A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift--back into Black London.Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games--an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries--a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) Details

TitleA Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 23rd, 2016
PublisherTor Books
ISBN-139780765376473
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Magic, Fiction

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble. I just love everything about this world. Read it in a single day and I cannot wait for the next book.I think I'm a bit of an unintentionally picky reader when it comes to fantasy. A lot of YA fantasy is heavy on the romance and low on the substance, which irks me, but I don't take much pleasure in overlong, dense, wordy adult fantasy series either. I want exciting world-building, strong characters and good pacing that doesn't sacrifice depth. And I fee Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble. I just love everything about this world. Read it in a single day and I cannot wait for the next book.I think I'm a bit of an unintentionally picky reader when it comes to fantasy. A lot of YA fantasy is heavy on the romance and low on the substance, which irks me, but I don't take much pleasure in overlong, dense, wordy adult fantasy series either. I want exciting world-building, strong characters and good pacing that doesn't sacrifice depth. And I feel like Schwab totally gets that.The writing style is detailed and evocative - you can picture this world so easily, even though it is highly sensational, and you can feel the magic running through it. Schwab crafts scenes with both description and tension, firmly cementing her as one of my favourite fantasy authors.It is a world for those who admire imagination. Alternate Londons, some with magic and some without, magic wielders, evil rulers, pirates and - in this installment - a magical tournament called the Essen Tasch. The author uses this tournament to draw the characters together, to create action and excitement, whilst behind it all there looms a dark threat.With rich, evocative storytelling, an original, fantastically-conceived fantasy world, and colourful, weird characters, it's hard to complain. The book buzzes with magical secrets and new discoveries; like an adult version of Narnia, it is a way of walking through the wardrobe and facing all the wonderful and horrifying possibilities.I enjoyed Kell's new experiences, as he comes to term with the lasting effects of what happened in the last book. I enjoyed all the backstabbing, cross-dressing and thievery. But, most of all, I just freaking love Lila. She is the baddest badass of them all and she doesn't give a shit.A Gathering of Shadows goes deeper, drawing us further into this world and developing all the characters. It ends with a promise of more horror and action in the next book. I can't wait. After all, you can kill people, but you cannot kill magic.Not truly. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Store
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  • Victoria Schwab
    January 1, 1970
    “I know where you sleep, Bard.”She smirked. “Then you know I sleep with knives.”*It's hard to believe that A GATHERING OF SHADOWS comes out in less than three months!!!
  • Kat O'Keeffe
    January 1, 1970
    love the writing, love the world, LOVE THESE CHARACTERS. the ending hurt my soul but fortunately i have book 3 to jump into immediately.
  • Petrik
    January 1, 1970
    It’s unbelievable how I started this book with the lowest possible expectation and it still managed to disappoint me. I know this is a beloved book in the YA community, you might wanna stay away from reading this review if you’re easily offended. Seriously stay away.I think it’s better for me to start off with the parts I like about the book first, there’s only a few anyway. First, Holland, every single appearance from him made the plot and the book so much better, despite his appearance being r It’s unbelievable how I started this book with the lowest possible expectation and it still managed to disappoint me. I know this is a beloved book in the YA community, you might wanna stay away from reading this review if you’re easily offended. Seriously stay away.I think it’s better for me to start off with the parts I like about the book first, there’s only a few anyway. First, Holland, every single appearance from him made the plot and the book so much better, despite his appearance being rarer than the amount of Hinduism in my city. Second, the last 50 pages of the book were actually quite good, with some flaws but at least it’s captivating. Finally, VE Schwab's prose remained great to read as always. Holland is literally the only character that pushed me into finishing this trilogy cause I need to know more about him and his fate.Now, for all the shit, A Gathering of Shadows, where do I even begin with the problem in this one? Let’s start with an easy one first. This book is majorly afflicted with the infamous 2nd book syndrome, the first 350 pages are painful to read, pretty much a pointless filler. A cow’s opinion is better than these 350 pages and for god sake a cow’s dialogue is literally only “moo” “moo” “moo”, see how pointless that sounds? Well, that’s how the first 350 pages are. It’s about preparing for a magical arena tournament, which ended up being a huge copycat of Avatar: The Legend of Korra.The battles in the arena itself are okay at best which made reading the 350 pages of nothing completely a worthless experience. Don't get me wrong, I love slow paced books, most adult fantasy books I read are slow paced and trust me, the books I love used these pages carefully. Building character developments, slowly building relationship, explain more on the world-building aspect etc. Not spending time brooding, doing insta-love, random making out and obsessing over Delilah fucking Bard, which I’ll get into in a moment.I’m also very disappointed with how much time the characters spent on Red London, seriously there are 4 London, make use of them please. What’s the point of creating 4 London if the story is going to take place almost all the time in Red London?? What are you doing? Trying to make us see the color of apple in London? Every time the story shifted to White London (scarcely) it’s actually so much better. However, the most significant problem I had with the book lies in one and one factor only. The damn characters, especially Lila fucking Bard or Lila fucking bad or Lila fucking Bald, whatever her special damned kind is.Kell and Rhy spent all their time here fighting and whining over being saved? “WAHHH WAHHHHH YOU SAVED MEEEEE LET ME DIEEEEE BUT I WANNA LIVE AND I’M SAD WAHHH WAHHH YOU PISSED ME OFF”Dude….. kill yourself… bite your tongue, chop your head off, climb the Big Ben like you belong in the Assassin Creed and jump yourself to death, I don’t care just… stop whining over being saved. Seriously I can’t stress this enough, other than Holland I seriously just want all these characters to die. BUT none of them can compare to the ultimate Mary Sue, Delilah fucking bard, the Wonder Woman, the alien, the predator, whatever she is cause she doesn’t know too.I was led to believe the main character of this series is Kell, I was wrong. It was Lila, the narrative treated the reader as if we’re brain damaged or have short term memory. It will remind us countless times during everyone’s POV that Lila is unlike most girls. I liked her in the first book and I can’t believe how much I hated her in this installment. She’s an ultimate Mary Sue, apparently 4 months is enough to become a fluent speaker in a new language, and become a magician, from a thief. In the first book she was just a thief. In this one she’s a female Voldemort but wait… I shouldn’t call her a female because she’s one of a damned kind.Here's most dialogues around Lila in the book, featuring meMe: Hi Lila “I am one of a damned kind” Me: urmm okay? So how are yo-- “I am not most girls.” Me: …. “I am not most girls.” Me: Okay I get it you’re not most girl, you just said— “I am one of a damned kind” Me: Okay you fucking E.T I get-- “I am not most girls.” Me: Hey- “I am not most girls.” Kell walking towards me with his endless angst and frown but then, seems like a random thought appeared in his head and he said: “Lila is unlike most girls.” Me: STTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA- “I am not most girls.” Me: HHHHHHHHHPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!! “I am one of a damned kind” Drew Barrymore from the movie ‘50 First Dates’ would’ve remember Delilah fucking Bard for the endless repetition in the narrative to always remind the reader that she’s one of a kind, badass, can do shit, put Lila in a Star Wars and she’ll be the ultimate Jedi oh my lord. “She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.” Yeah, including my brain for reading your stupidity.Here’s one of the few trying so hard to be badass but idiotic dialogue. “Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.” No shit. What’s next? Everyone’s dead when they’re killed? Everyone’s alive when they have a heartbeat? You can clap if you have hands?This is a book that should’ve been condensed by at least 300 pages and it would’ve been so much better. There’s way too many useless information that wouldn’t affect anything in the main story. Plus the ending left us in a cliffhanger just when the story FINALLY about to get interesting and now I have to continue because my momma didn’t raise a quitter and I’m not about to quit now. I’ve prepared some alcohol for my next read, I hope it could be better but my expectation for the last book is minus zero.If you enjoy the book, I'm truly happy for you. I wish I could but I can't.. not for this one. Also, if you’re wondering why I’m reading this series, it’s because VE Schwab tricked me completely into thinking that this will be an adult oriented book like her ‘Vicious’ (which I love) and IT’S NOT! If I knew what I’m getting into, I wouldn't had spend any money I worked hard for into this trilogy.You can find the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
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  • emma
    January 1, 1970
    I'd like to propose a contender for the worst feeling in the world: going into a book with 100% certainty you’ll like it, and then that confidence slowlyyyyy - almost imperceptibly - fading into hatred. Especially when the average rating of said book is a four-point-f*cking-three-five.https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...But I can’t not hate this book. So much of this is nightmare scenario after nightmare scenario wrapped into one misleading synopsis. I was, quite frankly, SHOCKED by how quic I'd like to propose a contender for the worst feeling in the world: going into a book with 100% certainty you’ll like it, and then that confidence slowlyyyyy - almost imperceptibly - fading into hatred. Especially when the average rating of said book is a four-point-f*cking-three-five.https://emmareadstoomuch.wordpress.co...But I can’t not hate this book. So much of this is nightmare scenario after nightmare scenario wrapped into one misleading synopsis. I was, quite frankly, SHOCKED by how quickly universally adored author V.E. Schwab introduced the not-like-other-girls trope, which you all know I abhor. At least buy a girl dinner first, Victoria. I'll set the scene: Liiiiilaaaaa (read that in a sarcastically loving voice, please) is at a market. Literally looking at knives because she has no personality traits or sense of fun. Anyway, another stereotype on two legs the captain of her ship says, for no goddamn reason except, I presume, his own terribleness: “Most girls covet dresses.” Bad enough, right? Already enough to make me cringe hard and dock at least a star or so? IT GETS WORSE. Darling Lila’s response: “I am not most girls.” It literally cannot get any more blatant. I was so disgusted I read the scene aloud to my sister, and she shuddered.In fact, it’s kind of...strange how sexist this book is. The great thing about YA books is that a lot of them are written by feminists, but the subliminal messages here made my skin crawl. There’s not just the not-like-other-girls stuff (or, as I call it, Sexism Lite: So Quirky Ladies Who Hate Other Women Can Still Claim to be Feminist). Every. Single. Female character is judged for her appearance. Strong women are stripped of their gender identity - a couple of times, characters question whether muscular women are truly women at all. Which, like, f*ck you forever. Are you kidding me? And don’t forget the princess (from Vesk?). Her only character trait is boy-crazy. Instead of being a powerful female leader, she follows Kell around like a lovesick puppy...exactly, we are told, what she did to Rhy a couple years before. And don't forget the disapproving tone of the text when she's with any man. Subliminal slut shaming - cool! Oooh, and “She looked like the kind of girl who would point to something — or someone — and say, ‘I want one of those.’” Wow! Please tell me more about how there are kinds of girls.More fun stuff: I literally hate all of these characters. How often does that happen?! Like, don’t get me wrong, I am completely just a heartless vessel designed to carry as much bitterness and anger as possible, but usually I’m at least neutral toward somebody. Not here. We follow four-ish main characters: Alucard, Rhy, Kell and Lila. (Putting Lila last because, if you couldn’t already tell by the fury leaking through this, she is the crown jewel in my treasure trove of loathing.)The fun thing about this book is we get two - yes, two! - characters fighting for dominance over the same piece of sh*t stereotype! Yeah, Schwab had so much success with one character in that dumbass role that she went two for two in this one. I’m talking about Rhy and Alucard, and I’m talking about the YA male character archetype that I CANNOT ESCAPE. The roguish, flirty, handsome societal elite, who’s just soooooo tired of his hard-knock life of wealth and luxury and because of it can’t even stand to live up to expectations or within social bounds. Also, we’re always supposed to find these types funny, and I have never cracked a smile at one of these dumbos.I feel like I can’t goddamn escape these goons of late. They’re the Will Herondales, the what’s-his-name from Heartless (the jester guy who wore eyeliner), Adrian from Bloodlines (will I ever finish that series?), one or more of the 8000 guys from Throne of Glass (literally can’t remember). Sorry I spaced on some of the names, but there’s an epidemic of these bozos and they’re SO unmemorable. But to have TWO of the same stereotype?! In the same book?! Extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything like it (and pray I never will again).Now...Kell. There is no way on God’s great green Earth I can fill a paragraph talking about Kell. He is the most boring character to ever boring up his way through a trilogy. Does the boy have any traits? Does he have a sense of humor? Fun, maybe? No? He’s just going to grumble around for 500 pages and be in love with Lila for no reason? Okay.And...here we go. The moment I’ve been waiting for since approximately page 17 of this book. Talking about why LILA SUCKS UP A STORM. The gal’s a prime example of a really annoying factor of bad character-writing: telling and not showing. How many times are we TOLD, “Lila is smart. Lila is a quick study. Lila was born with the magical talent of the Chosen One, but maybe if we don’t use that term then you won’t notice and write about it in your reviews. Lila is brave. Lila is strong. Lila looks for trouble.” Now, compare that to how often it’s actually proven. Rarely, if ever. It’s annoying and boring and makes me want to sign V.E. Schwab up for an intro to creative writing class.But that’s not where my problems end with ol’ Lila. No, it takes a bit more than that to end up on my most-hated characters list. Lila’s an annoying, bossy brat with a death wish, an inferiority complex, and the impenetrable belief that she knows better than everyone else. She knows better than her captain: when she is so insubordinate that Alucard has to remind her “I am your captain! You are my crew,” she thinks, “The barb struck with unexpected force.” NOT A BARB, LILA. YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE. YOU ARE A PETTY THIEF ABOARD A SHIP. GET OVER YOURSELF!She does the same to the head-magicky-guy (I kind of never paid attention to the terms in this book). At one point in the last book, I guess, he told her he thought she had magic within her. Lila latches onto that and uses it as her justification for making a metric sh*t ton of bad decisions that could have extraordinarily negative impacts on her, her loved ones, and the entire goddamn world(s). When Chief Inspector Magic tries to prevent her from making one of these many dumb choices, she responds, "You told me that I had magic in me. Now you don't think I have what it takes?" Um, you’re untrained and a full-on dumbass and you want this guy who actually knows his stuff to fan your already-enormous ego and tell you you can win a huge magic tournament?And she does it again, to Kell, who knows more about her and more about the kind of magic she wants to do than ANYONE. And she’s just a total bitch to him and he’s all, “yeah ok” and kisses her stupid face. Ugh. I’m getting so angry AND putting off math homework that’s due in 37 minutes. It’s time to stop talking about Lila and try to wrap this shindig up.So much of this book is just...cliche to me. That moment when Lila is talking to the man at the mirror stall and he calls her Lila and she goes, all quasi-spook-ily, It wasn't until after I left that I realized I had never told him my name.................... or whatever? Made me GAG. And it wasn't even for anything! That guy never comes back. We never get more info, really, on the mirrors or on the shopkeeper or any of that. It's just a dumb cliche being used for a dumb cliched manner of foreshadowing. Like, omg, does she want the dark power slash thing she is entirely uneducated about?! Even though she shouldn't?? Even though the big strong experienced man warns her not to do whatever said thing is? Oh my god! I have never read anything like that before! Except, like, you know...The Winner's Kiss, Divergent, Siege and Storm, Throne of Glass, The 5th Wave, Passenger, Rebel Belle, Alice. I could definitely go on. Because that is one of my least favorite tropes that also manages to be super boring in every instance it is used. Seriously, shall I ever cease to be astounded by the untouched realms of young adult fantasy this book doth discover?And after all that, it’s not even fun. I wanted to read about a magic tournament, but it took 350 pages to get there and only lasted about 100 (generously). The rest of the book is a carbon copy of the events of the last book. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the grand cliffhanger of the book happens in the exact same way at the exact same event as the last book. It is, in other words, a snoozefest.Bottom line: clichéd, sexist, teeming with some of the worst characters I’ve ever read, misleading, repetitive, occasionally illogical, and boring. Does that sum it up? Bleh.
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  • Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
    January 1, 1970
    Reviewed by: Rabid Reads4.5 starsAuthors of series like to do this thing where they give you a first installment that while, of course, leaving unanswered questions, still manages to conclude nice and neatly.You can't wait to get your hands on the next book, but only b/c you love the story and are desperate to see what happens next. You feel safe when you finally get the next chapter. The tension that plagued you while reading the prior installment, coming ever closer as you neared the end, like Reviewed by: Rabid Reads4.5 starsAuthors of series like to do this thing where they give you a first installment that while, of course, leaving unanswered questions, still manages to conclude nice and neatly.You can't wait to get your hands on the next book, but only b/c you love the story and are desperate to see what happens next. You feel safe when you finally get the next chapter. The tension that plagued you while reading the prior installment, coming ever closer as you neared the end, like footsteps speeding up behind you, making you curse your stupidity for taking a walk alone at night in an unfamiliar city . . . That tension isn't there.You've developed a trust, a camaraderie . . . an understanding with the author.You have been duly warned.When we last left Lila and Kell, they were parting ways. We were sad, but we expected no less. After all: “I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”“Seen what?”Her smile widened. “Everything.” Kell can't go with her. He has responsibilities . . . PLUS, you know, there's that thing that happened, that thing that tied him even closer to the royal family . . . The royal family he's meant to be part of . . . The royal family that instead treats him like a commodity . . . Lemme tell you, people--it gets WORSE.Lila, on the other hand, is having the adventure she's always dreamed of. On a PIRATE ship. *coughs* I mean, privateer ship. She got her position by killing another crew member. *shakes head at Lila* Buuuuut it turned out they didn't like the fellow much anyway, so it all worked out. A little too well, actually. Lila develops a sort-of friendship with the captain. She earns the respect of the crew. Worse, she begins to feel like she herself is a true part of the crew.Can't have that. So when Captain announces his intent to return to Red London and participate in a prestigious wizards' tournament, Lila decides that she won't be going with them when next they leave.And she doesn't. But not for the reasons she anticipated. You: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?!Me: And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Things happen in A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, and those things have CONSEQUENCES. CONSEQUENCES that you will not believe until you see them for yourself. What does it mean that Kell's life is now tied to another's? What will happen now that a living being from Grey London has permanently crossed over into Red London? And what would you say if I told you that you only think you've seen chaos in White London?Last year, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC made my Best Books of 2015 list. This year, A GATHERING OF SHADOWS is already a strong contender for the #1 spot. If you have yet to check out Schwab for yourself, what are you waiting for? The woman is GENIUS. This world and the characters that populate it are one of the most unique I've encountered in ages. I love it. Even as I'm screaming at Lila to THINK before she acts. For once. Even as my heart is breaking for Kell, b/c he can longer ignore the charade of his circumstances. Even as all the Londons hover on the edge of DOOM . . . I love it. Highly recommended.My other reviews for this series: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic, #3)
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  • Kai
    January 1, 1970
    The prince shrugged. “Who needs magic when you look this good?”This book set fire to my feelings and shattered my mind. Tore my heart into pieces and stole my soul.I am officially and utterly dead.Victoria Schwab worked her magic like a genius. This book was flawless, from start to finish. From cover to characters, from plot to setting, from language to imagination. And while I thought A Darker Shade of Magic was amazing, it was only the tip of the iceberg. Nothing can compare to A Gathering of The prince shrugged. “Who needs magic when you look this good?”This book set fire to my feelings and shattered my mind. Tore my heart into pieces and stole my soul.I am officially and utterly dead.Victoria Schwab worked her magic like a genius. This book was flawless, from start to finish. From cover to characters, from plot to setting, from language to imagination. And while I thought A Darker Shade of Magic was amazing, it was only the tip of the iceberg. Nothing can compare to A Gathering of Shadows. (...well. Harry Potter can. But, I mean, please...)(view spoiler)[Now let me talk freely. Lila is a unique character but Saints she annoyed me in the end. Stubborn to a point of being stupid! But oh I am so glad for Alucards existence, or better for that HEAVENLY KISS SCENE OH MY GOD. Please, Victoria, let them share lots of private moments and make-out scenes in ADSOM #3!!! I've never been much of a shipper but these two give me everything. Rhy is one of my favourite ever characters and even if everything goes to ruins, as long as Rhy and Alucard are together in the end, I will be satisfied.But no, really, I don't know where this is going. Lila will probably save Kell, I guess. And I won't be surprised if one or more important characters end up dead. But that's as far as it goes with my guessing. What is happening to Rhy? To Kell? Red London? Grey and White London? Alucard? The King and the Queen(fuck them tho.) The other Kingdoms? I have no idea. (hide spoiler)]The ending was - minor spoiler here - a stab in the chest. A Cliffhanger. Meaning endless waiting time for the sequel. How will I survive this?Find more of my books on Instagram
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    My spoiler discussion is now up on my channel!: https://youtu.be/jTE6aTbosjUTHAT ENDING DESTROYED ME SOMEONE GIVE ME THE NEXT BOOK RIGHT NOW
  • Ben Alderson
    January 1, 1970
    THIS SERIES IS EVERYTHING TO ME..THIS SEQUEL WAS AMAZINGELEMENTAL CONTROL..YES..YES..GIVE ME MOREMOREI SAIDmorePLEASEI'm cryingi need the next book..omg
  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    January 1, 1970
    *laughs hysterically* *choking sound*Why, thank you, Victoria Schwab. Please don't mind my heart. No, really. Feel free to crush it. I don't do holding grudges. Much. 4.5 stars . Truth is, when I started A Gathering of Shadows, one of my best friend asked me if I thought she would like, and strangely, I wasn't able to answer straight away. Color me surprised. How comes this series holds such a strong grip on me and still I am hesitating when recommending it? I understood, then. These books? They *laughs hysterically* *choking sound*Why, thank you, Victoria Schwab. Please don't mind my heart. No, really. Feel free to crush it. I don't do holding grudges. Much. 4.5 stars . Truth is, when I started A Gathering of Shadows, one of my best friend asked me if I thought she would like, and strangely, I wasn't able to answer straight away. Color me surprised. How comes this series holds such a strong grip on me and still I am hesitating when recommending it? I understood, then. These books? They sneak up on you. There's honestly not that much action in the first halves of BOTH of them and yet you're never bored. You're enchanted, mesmerized like a child reading HP for the first time (YES, I'M GOING THERE), your eyes widening at the sight of this wondrous, original world served by its fascinating and real characters for whom you can't help but care deeply, including : ✔ a kickass thief who's giving strong female-lead a new name (that's Lila, by the way) : Remember my complaints about Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses? I expressed how tired I was of the beloved (GAG) pattern implying that the only reason women fought was for their families, as if women couldn't, for the life of them, be badass for the thrill of it. Lila made a liar of me. Thank you, Lila. "Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble. She'd always thought it was better than letting trouble find her, but floating in the ocean in a two-person skiff with no oars, no view of land, and no real resources save the ropes binding her wrists, she was beginning to reconsider." ✔ a loyal magician whose doubts and outbursts make you want to both smack and hug him (but mostly, hugs). Eaten by guilt, confused by his sudden thrives for darkness (am I bad to love that part?), in need to adapt to his bond with his brother, so freaking alone and caged, Kell stays one of my favorite characters because he's flawed and brave and endearing and oh, yes, often wrong. (MY FROWNING BOY!) (in redheads I trust) (←how could I NOT love him now tell me?) "You could at least pretend to be grateful.""And you couldn't have picked something a little more...I don't know...imposing?""...A bloody handprint?" retorted Rhy. "Oh, what about a glowing black eye?"Kell glowered."You're right," continued Rhy, "I should have just drawn a frowning face. But then everyone would know it's you." ✔ a deceptive Captain who may or may not be a pirate (how's this for awesome?). Okay, okay, I have to admit that he made me narrow my eyes several times at first. What? I come from a loyal bunch (frowning boy, remember?). But in the end, his character added so much wit and fun to the story that he won me. Also, that development? YES YES YES. "Alucard had shaken his head, exasperated. "The accent of a royal and the sensibilities of a thief." But Lila had only smiled. She'd said something very similar once, to Kell. Before she knew he was a royal. And a thief, for that matter." ✔ a lost prince who's endlessly trying to keep darkness at bay : Oh Rhy, Rhy, Rhy. I cannot say that I always agreed with his choices, but the complicity between him and Kell - the loyalty - prevents me for holding any grudge (if I was into grudges, that is) "There was a new restlessness to his motions, a taut energy that mirrored Kell's. And yet, Rhy's was different. Manic. Dangerous. His moods were darker and their turn sharper, cutting the span of a second." ✔ ... Oh, and those assholes (you know who I mean) (there're plenty to choose really) As for the plot, although I was more than excited to come back into this world, and that Kell and Lila own a special place in my heart, I have to admit that I spent the beginning feeling restless because I longed for them to be together - not necessarily romantically (WHO AM I KIDDING) (THE CHEMISTRY!! GAH!), but really, their interactions? They're the best, and they both balance each other's perfectly. Separated, they lose a little bit of their charm in my opinion. But. Now that I finished the book, I understand why Victoria Schwab made this choice and the last 40%? Brilliant, exhilarating, and as far as I'm concerned, PERFECTION. There's something to say about a fantasy plot that stays unpredictable, because trust me, when you read a lot of fantasy, it becomes rarer and rarer. This is why I'm rounding up my rating. ▶ Give me thrill, give me peril, give me gasps, and I'm the happiest reader of the world.My heart, though. For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best fantasy category 2016!Lila shrugged. "Everyone's immortal until they're not."this is one of those crossover dealies that isn't marketed (or priced, unfortunately) as YA, but there's no reason for it not to be in the YA section, from a reader perspective. from the publisher's perspective, obviously it's always better when you can set your cover price in the ten bucks higher adult-market range, but since this is such a pretty book, i'm okay with tha congratulations! semifinalist in goodreads' best fantasy category 2016!Lila shrugged. "Everyone's immortal until they're not."this is one of those crossover dealies that isn't marketed (or priced, unfortunately) as YA, but there's no reason for it not to be in the YA section, from a reader perspective. from the publisher's perspective, obviously it's always better when you can set your cover price in the ten bucks higher adult-market range, but since this is such a pretty book, i'm okay with that THIS TIME, even though it's such a fast read, you'll tear through it like you're at a cookie party. (please invite me to cookie parties) i was not crazy about the first book in this trilogy. it was fine - i liked the world in which it was set, and i loved the character of lila, but it seemed to be doing a lot of buildup and stage-setting without delivering much actiony payoff. however, when i read the synopsis of this one, promising an international magic-based tournament, i thought, "oh, yes - that will have some action for sure!" and it's great - it starts off great and it continues to be great the whole way through. need more details than me mumbling "great" through a mouthful of cookies? fine.this one makes with the action right away, in an opening scene revealing lila in a perilous situation, and loving every minute of it. kell was the primary focus in the first book, but here, lila has sidled her scrawny ass into the limelight and she's not giving it up for anything. kell and rhy will get their POV-time, but lila steals the show, as well as everything else that isn't nailed down. there's just something about her i love. sure, she's the archetypal badass chick whose hardscrabble background has taught her that no one's coming to her rescue, emotions are liabilities, and knives are wonderfully persuasive, which tough-girl attitude should be totally cheesy:Tieran fixed her with his gaze. "Has anyone ever told you that you're too sharp for your own good?""Too sharp. Too loud. Too reckless. I've heard it all. It's a wonder I'm still alive."but for some reason, i just adore her. with her wolfish smile and her terrible decisions and her knack for getting into and out of danger, everything she's done to leave behind her unsatisfyingly grey life and launch herself into a world of magic and adventure - she's neither infallible nor completely guarded, and there's a perfect balance to her character - she's able to walk away from someone without looking back, but she'll still daydream a little.and she gives herself awesome daenerys-caliber pep talks: Dangerous.Reckless.Foolish.Mad.A chorus of doubt so loud her boots took a step back of their own accord.In one of the other stadiums, the crowds cheered as an Arnesian emerged victorious.Lila retreated another step.And then she caught sight of the flag - her flag - in the stands, and her steps ground to a halt.I am Delilah Bard, she thought. Pirate, thief, magician.Her fingertips began to thrum.I have crossed worlds and taken ships. Fought queens and saved cities.Her bones shuddered and her blood raced.I am one of a kind. she definitely is one of a kind (view spoiler)[ and i really hope she's not antari, missing eye or no, because i want her identity, her abilities, to be singular; something hers and hers alone, not part of a tradition or tribe. she's a monolith, not a link in some chain. (hide spoiler)]lila aside, there are excellent developments in the rest of the world. that thing kell did in the last book for rhy has consequences both physical and psychological, and has caused a great deal of tension in his relationship with the king and queen. kell spends a lot of this book moping around in a daze of "why are 'mommy' and 'daddy' so mad at me and will i ever see lila again and woe woe woe," until rhy comes up with a wonderful diversion for him, to take his mind off of his emo crap and also relieve a lot of pent-up aggression. (and please tell me there is rhy/kell fanfic out there, because there needs to be, right?)we also get a better, more focused view of the politics of red london this time around. in the first book, we were bouncing around between the various londons and learning about their relationships with each other, but here we get a more detailed look at red london - its history and the rivalries between the different cultures and lands making up the kingdom, and the intricacies of its power structure, which playboy rhy will one day have to navigate"Ruling is a delicate affair," his father had chided. "Every gesture carries purpose and meaning. This tournament is not only a game. It helps to maintain peace with our neighboring empires, and it allows us to show them our resources without implying any threat. The king had laced his fingers. "Politics is a dance until the moment it becomes a war. And we control the music."the tournament itself is fun, but lower-stakes than i had anticipated. this isn't The Hunger Games or Battle Royale; it's more diplomatic; it's entertainment, and the participants are carefully selected and matched to deliver a good show without killing anyone, like a magical pageant designed by jane austen. however, that careful plan has had a monkeywrench thrown in by a couple of dark horses. and kidnapping. there's always gotta be some kidnapping.we get a new character in alucard, who - despite that stupid gothy name, is very likable. not so much to kell - there's some history there, but to me. and to lila.oh, and what will become of lila and kell?? will there be unbearable tension?? will every time they say "hello" read like barely-restrained pornography, like in those very rare moments when felicity lets down her emotional guard on The Americans and a touch of the hand comes across as unspeakably intimate? will lila finally find a dress to wear?"What's wrong with black? It's the perfect color.""For hiding. For blending into shadows. For storming castles. Not for balls. I let you go to the last one in black, and it has bothered me all winter.""If that's true, you don't have enough things to worry about."Calla tsked and turned toward the collection of dresses. Lila's gaze raked over them, and she cringed at a yolk-yellow skirt, a velvety purple sleeve. They looked like pieces of ripe fruit, like decadent desserts. Lila wanted to look powerful, not edible. woe to the person who tries. this is a girl with many knives strapped on under her gowns.while all this is taking place in red london, we get some hints of what's been happening in white london since the events of the last book. trouble is a-brewing. this book ends on a corker of a cliffhanger, and i'm so glad i kept on with this series, because i am eager to see what happens in book three. bring it on!***************************************this one is SO MUCH better than the first book. what a relief! thanks for making me stick with it, machalo buddies!come to my blog!
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    #1 A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★★#2 A Gathering of Shadows ★★★★★#3 A Conjuring of Light ★★★★★I cannot believe that I waited nearly a year between the first book and this one, but here we are, and now I’m convinced that Victoria sacrificed an unhealthy number of virgins for her writing skills, because this series is absolute magnificence. I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so much that I was nervous to see if the second book would hold up, but let me tell you, it absolutely did, and now I am both hor #1 A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★★#2 A Gathering of Shadows ★★★★★#3 A Conjuring of Light ★★★★★I cannot believe that I waited nearly a year between the first book and this one, but here we are, and now I’m convinced that Victoria sacrificed an unhealthy number of virgins for her writing skills, because this series is absolute magnificence. I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so much that I was nervous to see if the second book would hold up, but let me tell you, it absolutely did, and now I am both horrified and desperately in need of seeing how it all ends up. “I am Delilah Bard,” she thought, as the ropes cut into her skin. “I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands.” I only thought that I loved the characters of this series in the first book, but that was nothing compared to the feelings that I have for them by this point. There’s Lila, who took me a little bit of time to be won over by in ADSOM, but who has me utterly captivated in this installment. Her brash, headstrong, clever nature is only magnified even further as she comes into her own in the world of Red London, and while she still feels this evident need to prove herself and to come out on top, her entire attitude has been tempered—if only slightly—by the pains that her previous actions have caused. She’s also still determined to avoid dealing with her feelings towards a certain redheaded Antari, which lends beautifully to the incredible slow burn of the brief romantic undertones to these books. “I do not know why you two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stars divide you.” Precious Kell, on the other hand, is still my favorite; I’m constantly torn between being amazed by his skills and abilities, and wanting to jump in and protect him from the cruelty he faces, not only as one of the last remaining Antari, but as the neglected adopted son of the King and Queen. My years of reading fantasy novels have taught me that it’s difficult for me to relate to “lawful good” characters who rely so heavily on their virtues and honor, as Kell does, but Victoria writes him so flawlessly that it never grows stale or predictable. On top of everything else, his relationship with his brother, Rhy, is one of the most wholesome, pure, and precious things I have ever seen in my entire life. Rhy held Kell’s pain in his hands, while Kell held Rhy’s life in his. Rhy Maresh is, I think, one of the most lovable fictional characters who has ever been written. I don’t know if I have ever met a fan of this series who does not adore him at least a little bit, especially upon getting to know the quiet self-loathing that resides under his charisma and charm. He broke my heart so many times during his struggles with the lengths Kell has gone to in order to save him, and the fact that he values his own presence in the world so little is crushing, yet nevertheless, Rhy is a constant source of drama, amusement, and sweet brotherly love in a world full of violence and fear. The fact that both of these princes would so readily give up everything for one another is perhaps my single favorite aspect to this gorgeous series thus far. “Fix your crown, my prince,” he called back as he reached the door. “It’s crooked.” Of course, this review would be wholly incomplete without taking a moment to talk about the utterly fantastic addition to the cast: Alucard Emery, privateer, playboy, magical aficionado, and captain of the Night Spire crew. He is hilarious, delightful in every way, and an absolute deviant who never fails to keep you guessing. I love his entire presence in the story, and though I am left with a million and one questions about his past and how it relates to the lives of the Maresh family, it is easily one of the things that I am most excited about tying up in A Conjuring of Light. “Magic is tangled, so you must be smooth.Magic is wild, so you must be tame.Magic is chaos, so you must be calm.Are you calm, Kell?” Besides the wonderful cast of characters (including one special individual who I’m not going to mention here for fear of spoiling anyone, but let me say that I am absolutely ecstatic to see things through his perspective on occasion, and terrified to see what he will do next), there’s also the fact that, once again, Victoria proves her writing prowess through incredible action scenes and magical world-building. There is a tournament featured in this installment that never grows stale or dull; despite its potential for repetition, as is frequent with “trials” in books, not once did I lose the feeling of gripping the edge of my seat. “I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.” This sequel also delves much further into the history of Red London and its surrounding lands, as well as the political climate between the kingdom of Arnes and its allies and potential enemies. It was such a fantastic buildup of information, but I can’t help but wonder how it can all possibly be addressed in the finale. That said, I have no doubts that I will be pleased with how everything turns out (and it doesn’t hurt that I know there are further books coming along in the future, too!). They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn’t know which one of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding. I don’t think I can say too much more without spoiling any of the twists and turns in this installment, so I’ll end this review on this note: if you enjoy fantasy worlds with lovable characters, a brilliant (yet never overdone) magic system, world-building and history for days, and enough twists and turns to never let you find a moment’s rest, I cannot recommend this series highly enough—and I cannot wait to read the final piece to the story!---Buddy read with Terry and Julie! ♥♥♥You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
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  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    Reread July 2017:Ohhhh good book is GOOD the second time round too. Who'd have though, right?!? I'm so glad I'm rereading this series as it's basically my FAVOURITE and I am trash for anything Schwab writes. Also can she please chill on hurting the precious magical children. I love them. And it's raining on my face.Smol List Of Loves In The Reread:• basically Kell x Lila refusing to acknowledge they have FEELINGS• so adorable. ship it• also Older Protective Brother Kell™ is my favourite• i have Reread July 2017:Ohhhh good book is GOOD the second time round too. Who'd have though, right?!? I'm so glad I'm rereading this series as it's basically my FAVOURITE and I am trash for anything Schwab writes. Also can she please chill on hurting the precious magical children. I love them. And it's raining on my face.Smol List Of Loves In The Reread:• basically Kell x Lila refusing to acknowledge they have FEELINGS• so adorable. ship it• also Older Protective Brother Kell™ is my favourite• i have so much love and respect for the world building in this book...it is so fine. The Londons just seem to SPARKLE OFF THE PAGE and also just the details that make the other countries stand out is really great writing• I want to take a moment to acknowledge Tirin (sorrry I have no idea how his name is spelt #audiobookproblems) and how the prince brothers are giving him grey hair and all he does for them• Rhy being a sassy little bucket is the best.• Rhy and Kell being moody but sassy and aggressively caring for each other is also the best.• TOTAL LOVE for how Schwab writes her characters. I care about them so much and they really carry the entire story and make my heart so full.• ALSO FEELINGS = HURT.• Loved it.My only note is that: I listened to the audiobook and have to admit...I didn't like it. This could be partially because I had a bad experience reading Well of Ascension which has the same male narrator?? I hated WoA (and got aggressively abused for my dislike of it on twitter) and so it was kind of flashbacks to that. Plus he gave Rhy this total SNOB voice and it was irritating. But the female narrator also annoyed me for making all the male voices so weird. Aaaanyway obviously it didn't dampen my enjoyment!! But definitely prefer the dude who did ADSOM why didn't they keep him omg.------ ORIGINAL REVIEW: MARCH 2016: So basically I JUST READ THE MOST WONDERFUL STORY. And by "wonderful" I mean "freakishly feels punching" -- BUT IN THE BEST WAY EVER. Like I actually expected to be more stressed out by it than I was? So either a) I'm more Vulcan than I thought, or b) I'm immune to stress because BOOKS KEEP FREAKING DESTROYING ME. (But I love them for it. <33)Ahhhhem. SO! Where do I even start with shrieking about this masterpiece?! first off: I think it should be noted that this is more CHARACTER focused than plot. Which I exactly loved. LOVED, I TELL YOU. AFJDLSAKFDJK. Characters are the best, and I love it when a book manages to weave an interesting but not overwhelming plot and focus on developing the characters. It also centers around this magician "game/tournament" thing, which isn't exactly original? But I still liked it. I'm a sucker for people punching each other magically I guess.And since it was charactery (that's a word, shhhh) let's have a brief look at all the darling dangerous scary babies:• KELL: Who is my UTTER favourite. I just adore how he can be kind of moody and sullen and always frowns (<3 I relate) and yet have grand moments of witty sarcastic banter...PLUS he is freaking DEDICATED to loving his brother. Do you know what always slays me? BROTHER BOOKS. I love it when brothers annoy the heck out of each other BUT STILL WOULD DIE FOR EACH OTHER. Kell = my favourite of mostly ever. And he is in such pain in this book. He's having a mid-life-Antari-crisis.• RHY: Thank goodness to all that is Victoria and Schwaby that we get MORE OF RHY. He gets tons of POV chapters and ... dude is an alchoholic. Both he and Kell are really SUFFERING for what they did in A Darker Shade of Magic (little darling idiots) and it fairly covers everything they do. All the partying of Rhy and the quips and the flippant attitude? IT MASKS HIS POOR SAD SOUL. And I love how the book never fell into whiny/angst. MASTER. WRITER. ALERT. HERE.• LILA: Ohhh, Lila. She made me HOWL with laughter. Is it possibly she's gotten more pointy?! She (sort of) got her pirate dreams and she's more mysteriously magical and OH. SHE IS A ROTTEN JERK AT TIMES. She is 100% in denial that she likes Kell. Hmmph. I do love Lila an enormous amount but sometimes her utter coldness was a bit hard? Like Kell isn't gooey sunshine either, but he still manages to melt my heart. Lila just doesn't have a venerable side and I think that makes her harder to relate to?• EMERY: So this is a new character! I get nervous at new-but-important characters being introduced mid series...BUT HE WAS AWESOME. He is very very mysterious and curious and it took me a while to know if I liked him but I most certainly do and I even ship (view spoiler)[him and Rhy even if he DID break Rhy's heart...I want to know more about that, btw. I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT EVERYTHING. (hide spoiler)]Also, the King and Queen are mean melon heads to be mean to Kell. Just sayin'.Also did VE Schwab invent a language for this series????? BECAUSE WOW.There's quite a torturous cliffhanger... CRUELTY. Although I did think it'd be worse than it was. Ahem. IT's STILL REALLY HORRIBLE THOUGH. And the book teases you with what evil it's going to commit right at the beginning, so you can sit there reading these nice pleasant bantery scenes between Rhy and Kell and know in the background SOMETHING IS GOING TO GO VERY VERY VERYYYYYY WRRRRRRONG ERMAGERD SAVE YOURSELVES. But they don't. Because they don't listen to the reader. Idiots. #preciousbabiesBasically everything was sickeningly perfect. And I am in love with this series. Obviously.The character development? ✓Witty banter?✓Shippable moments?✓Screaming "ERMAGERD THERE GO MY FEELS" moments? ✓Blood and guts and some glory?✓✓✓Suffocatingly good writing that keeps your eyes to the page at every second?✓✓✓✓Plot twists that have you despairing of ever breathing again?✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓✓Perfection? ✓✓ Probably ✓✓✓ Definitely ✓✓✓ YES OKAY?!?!?!✓✓✓✓Ahem. If you haven't started this series: GO DO IT NOW. OKAY?!?! It is a MILLION percent worth it and. FANGIRLING. FEELS. ALL. OVER. THE. PLACE.I FEEL LIKE BOOK 3 IS GOING TO BE TRAGIC.I CANNOT WAIT.(Also shout out to Maraia who patiently sat through my spam-load of shrieking texts. But then, she deserved it because she told me to read this series. <3)** QUOTES**"Well, Ister..." Lila backed away towards the curtain. "Do you just...stand here until I need you?"The woman smiled and dug a volume from a pocket. "I have a book.""Let me guess, a religious text?""Actually," said Ister, perching on the low couch. "It's about pirates.""You tried to seduce me, for information.""You can't hold that against me forever.""It was last night." "What brings you to my room?" he asked, relief bleeding into annoyance."Adventure. Intrigue. Brotherly concern. Or," continued the prince lazily, "perhaps I'm just giving your mirror something to look at besides your constant pout."Kell frowned, and Rhy smiled. "Ah, there it is! That famous scowl."
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  • Saania Zee Jamal ϟ
    January 1, 1970
    I SALUTE ANYONE THAT HAD TO LIVE MORE THAN AN ENTIRE YEAR DANGLING OFF THAT BRUTAL CLIFFHANGER OH MY HOLY FUCKRemember when I called A Darker Shade of Magic a slow-burner? HA. Well. This one just burns you alive and makes you enjoy every fiery second of it. WHAT A RIDE.I'm far too impatient to get on with the next book, so here's a random assortment of my thoughts and feelings on this glorious work of new adult literature...(((kindasorta spoilers incoming))) Things I thought I wouldn't like: • L I SALUTE ANYONE THAT HAD TO LIVE MORE THAN AN ENTIRE YEAR DANGLING OFF THAT BRUTAL CLIFFHANGER OH MY HOLY FUCKRemember when I called A Darker Shade of Magic a slow-burner? HA. Well. This one just burns you alive and makes you enjoy every fiery second of it. WHAT A RIDE.I'm far too impatient to get on with the next book, so here's a random assortment of my thoughts and feelings on this glorious work of new adult literature...(((kindasorta spoilers incoming))) Things I thought I wouldn't like: • Lila and Kell being separated for the most part• New major characters aka Alucard Emery• The descriptive writing style and pace• Scenes in White London Things I liked: • Lila and Kell being separated for the most part• New major characters aka Alucard Emery• The descriptive writing style and pace• Scenes in White LondonIt's amazing really. Waiting for the release of A Conjuring of Light wasn't the only thing that held me back from starting this ages ago— oh no, it was knowing that Kell and Lila wouldn't actually be seeing each other for the better part of the book that takes all the credit for that.And yet here I am, loving this sequel so much more quite possibly just because of that. It's not that I didn't miss or crave our favorite duo's crazy adventures together again, just as much as they probably must have themselves. (In fact, V Schwab better have a whole lotta that in store for us next!) But as they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder and the same is true for my fickle reader's heart. Because when the time finally comes for them to reunite, it's not with a crackle, not with a sizzle, but with a BANG. If this were Instagram, this would be about an appropriate time to implement the use of the #worthit hashtag. And don't even get me started on the charming bastard of a pirat—*cough* privateer that goes by the name of one Alucard Emery. ~swoooon~Here's a little something to help show how I feel about our newly sailed ship:And here's reasons to love Lila 101:There's no need to supply reasons to love Kell because that's simply a universal fact, of course. (FIGHT ME ON THIS I DARE YOU)Bonus fan art because they're just really fucking cool and beautiful and a million hugs and kisses to the artists that created them whoever you wonderful humans are:And finally. White London. THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I'D WANTED AND HOPED FOR AND I AM SO HAPPY BUT ALSO NOT HAPPY BECAUSE COULD EVERYONE JUST LEAVE MY POOR BBY HOLLAND ALOOONE D':All I can say is V. E. Schwab's writing goes beyond measure for me this time round and I am sold by her compelling storytelling style. Sign me up for anything this woman writes!
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  • Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink
    January 1, 1970
    Wowowowow. If you have not picked up this series yet, pick it up now. Right now. I feel I can't even put into words how I feel about this book - but I'm going to try anyway.To start, I liked "A Darker Shade of Magic" (book #1 in this series) a lot - but I wasn't out of my mind in love. I liked the characters and the world building was so unique and engaging. The story was good- but it left me wanting more to happen to the characters (which was perfect, because I knew there was a sequel coming ou Wowowowow. If you have not picked up this series yet, pick it up now. Right now. I feel I can't even put into words how I feel about this book - but I'm going to try anyway.To start, I liked "A Darker Shade of Magic" (book #1 in this series) a lot - but I wasn't out of my mind in love. I liked the characters and the world building was so unique and engaging. The story was good- but it left me wanting more to happen to the characters (which was perfect, because I knew there was a sequel coming out.) And I'm not gonna lie... I wanted a spark between Kell and Lila. Sorry not sorry.This book took the story to a new level. I mean- I was totally mind blown. There are so many good points to hit on. Action. Magic. Pirates. Balls. Masks. Competitions. Serious chemistry. Yes you read that right. Chemistry.AND DONT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE FEELS. DONT EVEN.Just to break it down a little bit though...Lila = Extreme badass extraordinaire. Heavens I love this girl.Kell = Pretty much a saint. I can't explain it.. he's just wonderful, and tormented, and wonderful...Alucard = I can't pinpoint him, and I LOVE that. Rhy = King of banter... and of aggravating the living shit out of Kell in the most wonderful waysThe villian who shall remain unnamed for now = BETCHA DIDNT SEE THAT COMING.The characters are so beautifully woven together. The plot is absolutely fantastically and horribly unpredictable. Oh and the writing - oh it was superb. Beautiful in every way. “Politics is a dance until the moment it becomes a war. And we control the music.” Now I want to prepare you, my fellow readers. Lila and Kell are apart for a very good chunk of this book. BUT I PROMISE it is well worth the agony of seeing them apart. SO so so so so worth it. Just you wait. Plus, there are so many great moments in their separate paths before they reunite. “I know it’s mad, but for a second I thought it was …” "Saints, you’re seeing her in everyone and everything now, Kell? There’s a word for that.” "Hallucination?” "Infatuation.” I refuse to discuss the ending right now. I refuse. But I promise you this- there are some very fulfilling moments before the ending. Superb. New favorite series. Now go read it so we can talk about it more because I am not satisfied with only writing a blog post!*Update* Can we please just rave about how this series is about to get a TV SERIES?!?!?!?!?!
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  • Clara
    January 1, 1970
    ** 5+++ "I’M OBSESSED AND IN AWE" !! stars **It’s official, this series now has a hold on me and it won’t let go. I’m in love with the writing, the world and the characters ! This series has definitely made it to the top of my all-time favorite series with this second installment ! It’s been a while since I absolutely loved everything about a series or felt so invested, but I have to say these books gave me everything I’m looking for when I read a book ! First off, let’s be honest, this second i ** 5+++ "I’M OBSESSED AND IN AWE" !! stars **It’s official, this series now has a hold on me and it won’t let go. I’m in love with the writing, the world and the characters ! This series has definitely made it to the top of my all-time favorite series with this second installment ! It’s been a while since I absolutely loved everything about a series or felt so invested, but I have to say these books gave me everything I’m looking for when I read a book ! First off, let’s be honest, this second installment didn’t have much of a plot like the first one had with the whole getting rid of the Black Stone and fighting off the Dane Twins. Nothing much happened for the two thirds of the book, and we only got a glimpse of the heavy stuff finally happening only at the very end of the book. BUT, I didn’t care, because the author still managed to have me engrossed the whole time ! With this second book, Schwab decided to focus on her characters : their well-done development, their complexity, their struggles against their own demons, the dynamics as well as the relationships between all of them, creating the feeling as if we were close to them, as if we deeply knew them up to their darkest secrets and feelings, making us care about them to the point where I was scared all the time for my babies and couldn’t bear the thought of any of them getting hurt. ”Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know ? But I don’t want to die- dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.” Obviously, the world-building still played a huge part in my loving this second book so much. It was still just as amazing, well thought-out and mesmerizing. The magic system still has me awed with how detailed it is, how it has a darkness to it making it fascinating. But Schwab made it even more badass and epic by opening the borders of her world beyond Red London and Arnes to introduce us to pirates, oops, sorry, I meant “privateers” ;D as well as the people from other Empires, this only accented more by the Element Games that brought action and even more diversity to the world (I couldn’t help but picture the Olympic Games that just ended when thinking about the Element Games, I guess it was just because of the mood ^^). The storyline in this one was more slow-paced but very subtle, smoothly and cleverly leading you to where the author wanted to get you the whole time. Once again, even though there wasn’t a lot of action for most of the book, I never found myself bored, just entranced by the characters and their journey. Speaking of the characters , there’s basically not one I didn’t absolutely love ! If that was even possible, I fell more in love with KELL. In this one, he no longer feels like a possession to the Red London’s Royal family but more like a prisoner. No one, except for Rhy, trusts him anymore, everyone fears or hates him, blaming him for the Black Night. Kell feels out of place and for the first time actually considers just running away, but he can’t bring himself to leave his brother behind. I felt Kell’s loneliness and the unfairness of his treatment, I just wanted to hug him and tell him that I would never turn my back on him and that I’ll always love him ^^ (view spoiler)[I was afraid at the end that Kell would turn to the dark side because of the Royal family’s rejection but thank God, he came to his senses, but I’m still scared of what’s going to happen to him now. Hopefully, Lila is going to come to his rescue, I’m sure she’ll make it, badass as she is ;) (hide spoiler)]RHY also managed to win me over ! I loved his cockiness, how he always seems cheerful, always ready to party and flirt. He also had kind of a childish side to him that just made him a sweetheart and melt my heart. But behind all that façade, Rhy had demons of his own, not bearing what he did in the previous book and his brother’s suffering because of him and trying his best to make it better for Kell. I loved their bromance which was much more developed in this second book. Kell and Rhy had an easy banter, always looking out for the other, they’re a real team, it’s like it’s them against everyone else, and it just made my heart burst with love for them both. ”What brings you to my room ?” Kell asked, relief bleeding into annoyance.“Adventure. Intrigue. Brotherly concern. Or,” continued the prince lazily, “perhaps I’m just giving your mirror something to look at besides your constant pout.”Kell frowned, and Rhy smiled. “Ah, there it is ! That famous scowl.” LILA was still badass, reckless, restless, always looking for trouble, trying her hardest not to care too much about her crew or Kell, but realizing she can’t help it. Lila and Kell were apart for most of the book, but once they finally came back together, I felt like it was totally worth the wait. Their relationship slowly takes a deeper meaning, with both of them having missed the other one and understanding the other’s loneliness and thirst for freedom and thrills. I also very much liked Lila’s relationship with Alucard, which felt more like a master/student or big brother/little sister relationship. They had great banter, both of them being stubborn, I loved how Alucard was always there to look out for Lila even if she didn’t need it, trying to get secrets out of her but at the same time helping her with her magic. ALUCARD was a great addition to the story, he was a cocky and witty Captain, very skilled and badass with magic, but also wise and he had an air of superiority. And that thing with Rhy, totally unexpected but absolutely loved it ! (view spoiler)[That kiss was HOT !! I’m excited for more of them ! (hide spoiler)] ”You’re still mad at me,” Alucard said. Lila straightened. “You tried to seduce me, for information.”“You can’t hold that against me forever.”“It was last night.”“Well, I was running out of options, and I figured it was worth a shot.”Lila rolled her eyes. “You really know how to make a girl feel special.”“I thought I was in trouble precisely for making you feel special.” But that ending though ?! I can’t, I need book 3 RIGHT now !! I hope everything will be okay for my babies !! ^_^
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  • Clau R.
    January 1, 1970
    OH NO YOU DIDN’T, VICTORIA.I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS SO MUCH, AND WHEN KELL CRIES, MY HEART BREAKS.AND RHY. SUCH A PRECIOUS PRINCE. SUCH A PRECIOUS BROTHER. PLEASE LET HIM BE HAPPY, IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK? MY SWEET BABY. Lila, you must save them all.4,5 stars.
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  • Ashley Nuckles
    January 1, 1970
    Simultaneously laughing and crying. Can I give this book more than five stars? Because it deserves at least forty.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    So the 1st book, A Darker Shade of Magic, didn't blow me away. I liked it, but I just didn't quite love it.Interested, but not invested.Which means I didn't rush out to grab a copy of this one, because I just wasn't sure how excited I actually was to read it.However, my trepidation was unwarranted. A Gathering of Shadows was so much better than I expected it to be! There was this whole connection to the characters that (I felt) was missing from the 1st book, and this time around the author made So the 1st book, A Darker Shade of Magic, didn't blow me away. I liked it, but I just didn't quite love it.Interested, but not invested.Which means I didn't rush out to grab a copy of this one, because I just wasn't sure how excited I actually was to read it.However, my trepidation was unwarranted. A Gathering of Shadows was so much better than I expected it to be! There was this whole connection to the characters that (I felt) was missing from the 1st book, and this time around the author made me feel? Plus, (and I love it when a book does this) I caught myself saying stuff out loud while I was reading.Like: Oh, shit! and I thought he was dead!Good stuff.Oh, and there were a lot of new developments, cool reveals, and (of course) answers-to-questions-that-just-lead-to-more-questions. Very EXCITING!Sadly, I'm so late to this party, and there are so many fantastic reviews up already that I don't feel the need to waste your (very valuable, I'm sure) time re-hashing the plot.I will say I think this one is worth your time, even if you weren't a huge fan of book #1.
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  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    *small edit UNMARKED SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!!!AND SWEARING, LOTS OF IT EVERYWHEREAND EXTREME HATE ON LILA THE GARBAGE CAN EVERYWHERE!!!!I’m not even kidding when I say this book pissed me off to the point where I physically felt the need to rip the goddamn fucking pages and fucking burn them and throw this fucking book out the goddamn window with every ounce of strength I've fucking got. I !! was !! so !! fucking !! pissed !! I !! still !! am !! when !! I !! think !! about !! this !! fucking !! ga *small edit UNMARKED SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!!!AND SWEARING, LOTS OF IT EVERYWHEREAND EXTREME HATE ON LILA THE GARBAGE CAN EVERYWHERE!!!!I’m not even kidding when I say this book pissed me off to the point where I physically felt the need to rip the goddamn fucking pages and fucking burn them and throw this fucking book out the goddamn window with every ounce of strength I've fucking got. I !! was !! so !! fucking !! pissed !! I !! still !! am !! when !! I !! think !! about !! this !! fucking !! garbage !! of !! a !! book !! and !! LILA BARD THE FUCKFACE GARBAGE CAN※This book is really fucking slow and boring.I loved ADSoM because of the slow pacing, no romance, badassery, and *barfs a little* Lila Bard. I was okay with the slow buildup in ADSoM and I enjoyed it so much, BUT THIS FUCKING BOOK was soo fucking slow, boring, and just plain dull from the moment I started it and it literally made me want to cut my fucking eyeballs out because IT WAS SO BORING. Reading this fucking book was like watching paint dry and LET ME TELL YOU THAT I'D RATHER FUCKING WATCH PAINT DRY.※Lila fucking Bard●This cunt faced bitch.●I. Fucking. Hate. Her. So. Much.●I want this bitch to choke and die on Kell's dick.●LITERALLY FUCK HER AND HER INTESTINES. ●sHE IS ONE OF THE MOST STUPIDEST CHARACTERS I'VE EVER HAD TO READ ABOUT and reading about her made me want to fucking throttle someone BECAUSE SHE IS SUCH A DUMB FUCKING HOE. UGH SHE PISSES ME SO MUCH I WANT HER TO DIE.●she is such an infuriating bitch.●she is really fucking dumb.●KELL TOLD HER that she'll pay a price for that magic, yet she goes ahead and ignores him, ACTs SO CHILL WHEN SHE KNOWS LITERALLY NOTHING ABOUT THE fucking magic. SHE THINKS SHE'S SO BADASS AND HAS EVERYTHING UNDER CONTROL, IT. PISSES. ME. OFF. SHE DIDN'T LISTEN TO KELL AND SHE IS JUST SO FUCKING STUPID. ●sHE knew nothing about the magic, but she goes around acting like a little miss know it all. ●AND HER "IM NOT LIKE OTHER GIRLS" shit, PISSED ME OFF. ●AHAHAHAAHAHA SHUT THE FUCK UP YOU DUMB BITCH.-AND HOLLAND IS SO EXTRAAND FUCK THE ROMANCE IN THIS BOOK. LILA NEEDS TO FUCKING DIE DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME., THAT BITCH NEEDS TO DIE, JUST KI9LL HER OFF TYHANKS-and what the fuck was that ending. lmao i want holland to kill kell and lila okay bye. no srsly that ending pussed me off AHHAAHAHAHA WHAT The FUCK KELL IS SUCH A DUMB FUCKING IDIOT WHY THE FUCK WOULD HE ACT SO DUMB??? like, fucking Holland and that face fucking king need to fucking chill AND STOP BEING FUCKFACES AGSKAOWGSIDBALSIEV I stg I was gonna fucking scream when that old spirit shit and holland tortured kell LIKE U FUCK FACES*and alsooooo RHY AND ALUCARD ARE LITERALLY EVERYTHING I LOVE THEM BUT it is implied that Alucard has hurt my precious Rhy in the past and I'm not okay with that. ALUCARD GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER.------------Fuck this book.No seriously.FuckThisBook.Buddy read with The person who rated Lockwood and Co. THREE STARS.----I'm here for Lila, Kell, and Rhy SCHWAB PLS LET MY KIDS LIVE THANK YOU
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 - Barely anything happened in this book. There didn't need to be a full book to set up the little bit that happened at the end. 2.5 stars because it's neutral. Not horrible (I liked the new characters) but it felt like a waste mostly. Video review to come.
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  • kat
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsshit
  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    I got to read more of the bad arsed, Lila Bard and Kell and Rhy! Yay! I loved the beginning of this book with Lila. People for me, this was the best part of the book with what all Lila did to that crew! Holy crow! I am Delilah Bard, she though as the ropes cut into her skin. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands. And a ship full of men cannot do what I can, I don't need any of you I got to read more of the bad arsed, Lila Bard and Kell and Rhy! Yay! I loved the beginning of this book with Lila. People for me, this was the best part of the book with what all Lila did to that crew! Holy crow! I am Delilah Bard, she though as the ropes cut into her skin. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands. And a ship full of men cannot do what I can, I don't need any of you. I am one of a damned kind.I also fell in love with Lila's captain aboard the Night Spire - Captain Aluccard Emery. He's so awesome! He is a little bit of this and a little bit of that and a whole lot of coolness =)Not a whole lot goes on in the book after the fun stuff in the beginning. I feel it's just another set up for more things to come in the next book. At some point though, magic welders come together in The Element Games called Essen Tasch. Some people I didn't expect were in these games and against each other. It was pretty damn cool! I loved reading about Kell and Rhy together again. They are so funny and caring. They are so close in everything they do and it was so wonderful to see them fighting for each other. To read the things that only love for someone you consider your brother can bring to your heart. Rhy wants Kell to compete in the games but Kell doesn't want to for certain reasons. "Kell. My greatest fear in life isn't dying. It's being the source of someone else's suffering. I know you feel trapped. I know I'm your cage. And I can't---" His voice broke, and Kell could feel his brother's pain, everything he tried to smother until dark and drown until morning. "You will do this, " said Rhy. "For me. For both of us." Kell held his brother's gaze. "All right,"he said.And Lila and Kell get to see each other again. And Rhy too, the whole gang. It was so great! And then . . . that ending!Something Wicked This Way ComesMY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
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  • Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
    January 1, 1970
    *screeches and runs to Amazon to order ACoL IMMEDIATELY*
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    1.) A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by Adriana from Perpetual Pages, Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw, Samantha from Novels and Nonsense, Connor from Connor O'Brien, Elizabeth from Books and Pieces, Kaitlin from Kitty G, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Elena from Elena Reads Books, and Thomas from SFF180!Four months have passed since the events that took place in A Darker Shade of Magic. The dust has settled in Red London, but the memories and re 1.) A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★Readalong for the BooktubeSFF Awards which is being hosted by Adriana from Perpetual Pages, Chelsea from TheReadingOutlaw, Samantha from Novels and Nonsense, Connor from Connor O'Brien, Elizabeth from Books and Pieces, Kaitlin from Kitty G, Sam from Thoughts on Tomes, Elena from Elena Reads Books, and Thomas from SFF180!Four months have passed since the events that took place in A Darker Shade of Magic. The dust has settled in Red London, but the memories and repercussions are still haunting our princes. And in this world there are four parallel Londons that coexist in this universe: ➽ Grey London - (smells like smoke) is like our real world's London, with no magic. Delilah Bard is from this London.➽ Red London - (smells like flowers) is the home of the main protagonist, Kell, where he and his royal family rule. There is an abundance of magic in this London, most coming from a red river which lights up the whole city.➽ White London - (smells like blood) is a city in war with itself. It was ruled by evil twins, but now has a new king. Everyone in this London tries to fight for magic and power within this corrupt city.➽ Black London - (we don't know what it smells like) and is still basically a mystery. It is essentially a lost city, since regular people cannot travel between worlds. “You can kill people, but you cannot kill magic.” I completely gushed about this in my A Darker Shade of Magic review, but this plot and concept is truly unique and unlike anything I've ever read before. I did enjoy this more than A Darker Shade of Magic, but I still wasn't as in love as most people are with this series. I am completely head over heels captivated with this cast, but the Tri-Wizard Tournament reminiscent storyline left a lot to be desired. This is a very character driven story and, bless V.E. Schwab, the characters in this are nothing short of amazing: ➽ Kell - Our most powerful magician.➽ Rhy - Our king in waiting. ➽ Delilah Bard - Our finally found pirate! ➽ Alucard - Our brand new captain. Like, two amazing ships are full sails ahead, but I always feel so underwhelmed by the romantic scenes. Like, I know not every book has to have romance and/or sex, but throw a girl a freakin' bone. I would do sick and terrible things for a mutually romantic understanding with either of these OTPS, because the missed-connections are killing me. “You two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stairs divide you.” And let me say, I, Melanie Parker, was personally living for any interaction with Alucard and Rhy. Like, I was such a hot mess when the scene in Rhy's room happened. If you've read this book then you know the scene. Like, I was gasping, screeching, rolling around in my bed. It wasn't pretty. All I want in A Conjuring of Light is a play by play of their daily interactions with each other. It truly is all I need in this life.Delilah Bard is one of the best characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Seriously, she is exactly the type of girl I would want my future daughter to read about. Seeing her overcome her past is one of the greatest things in this book. The fact that she always puts herself, her adventures, her needs, and wants first is so admirable and so important to see. Yet, seeing her struggle with being able to love and being able to be vulnerable is something I haven't got words for. Delilah Bard is so important to me. She is truly a 10 out of 10 character. “People could only hurt you if you cared enough to let them.” Also, the opening scene in this book? Holy shit. One of the best I've ever read. I actually was unsure of what I was going to start in April, so I took like five books off my bookshelves and figured I'd read the first chapter of each and see what interested me the most. I started with this book, and I never picked up another, because this opening chapter was so freakin' outstanding! Thank you, Delilah Bard!And now I feel bad because I didn't write anything about our main protagonist, Kell, but he's a little cinnamon roll, too! I live for his brooding moments, and the amazing banter between him and Rhy! And the angst between him and Alucard was everything I could have ever asked for in a protective big brother! Seriously, I loved that backstory! I also love seeing Kell actually just enjoying life, even though those moments are few and far between. As much as I love this quartet of characters, I'll be honest, nothing really happened in most of this book. The pacing didn't feel slow, because, like I've said 100 times, the characters grow and develop a lot, but the events in between leave a lot to be desired. The start and the end of this book were action packed, tense, and completely amazing, but the middle of the story was very uneventful, even with a big tournament happening. I for sure wouldn't recommend this for people who don't like very character driven stories. But if you do like character driven stories, this book is home to four amazing ones! I do plan on reading A Conjuring of Light very soon, because I have to know how this series wraps up! Hopefully it wraps up into two relationships, because my heart can't deal with any other outcome. Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch
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  • Nasom
    January 1, 1970
    THAT ENDING THO!! Let’s just say I do not envy the people that read this before the third book was out “I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were doing before wasn’t actually living”This book was pretty much the calm before the storm so it was mostly slow. Mostly, this book is about the Essen Tasch(which is like the Olympics for magicians). Various people from the different empires come together for co THAT ENDING THO!! Let’s just say I do not envy the people that read this before the third book was out “I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were doing before wasn’t actually living”This book was pretty much the calm before the storm so it was mostly slow. Mostly, this book is about the Essen Tasch(which is like the Olympics for magicians). Various people from the different empires come together for competitions and celebrations and it is being held in Red London. Meanwhile, something sketchy is going on in White London. This book begins 4 months after the events of A darker shade of magic. We are introduced to Lila who has joined a ship’s crew and a bunch of new characters which includes Alucard the charming Captain of the ship. We also get to see Kell and Rhy handling the repercussions of Kell’s decision in ADSOM.What I liked - Rhy has his own POV. I LOVE HIM and was happy that he was shown more in this- More Magic: Through the games, we get to see various magicians display their powers- Rhy and Kell: I just love their bond and how they would do anything for each other!!- The introduction of charming new characters such as Alucard and HastraWhat I did not like- The book was on the slow side until it got closer to the end. There was a reveal at some point in the beginning but I already guessed it so I was not really surprised.- There were some side plots that I found to be irrelevant and I think made the book longer than necessaryLila was someone I wanted to love but I found her frustrating. She was arrogant and selfish. I only tolerate her because of Kell tbh. I did see a little character development though which I liked“But when it came to Kell, there was a debt. A bond. Different from the one that bound him and Rhy, but just as solid”Overall I really enjoyed this book 💕
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  • Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
    January 1, 1970
    Here we are again with 3 stars. I keep wanting to reason with myself that this book deserves both a higher and a lower rating... I guess I am going to have to settle with 3 stars. There is a great amount of potential in this series. Schwab's writing style is delicious to read, I mean she really knows how to paint a picture for her audience. Her writing style alone accounts for at least 1.5 stars of my rating. I think my main problem is, even though I like some of the characters present here, I d Here we are again with 3 stars. I keep wanting to reason with myself that this book deserves both a higher and a lower rating... I guess I am going to have to settle with 3 stars. There is a great amount of potential in this series. Schwab's writing style is delicious to read, I mean she really knows how to paint a picture for her audience. Her writing style alone accounts for at least 1.5 stars of my rating. I think my main problem is, even though I like some of the characters present here, I don't really care which way this story ends up going. I'm not invested in any of my speculations. There were definitely some enjoyable moments here, especially near the middle/end of the book, but it wasn't enough to really salvage my detachment.Overall I would say this series has been better than your average YA for sure. If anything you've got a writer who takes her craft very seriously. But the spark is missing. I will definitely be completing this series when it finishes in 2017, because I have a favorite & I wanna know how their story ends. *Note: I would not recommend listening to this book in audio form. I did so only because I was trying to get through it quickly for my book club deadline, but the narrators for this installment left a lot to be desired.***UPDATE: I didn't find out until recently that this series is actually intended to read like an Adult Fantasy. Spoiler: it doesn't. It reads very much like YA Fantasy.**
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  • Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤
    January 1, 1970
    *and now I wait...* And then in the silence, he heard a sound: not a sob, or a scream, but a laugh.And it took him a moment to recognize the voice.It was his. 2016 has by far been one of my most rewarding reading years yet, beginning with almost 90% win and so little loss. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve taken what I’ve learned and I have applied it to almost every book I might read, making it extremely easy to see what might work for me…and what won’t. It’s not a fool proof sy *and now I wait...* And then in the silence, he heard a sound: not a sob, or a scream, but a laugh.And it took him a moment to recognize the voice.It was his. 2016 has by far been one of my most rewarding reading years yet, beginning with almost 90% win and so little loss. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ve taken what I’ve learned and I have applied it to almost every book I might read, making it extremely easy to see what might work for me…and what won’t. It’s not a fool proof system, I’ll admit, but it certainly makes it easier when there is a bad book thrown in here or there. It’s not near as annoying as when I consistently am reading crap. But, with all this epicness so early in the year, there are also some fears arising, as well…and that’s if I can keep up all this win-It’s a long year, and there’s still a lot of disappointment to be had (Like a couple ends to a few of my favorite series that fell flat, unfortunately). But one thing is an absolute certainty: In a sea of losers, when it comes to second books in series and such, I never had any doubt about how amazing the Darker Shade second book would be….and I have no doubt that the end will take my breath away. But he’d missed her, and with the city so overrun, how was he supposed to find her again?Just follow the knives, said a voice in his head. And the bodies they’re lodged in. I have this curse, you see, where I HATE second books-almost always. I will admit that that’s began to change as of late, but I still find that a few eek in here and there. More often than not, though, it seems the third and final books have been the largest problem: Lack of execution, not tying things up, changing the whole premise of the story, changing characters, etc. etc.-And it has been a large disappointment, more often than not. It’s starting to make the second book curse look tame!! But no, when I picked this book up, I immediately felt my weary muscles relax, my mood lighten, and my heart begin to beat faster and faster. Dangerous.Reckless.Foolish.Mad. It doesn’t matter that this fell into one of my least favorite second book tropes (was it a trope, though?? It was kind of a choice?), because every sentence, every page, every little thing was written so beautifully and made it so you couldn’t help to read one more page, one more chapter…and then, before you knew it, you were ten more percent in and still couldn’t stop. Lila stopped drawing her finger through the cider, and no one noticed that the spilled liquid kept moving, tracing patterns across the wood. Someone set a fresh drink in front of her.Alucard was calling for attention.“To London,” he said, raising his glass.Lila raised her own.“To London,” she said, smiling like a knife. These characters just have a way about them. It’s not so much that they are different from other characters we love, adore, cherish, admire, obsess about-No, it’s not that. It’s something in their chemistry, in their DNA, something that, immediately upon meeting them, crawled under your skin without you even realizing it. It's something that made you think about them long after you had closed the book. It's something that had you thinking about them in the dark, longing for more of their adventure deep into the night. You just have this deeper understanding of them….and yet you still want to know more. He didn’t have anything on his person, and they wouldn’t be able to find anything in his coat, not unless he wanted it to be found. He sometimes worried that the coat had a mind of its own. The only other person who’d ever managed to find what they wanted in its pockets was Lila. He’d never found out how she’d done that. Traitorous coat. I can’t even begin to explain how much I adore this story, for I can’t think of many books where something I hate becomes a giggle fest for me. A sleight of hand. A shadow in the corner. A lingering thought. A hopeless wish, or maybe even a longing so deep they saw each other everywhere-it’s the simplest thing, yet it gets under your skin and becomes a part of you. I adore these characters so intensely that it became a visceral thing when one of them would hurt, when one of them would cry, when one of them was in absolute pain. And I know you all probably think it’s all Kell and all Lila…but it’s not-Not even close. As a thief in the night, Lila Bard knew that staying out of the light was the surest way to stay alive, but she couldn’t help it, she relished this kind of trick. Standing right in front of a mark while you pocketed their coins. Smiling while you stole. Looking them in the eye and daring them to see past the ruse. Because the best tricks were the ones pulled off not while the mark’s back was turned, but while they were watching. There’s Rhy. There’s Alucard. There’s Calla. And, ya know, there’s Lila’s crew…but that’s beside the point-YOU GET THE PICTURE. Rhy and Alucard became two characters who I couldn’t live without, simply because they meant the world to my lovely Kell and my fierce Lila-they were central to the story and not only added to it, but enhanced every single scene. They brought forth extreme visceral, intense emotion that caused the most amazing feelings-Pain, heartache. Soul-crushing love. Unyielding friendship. Loyalty….Jealousy. Like I said, there really is no emotion I haven’t felt while reading this series, and I can’t help but to want to re-read it already. In fact, I could read these two books over and over and over again. But I’m at work (SHHHHH, my laptop has gone to SHIT) and I can’t keep going on and on and on and…..yeah, I love this story, this could go on for a while. So! I will get onto what I want to anyway: My two beautiful lovebirds, Kell and Lila. I am Delilah Bard, she thought. Pirate, thief, magician.Her fingertips began to thrum.I have crossed worlds and taken ships. Fought queens and saved cities.Her bones shuddered and her blood raced.I am one of a kind. Lila is a stubborn little shit, I’ll admit, especially in this one, but she is so damn loyal, fierce, and she has a thirst for life I can’t help but to admire. She longs to see the world, and she is finally seeing it…but she can’t help but to think back to the boy with one beautiful eye and one black, his face set in a perpetual frown with a little crease between his brows (Hey, I didn’t say Lila was the only one who loved him….). And what better way to see him than to compete in the Essen Tasch…a deadly competition showcasing magic from some of the most skilled magicians in their world-Something so dangerous only Lila would find a way into it. “What brings you to my room?” he asked, relief bleeding into annoyance. “Adventure. Intrigue. Brotherly concern. Or,” continued the prince lazily, “perhaps I’m just giving your mirror something to look at besides your constant pout.”Kell frowned, and Rhy smiled. “Ah, there it is! That famous scowl.”“I don’t scowl,” grumbled Kell. And then my Kell…my darling Kell. This book was hard for him, in more ways than one. He is lonely. He is tortured from the events in the previous installment (subtly so, but still there). He has a restlessness inside him that is unparalleled to anything he has ever felt before. And, now more than ever, he feels like he doesn’t belong with the family he was brought into…only Rhy makes him feel as he always has-Like a brother. They love each other so intensely, and it is beautiful to see-and then I just love their banter….it keeps Kell grounded and gives Rhy joy to make the forever frowning Kell smile or laugh. “How subtle,” said Kell tonelessly.“You could at least pretend to be grateful.”“And you couldn’t have picked something a little more…I don’t know…imposing? A serpent? A great beast? A bird of prey?”“A bloody handprint?” retorted Rhy. “Oh, what about a glowing black eye?”Kell glowered. But my point in saying all that is he and Rhy are closer than ever *insert eye brow raise here* but there is something darker inside them, something that makes it harder to be who they once were. They feel the gravity of it weighing them down each passing day-They are beginning to feel suffocated and have no way to release it. But Kell would do literally anything for his brother, something we saw many times in the last book, but we now see that Rhy would do the same…and it warmed my soul. He tipped his chin up so the men could see his eyes, and took a measure of grim satisfaction as the color bled from their faces. And then footsteps sounded, and Kell turned to find more men pouring into the alley. Drunk and angry and armed. Something stirred in him.His heart raced, and magic surged through his veins. He felt something on his face, and it took him a moment to realize he was smiling. It was so hard to see how deeply Kell’s loneliness went, how it effected him every moment of every day…and how he buried it deep within himself so he could continue to help his brother. But when his brother comes to him with a proposition so dangerous, so deadly, so…..exciting, Kell can’t help but to consider it. He’s an Antari…so he can’t compete…but will they find a way around that loophole?? And, most importantly, why can’t he stop thinking about his sharp-edged girl with two differently shaded brown eyes with a knack for knives, thievery, and trouble…and why does he see her in every little person, shadow, and alley? “Hello,” said Lila.“Hello,” said Kell. “Where have you been?”Lila smirked. “Why, did you miss me?”Kell opened his mouth. Closed it. Opened it again before finally managing to answer, “Yes.” This story was naturally made for me, what with all the danger, the peril, the competition, the friendship, passion, and loyalty. I loved the pulse-pounding ending and this whole story, really, but the first admittedly holds my heart, if I’m being honest. I just wanted people to know-the first may not be everyone’s favorite-but it’s mine *shrugs* I can’t help it!!! I just adore first books SO MUCH!!! But, more than that, Kell makes this series for me. I love the writing, the atmosphere, everything about it….but Kell keeps me coming back because I adore every little thing about him. He would do anything for his brother Rhy….but he would for Lila, too. He’d risk his life a million times over for them, and my heart swells even now as I type this out. He has my heart, and so does this series. I know I will surely die of anticipation before February 2017….but it will be completely worth the wait. And I know a certain Snake will be more than happy to finish this adventure with me. KELL!! ♥For more of my reviews, please visit: **********************My feels for this series in GIF form... OMGGGGG MY POOR BOOOY!!!!! I just love this series and Kell so so much! What a cruel thing to have to wait until 2017 for the finale to this absolutely breathtaking, soul-crushing, heartbreaking series. I can't believe this series has reached me on such a deep, emotional level, but it has...I am completely obsessed with it. From it's characters to the setting to the intricate plot, there isn't a moment in either book where I haven't loved and adored it. These characters have such loyalty, such deep, heart-felt connections to those surrounding them-you just can't help but get sucked into the magic that is this world.I cannot WAIT to write a review for book two of one of my favorite series EVER!!! :PRTC (I WILL DO THIS)For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • P
    January 1, 1970
    “I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.” Although A Gathering of Shadows isn't as good as A Darker Shades of Magic, it still held my interest until the last chapter. In this book, Lila takes almost 60% out of it, while 30% goes to Kell and Rhy, and the rest goes to Alucard, an attractive captain and owner the very notorious ship whose power is utterly striking. Unfortunately, I had high hopes since I went crazy because of ADSOM, this book (AGOS) couldn't catch up the score a “I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.” Although A Gathering of Shadows isn't as good as A Darker Shades of Magic, it still held my interest until the last chapter. In this book, Lila takes almost 60% out of it, while 30% goes to Kell and Rhy, and the rest goes to Alucard, an attractive captain and owner the very notorious ship whose power is utterly striking. Unfortunately, I had high hopes since I went crazy because of ADSOM, this book (AGOS) couldn't catch up the score at all. It is off. It is too much. It is quite wrong. And many things are a complete lack of logic.AGOS was really promising at first for the power of the four worlds being nearly crumble, as we can see in the first book. However, this book intentionally focuses on the new characters too much, Alucard and other foreign ones, that I felt the pace was so slow and though 300 pages had passed, I could see no progress in the story except Lila kept running into trouble and Rhy screwed everything up. I think we can take out those painful pages and still know what happens in AGOS without missing a thing. “Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.” Other than that slowness, my hope was so high when I knew there's a tournament going on in this book. This was gonna be another hunger game where competiors are hunger for blood for sure, right? But I was wrong, very wrong, what I got from the tournament is Disney's magic instead of grotesque scenes as in Spartacus and 300. It's so magical and fluffy like a cat my heart melted for the competitors's dancing. lolExpectation :Reality :Well, the ending of this book shocked me to the core and saved the whole book. Ignoring many unreasonable things that happen all the time through AGOS, I see the direction where the third book will go. It'll be unimaginable consequences, and I'm glad for it's actually happened after wandering around it for so long. “Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don't want to die - dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn't actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.” Rhy's sexuality made this interesting for me, though. I didn't expect that he and (view spoiler)[Alucard used to be lovers. And I know their feelings run deep, I could see it. (hide spoiler)] It surprised me a lot ! In addition to being impassive towards Lila, I think her character takes more important parts in AGOS. It's a good thing indeed that she isn't casted aside like she was in ADSOM, but that also made me feel as if the author tried to present her too much on behalf of the only female lead character in this book. Sometimes being abundant doesn't mean being good. I feel like Lila hasn't done what she has done by her free will but the author's will. You can rebel without a course but you can't be stupid with no conscience.I'm still unsure whether the tournament is significant to the whole story because I can see no relevance here. By the by, I rather liked this book in regard to being boring. At least I got an update of my favorite character and a little surprise from this book.But I know the next book is gonna be mind-blowing and somebody will die. “Politics is a dance until the moment it becomes a war. And we control the music.” https://goo.gl/D2bAfx
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 Stars.My initial thoughts going into this book... I quite liked A Darker Shade of Magic, well this is now 508 pages, this is going to be long, but it has a 4.32 average on goodreads so it must be good right?! Oh you fool Beth.Where do I even begin with this? If you love this book I’d suggest you don’t read this because I honestly couldn’t stand it. I don’t think I’ve been so let down by a second book in a series since Glass Sword, and we all know how that went. I just don’t understand how it 2.5 Stars.My initial thoughts going into this book... I quite liked A Darker Shade of Magic, well this is now 508 pages, this is going to be long, but it has a 4.32 average on goodreads so it must be good right?! Oh you fool Beth.Where do I even begin with this? If you love this book I’d suggest you don’t read this because I honestly couldn’t stand it. I don’t think I’ve been so let down by a second book in a series since Glass Sword, and we all know how that went. I just don’t understand how it went from good, to bad? Characters I liked I now cannot stand, but we will get to that later.What is the second book about? Well there’s a trial, and other characters are introduced, but seriously. I didn’t start this book for a bit because this is 508 pages. What happened in those 508 pages? Well let me tell you this, for the first 300 pages NOTHING HAPPENED! Why on earth did it take so long for something… ANYTHING to happen?! I honestly just can’t. I thought oooh we will get to see training, see other things happen, but WAIT it took 375 pages for us to get a glimpse into Lila’s training, and even then it was about a page and a half. I seriously went into this with high hopes, and I came away thinking I’ve read 300 pages of filler, 100 pages of Trials, 50 pages of filler and then 58 pages of tension. Even then there wasn't enough of the trials to be fun/engaging.Can I just also point out that this is supposed to be magical and have four Londons to me that is a selling point and unique, so why on earth did we only really see Red London? It really really annoys me that we get slight, and very small glimpses into the other Londons. I’m just so meh about it all.CharactersFirstly we have Kell now don’t get me wrong, I still really like Kell as a character, and at times I felt so sorry for him, but he was tiptoeing around everything and didn’t want to hurt Rhy. He is supposed to be one of if not THE most powerful magician, and we didn’t really see that. I love how much he cares for Rhy, I really do, but he can’t stop living his life when Rhy does as he pleases anyway.Then we have Lila. My god. I was just so infuriated by her throughout the entirety of the book. She’s a know it all who won’t listen to what others tell her. How long has she been part of the magic world? 4 months, yet she just thinks she knows everything. I love sarcastic characters, I really do. However this time around, I honestly was so done with her and had, had enough of it all. My issues are, how did she become pretty fluent in a language she didn’t know 4 months ago, why does she think she’s better than everyone else. If I hear one more time “I’m not like other/most girls” so help me god. What is “other/most girls” EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. You are not under any circumstances a precious snowflake. (Thanks Katie!)Alucard… I don’t even know if I’ve spelt his name right, but what was the point in his character other than to flirt and to be someone part of the trials?We do not, I repeat DO NOT get enough of Holland the one character who is mysterious we get nothing on.So… hmmmm what did I actually like?- The mystery to Ojka- A teeny tiny glimpse into Black London, and this other thing in it, I have no idea what it’s called- Rhy choosing Kells flag, and asking if it should of been a black eye (it made me laugh okay, I needed something)- HASTRA IS TOO PRECIOUS AND I LIKED HIM VERY VERY MUCH!- The bloody cliffhanger, okay I can’t deny it.What I didn’t like?- Pretty much 80% of the book.- Why did Lila annoy me so much in this book, my eye feels like it’s going to start twitching with rage- Everything pretty much above.Overall, severely let down by this one, for me it had the second book syndrome and I’m jus like right, how do I get my life back now? I’m going to finish the final book in the series and hope it’s better than this one.Yeah, I am salty AF right now, it can’t be helped. May add to this rant later...A Darker Shade of Magic - 4 StarsA Gathering of Shadows - 2.5 Stars
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