"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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 198 members
This book reimagines the ambition and destruction of Shakespeare's The Tempest. The Prosper family has all the glitz and glamour and magic that Mae, the steward's daughter, desperately desires. But their wealth comes from the labor of spirits. Spirits produce the fuel from the wells, maintain the properties and even provide music that's constantly on the air. Best friends with one Prosper, Coco, and in love with another, Miles, Mae worries that she doesn't mean as much to them as they mean to her, and she despairs of having a permanent home on the magical island. Miles and Mae make some discoveries that lead them to believe that the magic that runs the island may not be as innocent as they're led to believe. But then Mae's offered an unexpected chance to marry the wrong Prosper and has some hard choices to make. The author creates a fascinating magical world on the island. The spoiled, selfish, troubled Prospers and desperate Mae create an explosive combination in this fast-paced drama. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance review copy of this book.
Bright Ruined Things is a 1920's take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It's such a fun and unique story that I was completely immersed in. I normally struggle with fantasy books but I loved this one. The author has the ability to completely sweep you away with her storytelling. The story isn't hard to follow and the magic is just sprinkled in throughout which just made for a dazzling tale. Bright Ruined Things is the best book I've read this year!
After enjoying Cohoe's debut last year, I was eagerly anticipating this book, even though I haven't seen The Tempest in years and remembered only the bare bones of the story. However, I didn't expect to fall so head over heels in love with this book! The world building is gripping and the storyline so well crafted I was kept guessing the whole was through. The writing style had me completely enthralled, and I was never completely sure which characters I liked and which I didn't! There was nothing predictable about this book, and that's a big part of why I loved it and felt so drawn in. I wholeheartedly recommend picking it up! I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This fantastic modern novel creatively reimagines themes from The Tempest, takes place in a Gatsby-esque era and examines the politics and power of a family-ruled island, much like the one in We Were Liars. It speaks of spirits and harnessed magic, but also of torturously real struggles, like ambition and desire, which I'm sure many readers will resonate with. I like that the protagonist is a people-pleaser, often to her detriment. Mae's desperation to be accepted by the infamous Prosper family is in turns pitiful and brave, leaving the reader in constant suspense about whether it will drive her to greater things, or to her own demise. It's a very refreshing perspective to read, and the author does a great job of exploring how dangerous it can be to want something you've been forbidden to have. None of the characters are particularly likeable (although if you're a fan of backstabbing drama, you'll love them!) but this only amplifies the tale's subtle warning about being too quick to form judgements about others. For years, the Prospers take advantage of Mae, which comes back to bite them in numerous ways. But in much the same way, Mae herself is guilty of abusing her power and viewing her peers only as means to an end. Rife with hypocrisy, irony and complexity, this novel takes place over the course of a single day, and will have you hooked from the first page to the last, and longer – I'm still thinking about the ending! If you're a fan of YA fantasy, romance and drama, look out for this one when it comes out in October.
I never have gotten the chance to read the Tempest, which this book is loosely based on, but this novel was a thrilling adventure! The female lead character is a strong, independent woman who observes everything around her, and the Prosper family is subject to her watchful eye. The magic and spirits on the island give a great atmosphere, and I was constantly turning the page (not literally since it was an Ebook but you get my point!)
This book...just wow! Absolutely no time was wasted. We got right to the action and then the end?? Then the end of the prologue??? Oh my word! I came in thinking I’d really like the book. I never knew I would end up loving it! It will definitely be my top recommendation of 2021 so far! Link for full review coming soon!!
This is the first book I have read from Samantha Cohoe and I loved it! Filled with magic and mystery, this story will grab your attention from the very beginning! I can't wait to read more from this author!
Bright Ruined Things is a brilliant retelling of The Tempest. Its artistry is impeccable. At its core is a wonderful and incredibly rich fantasy novel, so well built and fast paced that I wasn't able to put it down till I reached the end. I was absolutely captivated by the atmosphere, and the characters. This novel submerges the reader in a landscape so imaginative and detailed that the information of the world building/plot never feels forced, and is never difficult to understand or picture in one's mind. I had an enjoyable time reading this and it held my attention the entire way through that I finished it within the day! I enjoyed every page and thought that the plot/story was very unique. Would recommend to anyone!
Forbidden magic, a family secret, and a night to reveal it all... This book was spectacular! I loved this fantastical place Cohoe created! I could see everything clearly in my mind as I read, and the plot was written so well. I could connect to the characters, and the book had me wanting to read faster and faster. I loved all the magic woven into this story. Ivo and Mae were my favorite characters. A great read!
Cohoe masterfully crafts a gripping tale of ambition, love, and family through a reimagination of one of Shakespeare's underappreciated plays, Tempest. The story just cuts through your core and will leave you in a trance throughout your reading experience.
I love the 1920’s and enjoy retellings so my expectations were high and I am really happy that I wasn’t disappointed. This action packed story took place over the course of one day and night. Surprisingly, the story never dragged nor did it feel rushed. I got really involved in the storyline and if I had enough uninterrupted time, I would have finished the book in one sitting. In addition, the main and secondary characters were well developed and the growth of the main character from the beginning of the book to the epilogue felt authentic. There was an element of mystery surrounding the magic that the story revolves around and even though it was a retelling, it didn’t feel predictable. I’m happy to have a new recommendation for fans of magical fantasy.
Imagine a book with the feel of the 1920's paired with a great sci-fi/fantasy read with a hint of royalty (I'll say Downton Abbey, because that's the one I'm most familiar with). This is that book and you won't be disappointed unless you put it off and don't read it.
I like it. It’s very well-written and tightly plotted, very intricate and delightful. Such a wonderful story.
Samantha Cohoe's Tempest-inspired fantasy, Bright Ruined Things, is a glitteringly magical story. With an intriguing plot and richly drawn family of characters, which reminded me a little of Knives Out if it were a fantasy novel instead of a whodunit, this 1920s-infused take on Shakespeare's classic play made for an exciting and entertaining read. Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday books for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review!
A fascinating reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, we watch the protagonist make hard choices as she comes into her own. Once started, you won’t be able to put it down. Deliciously slow to unfold, Cohoe doles out just enough pieces of the puzzle to keep you guessing.
Bright Ruined Things, Samantha Cohoe's second book, is a sparkling, original take on The Tempest, filled with magic and mystery. I love that Bright Ruined Things, unlike so many fantasy novels, was not overburdened with heavy-handed exposition or tediously described details of a magic system, etc., in the name of worldbuilding. Its world comes into being so organically, through the eyes of a protagonist who has been enmeshed in it her whole life, someone for whom the intricacies of wealth and social class distinction are far more alien than the fact that there’s ceaseless spirit music always audible on her island. Bright Ruined Things is a fast-paced, exciting read, with intriguing characters and an absorbing plot, and one I'm sure many readers will adore! Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the advance review copy.
A phenomenal retelling of The Tempest! Bright Ruined Things is such a unique, and fun story, with immersive worldbuilding, beautifully descriptive writing, and fascinating characters. I loved the Gatsby-era setting, the magic, and the morally grey characters!