"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.
Employing a fittingly whirlwind pace, Cohoe (A Golden Fury) retells The Tempest with glints of The Great Gatsby. Eighteen-year-old Mae has lived all her life in the private island mansion of the magician Lord Prosper, who has bound spirits with "shimmering, translucent bodies" to serve his glamorous family. Though she's found friendship with two of Lord Prosper's grandchildren devil-may-care Coco and crush-worthy, brooding Miles Mae's presence (her late father was the mansion's steward) is otherwise barely tolerated; she's referred to as "Mousy Mae." When the family (human characters read as white) gathers for First Night, the yearly commemoration of Lord Prosper's harnessing the island's magic, Mae's dreams of the perfect evening turn into a maelstrom of betrayals and horrors, leaving her torn between the magic she's always coveted and the realization of its cost. Epiphanies come fast and furious the main action unfolds in 24 hours via Mae's melodramatic, self-serious narration in a novel whose sumptuous setting alongside the careless, magical rich proffers undeniable pleasures. Ages 13 up. Agent: Bridget Smith, Jabberwocky Literary.