A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab

A violent—and violently beautiful—book. | THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab
This Savage Song
Monsters of Verity #1

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Greenwillow Books
Release date: July 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Source: Edelweiss
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

MyThoughts_v2

I’ve been putting off finishing this review for so long, you guys. This is a tough one. But not because I didn’t love it. It’s tough becuase I did love it. Way too much.

Sunai, Sunai, eyes like coal,

Sing you a song and steal your soul…

I first read This Savage Song back in December, and I fell completely head-over-heels for it. But like many books I love, This Savage Song is not easy to explain, and neither are my feelings about it. I tried writing down some vague notes after the first time I read it, but honestly? I was in such a state of “oh my god this book how why i just can’t ugh,” and those notes didn’t make much sense. So I re-read the book in May, hoping it would help clarify my earlier notes and give me a better idea how to express my feelings. …It didn’t. But what it did do is solidify my very firm belief that Victoria Schwab’s books are all incredible, and they just keep getting better and better. This Savage Song is no exception. It is phenomenal.

This Savage Song does so many things so, so well. This is a violent, and violently beautiful, book. There is a lot of darkness — it’s set in a city where violent acts create literal monsters — but the way that darkness contrasts with hope and light is just… achingly gorgeous. The writing is incredible, as well. Victoria Schwab strikes the perfect balance for me, between words that simply disappear in favor of the story, and beautiful prose that reaches out of the pages and grabs me and doesn’t let go.

Other than those constants in Schwab’s works, there are three other things I want to talk about that This Savage Song does so well: its characters, its emotions, and its message.

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A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…

A Gathering of EMOTIONS—I mean, Shadows…
A Gathering of Shadows
Shades of Magic #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Tor
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Format: ARC
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository, Audible
Add on: Goodreads


** Spoilers for book 1 in this synopsis!! **

Four 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.

My Thoughts

As I start writing this review, I’ve literally just finished this book, and I just… can’t. I can’t. I sort of just want to leave you with a screenshot of my Goodreads updates and leave it at that, but I won’t do that to you. I actually do need to get some words out. Because this book is amazing and I really need to tell you why. So here goes.

Where do I even begin…?

A Gathering of Shadows is the kind of book I adore — one whose driving force is the characters. I can’t say too much about the plot, because a huge chunk of plotty stuff is packed into the end — along with a SUPER COOL MAGICAL TOURNAMENT heck yes — with a lot of ominous lead-up to that plotty stuff along the way. Shadows isn’t slow, though, and a plot-heavy conclusion doesn’t mean that stuff doesn’t happen in the rest of the book. Oh man. Stuff happens. And so much of that stuff is my favorite thing — character-focused.

These bromances are my favorite.

So, here’s a bit of background: Kell is restless after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, and he desperately needs an outlet to let off some magical steam. Kell’s discontent is rubbing off on Rhy thanks to their bond; and Rhy is also suffering a devastating amount of guilt over all the deaths that happened in his kingdom, which he sees as his fault. (Cue me clutching Rhy to my heart and protecting him for all time, my little cinnamon roll 😭)

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Waiting on Wednesday – A Gathering of Shadows

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

 

Waiting on Wednesday – A Gathering of Shadows
A Gathering of Shadows
Shades of Magic #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Tor
Release date: February 23rd 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 512
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads

* * SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 BELOW!!!!! * *

Four 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.

WhyImWaiting_v2

I’m sorry, guys. I’m so sorry.

…Actually, no, what am I saying? I’m totally not sorry. ;)

I know I go on about V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic — but honestly, it’s just that it’s the most ‘me’ book I’ve come across in YEARS AND YEARS (I don’t want to say “ever”, but… yeah). The cover(s — US and UK) and title and synopsis were revealed today and I’m pretty much incapable of choosing another book to feature in today’s WoW.

I mean, do you see that cover, above?! And look at this:

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ARC Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

ARC Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic
Shades of Magic #1

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Tor
Release date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 400
Source: Gifted from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads


Kell is one of the last travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king—George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered—and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London—a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

MyThoughts_v2

There’s this feeling I sometimes get after finishing a book — it’s extremely rare, and only happens when the book was a whole other level of intense and amazing. It’s this euphoric, wrung-out, disoriented stupor, and it leaves you speechless and reeling.

Well, I got that feeling after finishing A Darker Shade of Magic. And that’s the highest praise I can give.

Victoria Schwab originally teased A Darker Shade of Magic as “pirates, thieves, and sadist kings.” If you’re any sort of fan of her work, and she throws those words at you, you’re a goner. But then you read the synopsis (Schwab-fan or not), and you sort of side-eye it. How is this possible? This book seems to have way too much going for it, way too many good things in it — How? Why? What’s going on? Is this for real?!

Well, before you get too excited, let me just make it clear how many good things there are in this book, because the synopsis actually doesn’t cover it.

  • (Aspiring) pirate ✓
  • Thieves ✓
  • Sadist kings ✓✓
  • Amazing magic system(s) ✓✓✓
  • Flawless worldbuilding ✓✓✓✓
  • London(s) ✓✓✓✓
  • Fabulous magical coats ✓
  • Incredible characters ✓✓✓✓
  • Amazing friendships/brOTP’s/nemeses ✓✓✓✓✓
  • Ship potential (no insta-anything) ✓!!!
  • Banter ✓!!!!!!!
  • FEELS ✓✓✓✓✓✓!!!!!!!

Yep, your eyes do not deceive you. A Darker Shade of Magic ticks ALL THE BOXES — and revels in it.

A Darker Shade of Magic does with the fantasy genre what Vicious did with superheroes. It takes things we’ve seen before — magic, evil tyrants, world(s)-in-danger, etc — and turns them upside-down. Raises the stakes. Makes them new. This is fantasy at its finest — and Victoria Schwab at her best — and it is not to be missed.

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Waiting on Wednesday – A Darker Shade of Magic

WoW_v131019
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine,
which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating!

 

Waiting on Wednesday – A Darker Shade of Magic
A Darker Shade of Magic
Shades of Magic #1

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Release date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—and as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London... but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

WhyImWaiting_v2

GUYS YOU SHOULD NOT BE WONDERING WHY I’M WAITING ON THIS BOOK.

Okay sorry for the capslock, but that’s really all my brain can think in, when I’m thinking about this book. Victoria Schwab is one of my favorite authors/humans of all time, and her books are seriously freaking AMAZING. I have no idea how she did it, but she basically picked all these awesome things straight off of my I-NEED-IT-IN-MY-LIFE list when she came up with this book because it has (according to her post on Goodreads):

  • Magic [Yes, please.]
  • Cross-dressing thieves [Girls masquerading as boys are one of my VERY FAVORITE THINGS EVER so just shut up.]
  • (Aspiring) pirates [PIRATES!]
  • Londons (plural) [PLURAL! I MEAN WHAT. HOW DO YOU GET MORE AWESOME THAN THAT.]
  • Sadistic kings (and queens)
  • A royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness [Let’s be real, who DOESN’T need this character in their life.]
  • More magic (blood magic, elemental magic, bad magic, etc. etc.)
  • Epic magicky fights scenes [YES PLEASE.]
  • Angst! [I am so there.]
  • And coats with more than two sides [I don’t know what this entails but I’LL TAKE IT.]

Just make your way down that list, and every. single. thing. is something I need in my life RIGHT NOW. Combine all of them, and I guarantee you this is a book you do not want to miss.

Add it to your Goodreads shelves, tell Siri to remind you when it’s coming out (Feb 24!! SO FAR AWAY OMG), tell your friends about it, request it from your library (okay it actually is probably too early for that but whatever), PREORDER IT NEARLY NINE MONTHS IN ADVANCE — just make sure you have a way to get your hands on this book when it comes out. I’m telling you. Seriously.

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

Link me to your WoW post and I’ll be sure to stop by! :)

Book Review: THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab

Exactly one year ago today, I started reading The Archived for the first time. It was one of my very first reviews on TWBI, and it has remained one of my all-time favorites since then. And today, one year after reading The Archived, I am so excited to be a part of Victoria Schwab’s blog tour for its sequel, The Unbound♥ I could not be more excited, and not just because of that lovely coincidence, but also because this book delivered on so many levels.

If you haven’t read The Archived, don’t worry — there are no major spoilers in this review! And there’s an extra-special giveaway at the end! So check it out…

Book Review: THE UNBOUND by Victoria Schwab
The Unbound
The Archived #2

Written by: Victoria Schwab
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Release date: January 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 368
Source: Author
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Last summer, Mackenzie Bishop, a Keeper tasked with stopping violent Histories from escaping the Archive, almost lost her life to one. Now, as she starts her junior year at Hyde School, she's struggling to get her life back. But moving on isn't easy -- not when her dreams are haunted by what happened. She knows the past is past, knows it cannot hurt her, but it feels so real, and when her nightmares begin to creep into her waking hours, she starts to wonder if she's really safe.

Meanwhile, people are vanishing without a trace, and the only thing they seem to have in common is Mackenzie. She's sure the Archive knows more than they are letting on, but before she can prove it, she becomes the prime suspect. And unless Mac can track down the real culprit, she'll lose everything, not only her role as Keeper, but her memories, and even her life. Can Mackenzie untangle the mystery before she herself unravels?

With stunning prose and a captivating mixture of action, romance, and horror, The Unbound delves into a richly imagined world where no choice is easy and love and loss feel like two sides of the same coin.

MyThoughts_v2

There is something about Victoria Schwab’s Archived series that moves me on so many levels. The Archived and The Unbound are both incredibly, beautifully written, and they effortlessly pull on your emotions. They’re exciting, heart-wrenching, intense, and completely un-put-down-able, and they will give you feels like crazy. They’re just… utterly wonderful.

In this latest installment, Our Heroine, Mackenzie Bishop, is desperately trying to recover from the events that took place at the end of The Archived, but she’s suffering from horrible nightmares about the History she faced. This leads to long periods of time without sleep, which lead to blackouts… and worse. Mackenzie feels like her reality is starting to unravel. Add to that, the fact that people around her are disappearing, and Mac isn’t sure if she’s making connections where there are none, if she’s somehow the causes of these disappearances, of if there’s actually something sinister going on… and that people at the Archive may be responsible.

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