A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

26236443Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like 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.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Earlier this year, I tore through V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. I loved it so much, I wrote TWO different reviews (which ended up being published on the same day), recommended it to just about everyone who mentioned the word “book”, and ordered the sequel from the UK (so that my set would match!).

I’m calling it right now: A Gathering of Shadows may end up being my Best Book of 2016.

Because I read the first one so recently, I didn’t need any refresher, which was good because the story throws you right back into Red London. I didn’t think it was possible, but Lila Bard became 1000 times cooler than she already was. You wanna talk about strong female characters? Lila is one of the strongest out there. She’s tough, street-smart, and hella powerful. Literally – much of this book deals with Lila coming to terms with her new-found powers/control over the elements.

Strength and weakness are tangled things…They look so much alike, we often confuse them, the way we confuse magic and power.

While Red London is hosting their international magic game (I’m picturing a cross between the Triwizard Tournament and the Olympics), Kell and Rhy are adjusting to their newly complicated bromance. For reasons that you’d know if you read the first one, their lives are even more entangled than before, and it’s made them both restless and reckless. Kell is also struggling with his role in the kingdom, as everyone seems to blame him for the events of the Black Night.

This book should be held up as an example of How to Write Multiple Perspectives and Keep Your Audience Hooked. I was mesmerized by all the POVs (obviously Kell and Lila’s were my favourites, but Rhy is such a scene-stealer and the other minor story line had me squawking in alarm), and hurtled through the last hundred pages. That ending destroyed me in the best way (that last line? I felt chills) but OH MY GLOB, I CANNOT WAIT for the next book.

My only complaint would be that it took forever for Lila and Kell to meet up again but IT WAS WORTH IT. Those two make me squeal and fail all over the place because they’re just so perfect for each other. I want to read about them forever. Honestly, I love all the characters – the ones we’ve met before and the new ones who are just as intriguing (‘sup, Alucard Emery, my pirate-y friend). And while I normally appreciate unhappy endings – sometimes, I even prefer them – I will cry enough tears to flood Red London’s Isle if someone dies in book three.

Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.

It’s hard for me to review this one because most of the parts I loved are spoilery and you do NOT want to spoil this read. I managed to avoid reading reviews before picking this up, and I’m glad I did because it’s a journey you MUST take on your own. It has elements that will appeal to anyone, and the writing is so smooth, it’s a genuine delight to read. I bow down to you, Victoria Schwab, for your writing is gorgeous and so are your characters (both physically and personality wise).

If you haven’t already, pick this series up. And then come talk to me because I need to fangirl.

How I felt reading AGOS.

How I felt reading AGOS.


5 interrobangs

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent To-Be-Read Additions


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I’ve only (relatively recently) started following other book blogs, and one thing I noticed were their Top Ten Tuesday lists. And since I like making lists, I was all “HEY, I WANNA DO THAT TOO”, so here is my first TTT list!

This week’s topic is Ten Books I Recently Added to My To-Be-Read List. I don’t own any of these books (some of them have not yet been published!), but they’re on my list of “books to buy when they come out/when I have the money”. I have an Excel document full of such books, but it’s not properly organized (which only serves to give me a headache), and every so often I add books to it and then promptly forget what they’re about so I had to look up at some of these recent additions.

In no particular order:

1) Calvin – Martine Leavitt


I saw this book and gasped and then almost cried, and I need it. I love Calvin and Hobbes, and I’m surprised no one has done something like this before.

2) Imaginary Fred – Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

imaginary fred

Okay, fine, this is a picture book so it will take me all of five minutes to read it, but guys!! I’ve been reading Eoin Colfer books since I was 11 (I’ve read almost everything he’s written), and I really like Oliver Jeffers’ artwork, so this is an intriguing combination.

3) A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

I’ve been hearing a lot about this one, and I love the cover. Also, parallel Londons?! Sign me up!

4) The Imaginary – A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett

the imaginary

Emily Gravett is another illustrator I really like, and this book looks creepy and amazing.

5) Strictly No Elephants – Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo


As soon as I saw this title, I immediately thought of the classic (well, classic in my house) picture book, But No Elephants by Jerry Smath. Plus, I really liked Lisa Mantchev’s YA trilogy (The Théâtre Illuminata), so I’m willing to give this a shot.

6) The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath – Ishbelle Bee


The cover is incredible. The synopsis is incredible. I anticipate this being incredible.

7) Touch – Natalia Jaster

touchThere’s nothing like a good mythology/fairy-tale retelling. And it’s considered “mature YA”, so you know it will be scandalous!

8) Enchanted – Alethea Kontis


I do not recall writing this one down, but it looks like another fairy-tale retelling, so that’s probably why I put it on my list. I like the cover girl’s dress.

9) The Last of the Spirits – Chris Priestly


I genuinely don’t remember reading the synopsis for this before, but holy smokes, it looks good. It has a little bit of a Tim Burton vibe going on and that’s enough to sell it for me.

10) Amplified – Tara Kelly

amplifiedIf there’s one thing I like almost as much as fractured fairy-tales, it’s stories about music (Audrey, Wait!, anyone?). This looks like a fun adventure that I can totally get behind.