Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

agatherofshadowsreviewpic.png

Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic this review will contain spoilers for it as its the second book in the series. Also, there are possible minor spoilers for A Gathering of Shadows in this review as well – read at your own discretion.

You can read my review for A Darker Shade of Magic here.


20764879Title: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

4STARRATINGBNM


So, I’m sitting here wide-eyed with my jaw dropped right now after having just finished A Gathering of Shadows and I don’t even know where to start. I went into this book having been completely blown away by A Darker Shade of Magic but also without any expectations – I didn’t even read the synopsis. And while the pacing in the sequel faltered a bit for me where it didn’t in the first book, again, I was completely blown away. I was left breathless, shocked, and wanting to dive straight into the final book but knowing I couldn’t until I got my thoughts out.

A Gathering of Shadows begins four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic and we see our two main protagonists on separate journeys. Lila has finally achieved her dream of an adventure at sea, albeit one on the right side of the law rather than the pirate one she always envisioned, and uses it to learn the new world she’s found herself in as well as the magic she somehow seems to have. While Kell, stuck in Red London, is struggling with the consequences of everything that happened – his part in the havoc wrecked upon Red London as well as the magic he wove to bring Rhy back to life that inadvertently tied their lives together. And even though they think of each other often, Lila’s and Kell’s journeys continue to take very different paths. That is until the Essen Tasch, the Element Games, draws the ship Lila is on back to Red London. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the inhabitants of Red London, an old enemy has returned to White London and brought with him magic that is replenishing the city to its former glory but at a cost that could have dire consequences for them all. A Gathering of Shadows will take you on a new, spell-binding adventure that will leave you gasping with your jaw dropped and scrambling to get your hands on the last book.

“Magic is all and none. It’s sight, and taste, and scent, and sound, and touch, and it’s also something else eniterly. It is the power in all powers, and at the same time, it is its own. And once you know how to sense its prescence, you will never be without it.”

Once again, V.E. Schwab’s world building left me in awe! This time around not only do we get a small peek at Black London, which wasn’t nearly enough and creepy to say the least, but we also get to explore so much more of Red London as well as the magical workings of it. And since Lila is sailing the sea we also get to see a little of what life is like outside of Red London, which I loved. Then there’s the Essen Tasch which I found really interesting and almost like a magic Olympics with its many competitors and duels. I also love how it brought different facets of the world into play, other empires outside of Arnes. The intricacy with which V.E. Schwab has built this unique world (technically worlds) and how she reveals layer upon layer of it continues to be one of my absolute favorite things about this series.

Then, of course, there are the familiar characters who have weaseled their way into my heart and the new ones who are swiftly doing the same.

“His fingers drifted to the tokens around his neck, as he struggled to suppress the urge to leave. Run. But he couldn’t, because whatever the king believed, Kell was loyal, to his crown, to his family. To Rhy.”

Honestly, my heart broke for Kell in this. In A Darker Shade of Magic, he made some mistakes that he not only owned up to but ultimately fixed. However, those mistakes didn’t come without their consequences and we see him struggle heavily with those in the sequel. And although he tries to atone for his mistakes the King and Queen continue to distrust him and seemingly forget that he wasn’t the only one who messed up, which bothered me. That along with the fact that the magic he wove to bring Rhy back caused his life to be bound to Rhy’s has Kell feeling trapped, restless, and ready to flee. Though, of course, he doesn’t regret saving his brother and wouldn’t dare leave him. You know those characters you just want to hug and protect? That’s Kell, for me, in this.

Then there’s my favorite little trouble magnet thief, Lila, who has a stubborn and reckless streak a mile wide. Seriously, I love the fact that she just embraces everything and goes for what she wants no matter what. Although, there were times where she got a bit too reckless and I wanted to shake her and tell her to calm it. We get to see her find her adventure and explore magic, though, which I loved. And there was this fantastic character development in the fact that we see her go from being reluctant in the connections she’s making with other characters to kind of being on the path to embracing them by the end.

“She hadn’t been this close to him in months. Her skin hummed where he touched her. Was that normal? If magic coursed through everyone and everything, was this what it felt like when it found itself again?”

And don’t even get me started on Kell and Lila together. I ship them so much and I regret nothing! Every time they even thought about each other I fangirled a little. Then when they met back up? I cheered out loud.

Also, we got more Rhy! I adore him and his charming and mischievous ways. Although, much like Kell, he broke my heart. Rhy blames a lot of what happened in A Darker Shade of Magic on himself since he accepted the necklace from Holland that allowed one of the Dane twins to possess him. He’s always wanted to be a stronger leader for his people and the fact that that want caused him to be tricked eats away at him. And, again, I loved the sibling relationship between Kell and Rhy so much. Sure, they fight but they both care so much for each other and would literally do anything for each other.

“There you go again,” murmured Rhy, leaning his head on Kell’s shoulder. “You never let me fall.”

“And let you take me down with you?” chided Kell, wrapping the prince’s arm around his shoulders.”

And last but certainly not least there’s Alucard who gave me serious Nikolai Lantsov feels. I mean a privateer who is royal and has a bunch of secrets up his sleeves? He became another favorite the second he was introduced. I just really loved his sarcasm and charm, he always made me smile. Plus, his friendship with Lila – I loved it. They both had their secrets and it was funny watching them try to figure each other out. Also, he has this cat named Esa and I want to transport said cat out of the book so she can be mine. Oh and I ship him big time with a certain someone whose name I will not say.

Beyond those four there are actually a plethora of other characters, some old and some new, that I won’t go into detail about because then my review would be majorly spoilery.

“Mysteries are always more exciting than truths.”

Alucard crossed to the table and took up a bottle, while his white cat, Esa, appeared and brushed against Lila’s boot. “Are you made of anything but mysteries?”

Overall, even though it had moments where it dragged, A Gathering of Shadows took me on another incredible adventure that left me wanting more. In fact, I’m still kind of in shock over the cliffhanger and am going to go start A Conjuring of Light right now because I need to know what happens.


Have you read A Gathering of Shadows? What did you think? If not is it on your TBR?

spsig

 

instagram||goodreads||twitter||facebook||bloglovin’

Advertisements

58 thoughts on “Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

  1. Great review for this book Melissa, I am so so glad you enjoyed it and I seriously cannot wait to see your review for the third book (you have to let me know the second you finish ACOL because I really really need to talk to you about it.)
    The cliffhanger in this book was insane, and all I am going to say about it is aren’t you glad you haven’t had to wait a full year before starting ACOL? That was literally the situation I was in because I was so desperate to find out what happened next but there was a whole year to wait!
    I loved the development of both Rhy and Kell’s characters in this book. In the first before all the danger and everything they seems kind of innocent, and kind of reckless in a way believing their actions wouldn’t have any consequences (especially in the case of Kell transporting magical objects between the Londons) but in this one there were plenty of consequences and I thought it was incredibly written showing the weight on both Kell and Rhy’s shoulders after everything they both went through.
    I loved seeing Lila, and seeing the world through her eyes as well, though my god did it take her and Kell ages to be reunited again. I swear at one point when they were so close to meeting again but didn’t I nearly screamed at my book in frustration.
    Also yes I totally shipped Alucard and … the second it was introduced as a possibility for both characters! And Alucard is actually one of my favourite characters (he’s even better in ACOL than he was in this book if you can believe it!)
    It’s a shame the pacing wasn’t as good in this one as the first, but hopefully that’s something that will be solved with the third book. Happy reading, and great review as well! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Beth!! And I will definitely be letting you know the second I finish ACOL because I know I’m going to want to freak out over it with you. I want to know how it ends up at the same time I never want it to end! I’m going to miss the characters too much. 😢
      Before the cliffhanger I was kind of kicking myself for having not read the series sooner but after the cliffhanger I’m really glad. I can only imagine how terrible it was to have to wait a whole year to find out what happened!
      I loved the character development in Rhy and Kell too. I feel that it’s not often that we see the real weight of consequences on characters when they screw up in books and the fact that, no matter how much it hurt to see them go through it, we see that in this is a testament to how three dimensional the characters are. And also how incredible V.E. Schwab is at writing characters. They really did seem a bit more innocent and reckless in the first book before all the danger. Though I do wish most of the blame hadn’t only fallen on Kell. It made me dislike the King and Queen a bit. I think the Dane twins would have done something even if Kell hadn’t brought the stone into Red London.
      It really did! I was getting so frustrated with how long it took Lila and Kell to be reunited too but at the same time I was amused with it. I love the way they were reunited though and the fact that Lila found out Kell was competing before Kell found out she was. It was the best. 😂 I swear I ship those two as much as Warden and Paige and that is saying something considering how much I love Warden and Paige.
      I think I shipped Alucard and Rhy even before it was a possibility and I’m not even sure why. I just thought they would be good together and then when everything was revealed I was like YAY. Though reading ACOL right now and having just gotten past the part where Osaron’s magic kills his little sister I can say that I’m so heartbroken for him and cried. 😭
      ALSO! Because I NEED to talk about it. I am so mad about Calla! When Lila finds her in the Night Market and she is dead and LILA CRIED I CRIED.
      So far the pacing in the third book is making up big time for the pacing in the second. So much is happening that even when it isn’t all action it feels like it’s going faster. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      • Please do, I’ll make sure I keep an eye out for your comments waiting for that one so we can start talking about it straight away. It’s going to be great talking about the whole series with someone else! 🙂 I felt the same way with ACOL, but at the same time I just couldn’t read it fast enough.
        Yeah that is definitely the bright side of not having started this series sooner, then again I think part of what me love ACOL as much as I did was the fact that I’d waited for it so long. No that’s what I think as well, and that’s one of the reasons I loved Feyre’s development in ACOMAF, she suffered after what happened in the first book and it just gave us another side to her character. It was the same with Kell and Rhy and it almost makes them more human in a way. There’s plenty of that in the last book I feel. V.E. Schwab is amazing at writing characters, all of the ones she’s introduced in this series I’ve loved, even Holland in his own way.
        I think they blamed him because they could blame him in a way. They needed someone to almost resent for what happened and it could by Rhy, for obvious reasons, and it couldn’t be anyone from White London because they weren’t in Red London so it kind of felt like it had to be Kell, NOT that I agree with the fact that they did blame him or anything.
        It just made it all the more worthwhile when they did finally reunite. At least that’s what I told myself anyway. I definitely ship those two as much as Paige and Warden. Oh really, I didn’t really make the Rhy and Alucard connection until they were actually in the same scene together and you could see the history between them. But oh after that I think I shipped them as much as I did Kell and Lila! 😀
        Oh my heart broke then as well. This book really ramps it all up. And I was so shocked when Calla actually died. I thought for sure she’d be one of the people who survived the magic, the same with Luc’s sister as well. I was a little shocked Schwab actually went there but oh it really added a lot more tension to the plot and made the threat of Osaron more real as well.
        Ohh, I can’t wait for you to finish this one Melissa, there’s so much more to come! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think that’s a bonus to reading a series before all the books are out. There’s a certain urgency with each book’s release because you’ve been waiting to know what happens next for so long. It amps up the excitement and can make you love a book even more.
        I feel the exact same about Feyre’s development in ACOMAF. Another great example of where we see the consequences of what’s happened on a character that ultimately helps them grow as a character. Definitely the same with Kell and Rhy and I agree that it made them more human in a way. I think it’s incredible when an author can create a fantasy world full of magical characters and then turn and make them feel completely human and real like that. And I also agree about V.E. Schwab being amazing at writing characters though it took me a while to warm up to Holland. I was confused on what I was supposed to feel towards him at first but in ACOL so far I really like him.
        You make a good point. I hadn’t actually thought of it that way but yeah it was like they blamed him because they needed someone to blame. Although, I think the ultimate consequence to putting all that blame on his shoulders is what led to Holland and Osaron getting a hold of Kell and consequently nearly killing Rhy (or actually killing him for a bit depending on how you look at it). Not that I don’t think Osaron wouldn’t have still ended up getting into Red London or that they couldn’t have possibly still gotten Kell but I do think that fast-tracked it all happening. And even though I think it’s good that he did have consequences for his part in ADSOM I still wanted to hug Kell and protect him in AGOS. 🙈
        I think it did make it more worthwhile. And I mean all of the scenes with Kell and Lila in ACOL so far? Definitely making up for the lack of them in AGOS! I think I shipped Rhy and Alucard before I knew mainly because of a conversation I had with Azia where she brought it up and it put the idea in my head. But, yeah, once it was revealed I started shipping them as much and Kell and Lila too.
        From what I’ve read so far it really does! I never thought so much could happen in a book within only the first 10%-20% but a lot did. And I so thought Calla and Anisa would survive too! But it definitely did make things more serious. Now I’m half-way through and really hoping none of my other favorites die. Hopefully I’ll be finished with it soon! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s how it’s been with most of the books I’ve read as each has been released, and while I love being able to jump from one to the other after they’ve all been released sometimes it does feel like the urgency isn’t there. No matter how amazing the cliff-hanger is it’s never a real cliffhanger because I immediately find out what happens next.
        Yes that was something done really well in ACOMAF and I was so pleased Maas actually included it rather than brushing over everything Feyre did. It’s nice even in a fantasy book like this one that there are things that make the characters human, that make us able to connect with them because if you think about it there’s little to Kell’s actions and abilities we can connect to never being able to experience them for ourselves. I was the same with Holland and ACOL, by the end I reckon you’ll love him! 😀
        None of them knew what was happening in White London, as far as the King and Queen were aware Kell brought a piece of magic into Red London, it nearly destroyed them but now the threat is over. It wasn’t obviously but I guess they didn’t realise their actions in blaming Kell would have such far reaching consequences. I was the same, but I did love how Rhy defended him a little and made him kind of step away from his self-blame a little. Rhy defending Kell as well is my favourite part of this series when it happens.
        Oh it does, and you still have a lot to come if I remember this book correctly (which I do because its amazing). Ah, OK that makes me feel a little better that I didn’t make the connection between Rhy and Alucard until the met in that case! 😀
        Ohh I seriously can’t wait for you to finish this series Melissa, it’s such an amazing book and I’m just so glad you’ve finally gotten around to it! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right? It’s been like that for me at times too when going from book to book in a series. Though with the Shades of Magic books going from AGOS and ACOL it was almost as if the cliffhanger was drawn out in the beginning and so much was happening. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
        Definitely and that’s why I believe characters and developing them and making them human are just as important in fantasy as the world building. With a fantastical world there have to be elements of the characters we connect with otherwise it lacks that and just doesn’t work out.
        Yeah, there’s that too. I understood why they never had Kell go back and check White London again after the events of the first book but at the same time I can’t help but thinking they should have had him peek in again. Then maybe they could have had the upper hand. Especially since the collar didn’t exist when Holland first came back from Black London. And I love how Rhy defended Kell too! Like in ACOL when he wakes up and stands up to his mom for Kell I was like “GO RHY!”. They may have won my favorite siblings spot in fantasy.
        I’m 76% into the book now and might just finish it by the middle of the week. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well I’m glad that hasn’t been the case with this series, seriously I don’t want anything to take away from how much you love these books, but yeah I was speed reading through the first few chapters because wow was it drawn out for a while!
        Exactly, if everything that happened to Rhy and Kell happened to me I’d have curled up into a ball and refused to move for a month at least, it’s kind of nice to see that these characters are still human enough to feel weak every now and again.
        It definitely would have helped, but then again maybe if Kell had seen how White London was thriving he would have reported back and the King and Queen wouldn’t have seen anything amiss, just a city recovering or something like that. I think Osaron would have still made his way to Red London one way or another.
        Yes I loved that scene. We saw a lot of Kell protecting Rhy so it was great to see the other way around as well. God knows Kell needs some protection as well!
        Oh that’s great to hear. I’ll be eagerly awaiting your comment letting me know you’ve finished ACOL! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s was like V.E. Schwab was all “I’m just going to kill my readers within the first few chapter because why not.” *evil laughter* 🙈
        Same. I think I would have been hiding in my room for longer than a month. I might not have wanted to leave my room again if I had gone through what Kell and Rhy did. I definitely wouldn’t have had the strength to do what Kell did when he was trying to get out of that thing in White London. I actually cringed at that part because ouch.
        True but also if they had seen White London thriving they might have sent Kell with a note for the new leader and then he would have found out about Holland sooner. Oh I definitely think Osaron would have gotten into Red London either way. It was only a matter of time.
        It really was. I was so happy that finally someone protected him because yeah he needs some too.
        I’ll definitely bet letting you know! I know I said it in another comment but only 20% left and I’m kind of procrastinating because I’m scared for the ending. 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m like 99% sure that’s what she was like, because I swear it nearly killed me!
        God no I would not have had the strength at all, then again I guess until we’ve been through what the book characters have (which hopefully won’t ever happen let’s be honest) we don’t really know what we’d do. And I guess Kell knew it wasn’t just his life at stake but his brothers as well, that must have given him extra strength in some way.
        Osaron wouldn’t have been content with White London, not when Red London was already thriving. With or without Holland he would have found his way there eventually.
        It’s like everyone but Rhy thought he was a machine more than a human or something.
        You got to the end eventually though didn’t you! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same. And I don’t think a book has ever broken my heart that quickly before.
        Very true. Not just that but even beyond his brother he was thinking about the fact that Osaron getting into Red London would be very bad for everyone there. Definitely gave him the extra strength. Although, it’s a good thing Lila showed up!
        Yep, he would have! And not to mention how he sort of tries to get into Grey London too. Even though he never makes it past the tavern. 😂
        Yes and I loved it! 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was like in the first few chapters wasn’t it? I remember thinking god if this is where the book has gone already where will we be by the end?
        Oh definitely, I wonder if even in Lila hadn’t shown up Kell would have been able to get back to Red London. He may have been able to find the strength from somewhere given his family and world were at risk.
        I loved that part of the story, when you thought Grey London would be at risk as well. I was so excited to see what he’d end up doing next! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was and I was thinking the exact same thing! That’s why I was scared for the ending. 😂
        I would like to hope he could have. But at the same time between the collar and Ojka I have a feeling he might have met his match. Injuries and no magic versus Ojka might not have ended well.
        I loved it too! Added an extra suspense element. I think Osaron couldn’t get past the tavern because of the fact that Grey London is virtually without magic beyond that place. Lucky for them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • If that’s the beginning what would the end have been like?!
        I think if Ojka hadn’t been there he would have managed it, but as she was it’s probably for the best Lila was able to come and rescue him.
        Very lucky, still those chapters with Ned in the tavern were very tense. I did think he’d make it through to Grey London eventually. Given more time he may have even managed it! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! She had me believing the book would shatter my heart completely. Which it did but it also made me really happy. 😂
        I love how Lila was always coming to Kell’s rescue. It’s not often that you have a book where the girl saves the guy more than the guy saves the girl.
        They really were! And I agree, given more time, Osaron definitely would have gotten into Grey London completely. Especially if he would have succeeded taking over Red London.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Happy but sad, that makes the very best books doesn’t it?
        Ha, yeah we definitely need more books where the female rescues the male, there aren’t currently enough of them.
        It would be interesting if she maybe wrote another version where Osaron did make it to Grey London, I’d love to see where the story went if that did happen you know? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep! Books that are a mixture of happy and sad are always my favorites. 😊
        There really aren’t. I need more of them in my life!
        I would love to see that too. Kind of like an alternate ending for ACOL? It would be cool if she ever wrote one. Though possibly heartbreaking.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same! I also think about what could possibly happen next with the characters. Like with Lila and her promising a favor for the new eye she got in ACOL. I had such a bad feeling about that favor. But then it wasn’t brought back up again. So much potential! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • So I just finished ACOL and CRIED SO MUCH! 😭
        Seriously the best series ender I have ever read, it was so good! At the same time part of me never wanted it to end though and wants so much more. Definitely just became one of my favorite trilogies ever. 🙌🏻
        Anyway! It’s 3am here and I should be asleep but I stayed up to finish it and had to let you know that I did. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my god that’s amazing! That you finished the series, not so much the crying part! 😀
        God it was an amazing ending wasn’t it, and was it Holland’s last chapter you cried at, it was definitely that for me. 🙂
        Wow you stayed up late reading then, and yay we’ll have to talk more about it when you’re awake again! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • It really was! It was the PERFECT ending! And it wasn’t just Holland’s last chapter that made me cry but literally the whole last part of the book. I was just sitting there with tears in my eyes even after I turned the last page. 🙈
        Yeah I was determined to get it finished even though at the same time I didn’t want it to end.
        I should have my review up sometime next week. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I agree, I honestly couldn’t have seen the series ending in any other way but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t heartbreaking. Holland literally tore my heart to pieces for most of the book come to think of it.
        In that case I’ll be keeping an eye out for your review! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here, god he just lost everyone didn’t he? I think the one that hurt the most for me was the one with the King before the Dane twins (can’t remember his name). They could have changed things together (also I kind of shipped them a little)!

        Liked by 1 person

      • He really did! It was like V.E. Schwab created him and then just destroyed him. By the end I wanted to steal him from the book and protect him. More so than Kell in AGOS.
        And that broke my heart too! I definitely think they could have changed things. Also, I’m with you on shipping them. I shipped them a bit too. (I also sort of shipped Holland and Rhy for like .5 seconds when I was reading ADSOM but then everything happened. 😂)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wanted him to have a happy ending. I guess it was never in the cards considering his character but I still hoped despite all that.
        God it would have been amazing if he’d survived. They both could have had such a different ending to their story if you think about it, and that’s just even more heartbreaking. Yeah I was the same, before Holland ended up betraying Rhy the way he did at the end of ADSOM.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wanted him to have a happy ending too! I almost thought he was going to live when he woke up in Red London (which I was shocked because I thought everything with Osaron killed him) but then Kell takes him back to White London and he dies. Then again I think, in a way, his ending was happy. Holland wanted to save White London and if V.E. Schwab was hinting at what I think she was hinting at when Holland died then he got what he wanted. It’s just extremely bittersweet because he’ll never get to see it. 😢
        Could you imagine Holland and Rhy together though? I mean if Alucard never existed and everything with the Danes never happened. I think they could have made and interesting couple because they’re so different form each other. 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh same here, I thought the second Osaron took him over that was the end of Holland. I’m glad we got more of his story, I think it was really important to his character development that we saw all that, but at the same time he deserved so much more. If she is hinting at what we think she was then I guess that can be Holland’s happy ending. 🙂
        They probably would have, in a world without the Danes Holland would have been a very different character wouldn’t he?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am too. It was definitely important to his character development. And I love the fact that V.E. Schwab created a character that was initially very hard to like but then ended up being one a lot of people loved. In a way he reminded me a little of Warner from the Shatter Me books. Except, well, Warner was never magically controlled by anyone.
        Most likely. I think he would have still had that darkness but just not as bad. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • I feel like even in the first book there was something about Holland that made me sympathize with him a little. It was so much bigger than that in the last book though wasn’t it?
        Ohh, I definitely get that connection, I feel like with Holland it was more of a change though. As we saw Juliette fall in love with Warden it must have softened readers towards him a little bit. Holland didn’t have that so his redemption was all his own in that aspect you know?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same, there was definitely something about him that made me sympathize with him a little in the first book too. But yeah, the last book it was way bigger. Mostly because we got that backstory that we didn’t have before.
        I completely agree, Holland did have more of a change and completely on his own as well. Which makes him stand out because you pointing out the romance aspect of Warner’s redemption makes me realize more often than not when villains are redeemed there’s a romance. At least in most that I’ve read.

        Liked by 1 person

      • In the first book you sympathized with him but he was still kind of on the wrong side so it was outweighed by his villain-ness. In the last book it was almost the opposite.
        It’s what made Holland’s change much more powerful, that it was all on his own, and I was so so glad that it wasn’t a case of him redeeming himself through death you know? I mean he did die in the end but it wasn’t sacrificing himself to stop Osaron which sometimes feels like a cheap way to redeem characters. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly, in the last book it really was almost the opposite. I love how she did that.
        I completely agree! I’m so glad it wasn’t a redemption through death. I’ve noticed that too about villain redemption also happening through a death and I don’t care for it. I’m glad V.E. Schwab let him survive everything that happened with Osaron because really everything with White London just aided in his redemption as well in my opinion. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve noticed it a lot as well, and yeah a lot of the time the death makes sense to the story but also a lot of the time I just feel it’s an easy way out. The evil character sacrifices his life and all is forgiven. I should have known V.E. Schwab would never take the easy way out but it was nice to read Holland’s journey either way! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beth, it’s official, I swear we so have some kind of book powers that make authors write sequels to series we really want sequels too because Tahereh Mafi just announced that she’s publishing three more Shatter Me books! 😱 The second I saw it I was like “I have to go tell Beth now!” It’s like with the Miss Peregrine’s books all over again. 😂
        I’m so excited though! And possibly a little worried for my favorites because there is a mention of lots of heartache for Juliette. And it’s going to be a dual POV with Warner as one of them!
        There’s an article about it here: http://ew.com/books/2017/04/26/tahereh-mafi-shatter-me-series-new-books/?xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter

        Liked by 1 person

      • I feel we definitely need to capitalise on these powers. What other finished series do we want to see carried on, we should see if we can work our powers on those as well! 😀
        But this sounds amazing! I knew the story couldn’t have been finished with book three and I’m so glad Tahereh Mafi agrees with that and is writing more books. This is going to be a highly anticipated release for me for sure! 😀 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Right? We so should! I mean I wouldn’t mind more Shades of Magic books. Or a Six of Crows spin-off. And then, of course, I want more TBS novellas. I need one in Jaxon’s POV and one in Warden’s POV. *wishes for all the books* 😂
        I knew it couldn’t have finished too! I binge read Ignite Me the night it was released and remember being like “What? That can’t be the end!” I didn’t dislike the ending but it left so much potential. And we’re going to get more Kenji! I can’t wait! Same here. I’ll be dropping everything next March to read the new book. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Shades of Magic is a big one, and I think Leigh Bardugo will be writing more in the Six of Crows world. Nina’s story is definitely one that has been left open so I think we’ll be seeing her again at some point.
        Ohh Jaxon’s and Warden’s POV stories would be amazing! I feel like a lot of the books I want sequels to are being released.
        Yeah there are books I’ve read that did the same thing, ended in such a way that it felt like there was something missing. I’m going to LOVE seeing more Kenji. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I’ve seen where Leigh has said she’ll be writing more in the Grisha world sooner or later. And I really want a Nina book! Nina’s story is one that has so much potential and openness that I need to know what’s in store next for her. Here’s to hoping that if we keep wishing for it we’ll get it sooner! 😊
        I also wouldn’t mind more books for Under the Never Sky. I feel like there is so much potential for more books in that world.
        Same about Kenji! I always need more Kenji in my life. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      • I do think Nina’s is a story she’ll expand on more later, or she’ll introduce new characters and maybe have a Nina cameo, like she did with Crooked Kingdom.
        Oh yes I’d love to see more from Under the Never Sky, and actually the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series (not sure if you’ve read that one) is a series that could definitely be expanded on. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think so too and that would be interesting if she did bring in new characters and then have Nina cameo. I also kind of wish we would get a Nikolai book. Ever since I read Shades of Magic I’ve been thinking about his character because Alucard reminded me of him. 🙈
        I have read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I definitely think that’s another that has so much potential for more books. It’s been a long while since I read the last book but it was more of an open ending too, wasn’t it?

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s what she did with Six of Crows in a way, introduced new characters but had a Nikolai cameo. Maybe that means the next book will go back to Nikolai you never know. 🙂
        It was left open but in a way that it could be a final ending. Leaving it up to our imaginations what we wanted to happen. I just really want more from that world though! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • I can only imagine! It makes me glad that I stuck with waiting for ACOL to be out before I read the series. 😂 And I actually started ACOL already and am LOVING IT so far. It’s so good!
      Thanks so much, Lauren!! 💕😊

      Like

  2. I will have to come back and read your review in detail later since I haven’t read the series yet 🙂 Hopefully you leaving off one star is not major and that you still enjoyed the read a lot?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic review, Melissa! You’ve said everything I’ve wanted to say about this book. Though the pacing was not as fast-paced as the first book, the deeper emphasis on character development and magic as well as the subtle thread of romance between Kell and Lila kept the story afloat. I grew to really love Lila in this book. She’s just so courageous and fearless, although I agree there were times I wanted her to calm down just a bit. It broke my heart how Kell was treated by the king and queen and his people. I just wanted to give him a huge hug and wrap him in a blanket the entire time. Rhy, too. Both my boys were suffering so much in this book 😥 Although, I really appreciated how Schwab gave Rhy a much larger role in the chain of events this time around. His character really grew in my eyes and I loved how both he and Kell worked through their situation as best as they could. Their connection is my favorite relationship in the entire series. Also, yes to Alucard, whom I love so very much, having feelings for you know who. I had a feeling the moment Lila worried the crew might think something was up if she kept visiting his cabins at night but he wasn’t worried they’d think that! I was just really hoping his love interest was you know who, which it was! And I just finished ACOL, so you best believe I am ECSTATIC about how his story ends. It annoyed me a bit how long it took Kell and Lila to reunite and I kind of wanted to see more of the battles during the game, but all in all, I loved this sequel!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Azia!! 😁 I completely agree, the pacing was a bit slower than the first book. I think that had a lot to do with how it felt everything was building to the cliffhanger ending to set up things for the last book. The Shades of Magic trilogy is definitely a slow-burn read. But, yeah, the character development and magic and all of that really kept everything going. I especially loved everything that happened with the Essen Tasch, it was interesting how it let us see other people from beyond Red London. Lila will always be my favorite! Especially after the second book. And same about Kell and Rhy! I just wanted to hug both of them and protect them. But at the same time I love how Schwab wasn’t afraid to have her characters face the consequences of things head on. She never brushed it off or made it suddenly vanish which can happen a lot in fantasy. Rhy and Kell’s relationship is definitely my favorite too. They’re officially my favorite siblings out of every fantasy book I’ve read! I was so happy when I found on who Alucard’s love interest was too. I remember we talked about it beforehand and I was like “YES! AZIA AND I WERE RIGHT!” 😂😂. I still can’t get over how much he reminds me of Nikolai though lol. You finished ACOL!? WHAT DID YOU THINK!? I swear that ending was beyond perfect! And Holland, he broke my heart. I cried. I was frustrated with how long it took Kell and Lila to reunite too but at the same time I love how they were reunited. It cracked me up when he realized that she was in the games. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, after finishing up, you could tell the events were all building up to that ridiculous cliffhanger. I’m glad she included the Essen Tach. That was a nice addition to the plot and it gave us a much wider view of her fantastical world! And yes! It was a smart choice for Schwab to delve further into the consequences of her characters’ actions. It’s good she didn’t erase the aftermath of their decisions and pretend like everything was fine afterwards. That would have been extremely bad storytelling and a straight-up cop out haha. We were so head on about Alucard and Rhy! I’m glad for it. And Alucard is so much like Nikolai. It was a great moment when Kell found out Lila was in the games. And yup, I finished ACOL. It was pure perfection, as you know haha XD

        Liked by 1 person

      • It really was! I feel like too often in fantasy consequences of the characters actions can get brushed off. I was so glad that Schwab didn’t go that. It just gave them more of at realistic light.
        I’m glad we were spot on about Rhy and Alucard too. For a second there I question it whenever he kissed Lila though. I was like “Wait… What?” 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah! When he kissed Lila, my theory that he was bi was shaken,but not too much. I was already convinced he was playing her in that moment 😂

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s