Tarnished City: Dark Gifts Review

Tarnished City: Dark Gifts (Book 2)

by Vic James

A corrupted city

A dark dream of power

Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his mind. But as the Jardines tighten their grip on a turbulent Britain, brother and sister face a fight greater than their own.

New alliances and old feuds will remake the nation, leaving Abi and Luke questioning everything – and everyone – “they know. And as Silyen Jardine hungers for the forgotten Skill of an earlier age, the country’s darkest hour approaches. Freedom and knowledge both come at a cost. So who will pay the price?”

After having read Gilded Cage last year when I received the ARC, I knew I had to read the rest of the series and preordered Tarnished CIty as soon as I could. I feel that you do need to have read Gilded Cage to understand what is going on, especially with alliances and the intrigue that has already been set up.

Tarnished City picks up straight after the events of Gilded Cage, Luke has been condemned, therefore he must go with Crovan to his home in Scotland where the condemned are imprisoned. While Abi and her parents are shipped off to Millmoor and Daisy has to stay at Kyneston to look after Libby. Abi escapes custody and flees to the Isles of Scilly where Doctor Jackson (Meilyr Tresco) lives. However, things are not as they seem at Crovan’s home and the Millmoor Games Club is back together planning more mischief. In the meantime, Whittam Jardine has taken over as chancellor and is taking a very hard approach on baseborn and unSkilled people.

What I am expected to say after that… I think my heart broke. I read Tarnished City in one day, there was no chance I was putting it down, I think it may even have been better than Gilded Cage. I went through plenty of emotions, heart break, heart being put back together, being stabbed in the back, sadness, happiness, shock, horror, laughing, crying.

My favourite characters have to be Abi and Luke, they were as awesome as I remember from Gilded Cage, especially when you can still stand by our morals when thrust into such different and complex situations. Silyen went up in my estimations of him from the previous book, although I did like him then as well. I now really like Garvar, I think he was misunderstood in the first book and as we get to see some things from his point of view, we get to better understand what drives him. I also really enjoyed seeing the club again and them getting involved with more riots, but across the country this time.

I cannot pick a favourite part, there is just so much that goes on, and I loved it all, even the horrible bits. I enjoyed seeing into the Skilled world and the different ways that people are trying to do good with their moral compass, but maybe are not so good. There were plenty of twists as you did not expect some people to do what they did and there is so much plotting and intrigue that you do not know where each strand leads.

Tarnished City does end on a cliffhanger, this is because the Dark Gifts series continues in Bright Ruin (out in August).

While reading this book, I described it as a rebellion trying to build momentum while being stamped out. I would recommend this book to anyone. 5 out of 5.

Tarnished City





  • Storyline
  • Characters

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