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 😭)

Continue reading

Susan Dennard’s new YA fantasy is NOT to be missed!!

I received this book for free from Tor Teen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Susan Dennard’s new YA fantasy is NOT to be missed!!
Truthwitch
The Witchlands #1

Written by: Susan Dennard
Published by: Tor Teen
Release date: January 5th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: BookExpo America 2015
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

My Thoughts

I’m gonna throw some fandoms at you really quickly: Avatar: The Last Airbender. Grisha. Throne of Glass.

You like those things? How about a mashup of those things? Because Truthwitch is… okay, well, it’s not really a mashup of those things, because it is 1000% its own thing, but I’m trying to say if you like those things you will likely also like Truthwitch. Yes? Yes. Good. Moving on… (Can you tell it’s really hard for me to be coherent about this book?? Bear with me. There is so much to like about Truthwitch, and I have so much to say.)

Firstly: I gravitate toward fantasy because I love the escapism of it — give me a cool new world and some awesome magic and I’ll be happy. …But that’s actually a lie. Even fantasy books can’t hold my interest unless there are great characters.

Truthwitch is filled to the brim with fantastic characters.

Continue reading

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:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

ARC Review: THE GLASS ARROW by Kristen Simmons

I received this book for free from Tor Teen. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: THE GLASS ARROW by Kristen Simmons
The Glass Arrow

Written by: Kristen Simmons
Published by: Tor Teen
Release date: February 10th 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

MyThoughts_v2

Ahhhh, these are the worst kinds of reviews to write. The ones where you know the book you just read was objectively not bad, and that a lot of people will like it, but it just wasn’t a “you” book. That’s my problem with The Glass Arrow. It really wasn’t a “me” book. It had a lot of interesting elements, and a lot of potential, and a couple of good characters, but… unfortunately, it just really wasn’t my thing.

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday – The Glass Arrow

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 – The Glass Arrow
The Glass Arrow

Written by: Kristen Simmons
Published by: Tor Teen
Release date: February 10th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: The Glass Arrow

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

WhyImWaiting_v2

Firstly, LOOK AT THE PRETTY COVER! Secondly, read that synopsis. Did you read it? Yeah. It sounds GOOD. But mostly, I want to read this because, of the few people I know who have read it already, they’ve all LOVED it. And I’m not sure really whether this is supposed to be dystopian, or fantasy, or post-apocalyptic… BUT I DON’T CARE. Kristen Simmons also wrote the Article 5 series, which I haven’t read either (ugh I know), but I heard great things about THAT series, as well, which gives me really high hopes for this one. :D

What book are YOU anxiously awaiting today?

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

 

PS: If you’re a fan of The Darkest Minds trilogy, OR if you haven’t read it yet, I’ve got a prize pack giveaway going on right now, including the full trilogy, a tote, and awesome camera-phone accessories! :D