MAGIC COMPELS. WE BLEED.
The captivating dystopian trilogy that began with Gilded Cage continues. In a modern Britain where magic users control wealth, politics—and you—an uprising has been crushed. In its aftermath, two families will determine the country’s fate. The ruthless Jardines make a play for ultimate power. And the Hadleys, once an ordinary family, must find the extraordinary strength to fight back.
Abi Hadley is a fugitive. Her brother, Luke, a prisoner. Both will discover that in the darkest places, the human spirit shines brightest. Meanwhile, amid his family’s intrigues, Silyen Jardine dreams of forgotten powers from an earlier age.
As blood runs in the streets of London, all three will discover whether love and courage can ever be stronger than tyranny.
How do you choose when you can’t save everyone?
Look for all three books in the mesmerizing Dark Gifts trilogy:
GILDED CAGE • TARNISHED CITY • BRIGHT RUIN
Praise for Tarnished City
“Highly recommended . . . There’s an admirable level of world-building . . . with real moments of empathy and compassion [and] a true nail-biter of a cliffhanger ending.”—Fantasy Literature
“Multifaceted complexity . . . lively, determined characters.”—Publishers Weekly
In the tangled second Dark Gifts urban fantasy (after Gilded Cage), rebels in an alternate 21st-century England struggle to regroup after being blamed for assassinating the political leader of England's "Equals," magically skilled aristocrats. Equals wield enormous power and influence, forcing the "Skilless" into brutal servitude. Abi Hadley's brother, Luke, was framed for the murder of Parliament's Chancellor Zelston. She and her parents are sentenced to live in Millmoor, one of the country's worst slavetowns. Fortunately, Abi finds sanctuary with a young Equal who supports the rebellion. Meanwhile, Luke is condemned to the pitiless custody of Lord Arailt Crovan at his remote Scottish estate. While Luke fights to keep his humanity, Abi plots to rescue him, and political intrigue challenges both rebel and Equal plans. With a wealth of dense backstory, this isn't a good entry point for new readers, but series fans will appreciate the multifaceted complexity of James's world and its lively, determined characters.
Riveting, Emotional, & Action Packed Sequel!
Vic James continues to blow me away with this series! Every time I thought I knew where things were going, a new surprise or twist would throw everything out the window. The action picks up right where book 1, Gilded Cage, left off, so readers should be aware that this is book 2 in a trilogy and is not a standalone.
There were some truly amazing and wonderful moments in this book, but there were also some horrible lows and heartbreaking losses. The overall feel of Tarnished City was darker and grittier than the previous book, which really amped up the intensity and emotion. Told in multiple POVs, we are privy to the inner thoughts, fears, and hopes of both our heroes and villains. We become painfully aware that few things are as they seem on the surface and are left questioning the true intentions of some of our characters. Unlikely heroes rise, the depth of evil will at times seem limitless, and we are forced to say goodbye too soon to some of our motley crew. I'm not going to lie, there were a few times when I was just gutted. I was barely done processing the events, when another thing would smash my heart again to bits. I think part of what left me so heartbroken, was the sheer surprise and lack of fanfare surrounding these events. No heroics or blaze of glory. Just a sudden and profound loss.
I thought the commentary on human nature and the disparity between the haves and have nots was especially moving. The entire "social experiment" at Eilean Dochais as well as the Blood Fair was disturbing to say the least. It really makes one question what humanity is capable of when they can act with impunity. Familial love and loyalty also play a huge part in this series. The love between siblings and between parent and child influence so many of the actions of our characters. Abi, Luke, and especially Gavar grew so much through the course of this book. I cannot wait to find out what's next for our characters, as new alliances are formed and bridges are burned. Highly recommend this series!
*I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this book*