting and worthy of exploration, but that sadly didn't happen. Ultimately, there was just too much going on here for any one part of the story to be fleshed out in a satisfying way, making all of them fall short. The romance wasn't incredibly engaging, the atmosphere suffered for it, and the magical island felt underdeveloped.

While I did enjoy the atmosphere and ultimately didn't have a bad time reading this book, it just felt quite lukewarm to me. I am, however, interested to see further work of the author, since this book definitely holds promise of something more.
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Honestly, this book was an overall nice, fun time. I ended up listening to the audiobook while working on some chores and misc work, and it was the perfect companion to keep my brain distracted! I think I ended up listening to this in almost a single day, it was just the perfect level of engrossing and was exactly what I needed to be, even if it won’t make any of my favorite lists!

I feel like this book got the pacing down really well, because we start at an interesting point in the story that still gives us enough time to get our bearings before the intrigue really starts picking up. Over time, secrets begin to unravel faster and faster, and it really felt like such a steady and comfortable increase that I really have to commend it! I also absolutely loved that this whole book takes place over the course of a single day. It made the story even more interesting, narratively, and it goes to show just how much can change in the span of 24 hours. It also actually managed to feel like a whole day, and was the exactly right amount of events (and again, paced perfectly!) to make it feel realistic.

I also found the plot quite intriguing (though my only experience with The Tempest so far was a single, messy reenactment in my Shakespeare class, where I honestly hadn’t the slightest what was actually going on because I was too stressed over what I had to act out next). It proves that this book stands on its own beyond its basis as a retelling, and I always really appreciate when a story is strong beyond the original tale it draws its inspiration from! 

Overall, I found myself quickly enthralled and invested in these characters, and I genuinely really enjoyed the time spent with this story! I have another of this author’s books to read, so I think I’ll get to that real soon, after how much I liked this.
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This book is amazing! I adored the way the history was told from the character's perspective. It's a unique. It realy has a beautiful writing. I can't wait to read more works of this author.
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2.5 stars

Mae lives on a magical island with the Prosper family. As their ward, Mae is on the outside and dreams of being able to learn magic like Ivo the Prosper heir.
Every year the Prospers host a party called First Night where people from the mainland come to the island to celebrate the anniversary of Lord Prosper producing aether using the island's indigenous spirits.
The First Night also means that Mae's best friend, Coco, will be returning to the island, as well as Miles, Mae's crush.
However, things start to unravel when the spirits begin to die,
What is happening to the spirits?
Will Mae be able to to stay on the island now that she is eighteen?

Mae was a mixed protagonist for me - I felt sorry for her with how she was mostly forgotten by the Prospers while most of them went off to the mainland during term time. I liked Mae's character development, but I didn't really connect with her and wasn't invested in what happened to her.
None of the characters really stood out for me, except maybe Ivo, who I would like to find out more about.
The setting of the island was interesting.
The plot was mixed for me - I found some of it to be predictable, but it also surprised me. However, I wasn't gripped.
The writing style took me a little while to get into, but it was easy to follow.
I'm disappeared that I didn't enjoy this more.

Overall, this was a mixed read.
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