Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James @DrVictoriaJames #bookreview #fantasy #YA


Title: Tarnished City

Author: Vic James

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: February 6, 2018

Page Count: 416

My rating:  3 1/2 stars

About the book:


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?


Tarnished City by Vic James is the second book in the young adult fantasy Dark Gifts series. From the title of the series to the intense book cover one should guess that this series is not all rainbows and sunshine but one that is incredibly dark and sometimes disturbing. If at all possible I think Tarnished City got a little darker than Gilded Cage if that was possible.

The series takes place in a society in which the world is ruled by Equals who are aristocrats with magical gifts. Everyone else are known as commoners and at some point during their lifetimes they have to serve the Equals for a period of ten years as their slaves. Commoners can choose to serve at any point in their lives from 10 to 80 years old.

In Gilded Cage we met a family that when the youngest child turned ten the parents decided to sign the whole family up for their slave days to be completed together. Luke’s older sister Abi has arranged for the family to work together at a plantation owned by England’s most powerful family of Equals. But upon arrival the paperwork had been messed up and Luke is shipped off to a slave town separate from the rest of his family.

Now this is a series that definitely needs to be read from the beginning of the first book as the story only continues on from where that book ended and probably wouldn’t make much sense jumping into the middle. Tarnished City however does have subtle reminders of what had been happening to remind readers where they had left off as the story picks up again.

From the very moment the series began a part of me is just so darn angry at the whole idea of forcing kids/teens into signing up for their slavery days without actually letting them voice their own choice. Of course it would have to be done but the parents were able to put it off until they had built their life together so why take that choice away from their kids?

Of course the whole society and the way it’s set up comes into play in the overall plot to the series. The point of view changes in the series between several different key characters mainly from the commoner family that had signed up and the Equals with the powers that they are involved with but now there have been more added as the story has expanded even further.

While this one does have a bit of that middle book feel as it picked up from the first and left a bit of a cliffhanger at the end to lead into the second it was still a solid addition moving the story forward. I would definitely suggest too that this one is definitely for the more mature readers as I mentioned earlier it is a extremely dark read and I’m sure will only get more intense in the next installment.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon


About the author:

Vic lives in London’s Notting Hill, but her life is more action-adventure than rom-com.

She studied History and English at Merton College, Oxford where Tolkien was once professor. Relocating to Rome, she completed her doctorate in the Vatican Secret Archives (they’re nothing like The Da Vinci Code), then spent five years living in Tokyo where she learned Japanese and worked as a journalist. She now alternates writing full time with directing documentaries for the BBC.

Vic has scuba-dived on Easter Island, camped at Everest Base Camp, voyaged on one of the last mailboats to St Helena, hang-glided across Rio de Janeiro, and swum the Hellespont from Europe to Asia. But there’s little she loves more than lying in bed till midday with a good book and a supply of her favourite biscuits.



8 Comments on “Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James @DrVictoriaJames #bookreview #fantasy #YA

  1. Pingback: Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James @DrVictoriaJames #bookreview #fantasy #YA — Carries Book Reviews | Fantasy Gift Sources: Book Reviews, Article Resources, News

    • Thanks! It’s definitely one that pretty dark for a young adult but I’d say instead of completely loving it I’m more fascinated waiting to see what will happen next.


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