Tarnished City
by James, Vic

A next entry in the darkly fantastical series that began with Gilded Cage finds the brother-and-sister revolutionaries confronting the possible failure of their efforts to end lower-class forced servitude at the same time the mysterious young aristocrat reveals the incredible extent of his dark gifts.

Vic James is the author of Gilded Cage, an early draft of which won a major online award from Wattpad for most-talked-about fantasy. A current-affairs TV director who loves stories in all their forms, she has covered the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Britain’s EU referendum for BBC1 and has twice judged The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize. She has lived in Rome and Tokyo, and currently lives in London.

"Your allies aren't always who you think they are-and neither are your enemies." This is the lesson learned in the second installment of the Dark Gifts trilogy, by James. Tarnished City picks up immediately after the ending of Gilded Cage (2017), the first installment, with Luke Hadley being Condemned after being convicted of a crime he didn't commit. When Luke is sent off to the deadly Condemned prison Eilean Dochais, his sister, Abi, becomes a fugitive in an effort to save him. Forming an alliance with Skilled sympathetic to the Unskilled and their plight, Abi and her crew attempt to bust Luke out. But nothing goes according to plan, and when Abi turns to the one person she trusts, their betrayal has deadly consequences. Told from a variety of both Skilled and Unskilled perspectives, this is an exciting sophomore effort by James. Full of political intrigue and a unique (if not quite fully fleshed out) magic system, the Dark Gifts trilogy will appeal to fans of Samantha Shannon's the Bone Season. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

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