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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ARC Review: REBEL MECHANICS by Shanna Swendson

ARC Review: REBEL MECHANICS by Shanna Swendson
Rebel Mechanics

Written by: Shanna Swendson
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: July 14th 2015
Genres: Alternate History, Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads

A sixteen-year-old governess becomes a spy in this alternative U.S. history where the British control with magic and the colonists rebel by inventing.

It’s 1888, and sixteen-year-old Verity Newton lands a job in New York as a governess to a wealthy leading family—but she quickly learns that the family has big secrets. Magisters have always ruled the colonies, but now an underground society of mechanics and engineers are developing non-magical sources of power via steam engines that they hope will help them gain freedom from British rule. The family Verity works for is magister—but it seems like the children's young guardian uncle is sympathetic to the rebel cause. As Verity falls for a charming rebel inventor and agrees to become a spy, she also becomes more and more enmeshed in the magister family’s life. She soon realizes she’s uniquely positioned to advance the cause—but to do so, she’ll have to reveal her own dangerous secret.

MyThoughts_v2

You know those books that, for the entire time you’re reading them, make you ask yourself, “Why am I still reading this?!”

Rebel Mechanics was one of those books, for me.

Now, that’s not to say that it’s a bad book. It’s not. There wasn’t anything about it that upset me or made me actively dislike it — at least not that much. It’s just one of those books that was incredibly meh, for me.

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ARC Review: THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows

ARC Review: THE ORPHAN QUEEN by Jodi Meadows
The Orphan Queen
The Orphan Queen #1

Written by: Jodi Meadows
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books
Release date: March 10th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Add on: Goodreads

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

MyThoughts_v2

I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been more terrified to be the black sheep about a book. O_O Usually when I’m the black sheep, I’m not that much of a black sheep — maybe I didn’t like it quite as much as others, or maybe it wasn’t for me, but I can usually appreciate why others loved it…

So, this one is tough. I pushed through The Orphan Queen (for eighteen days, save me), because so many people were so vocal about their love for it. I mean, you know me, I have no problem DNFing and dropping a book if I hate it — but I pushed through. Why? Because at first, I didn’t actively dislike much. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it, and I kept hoping something would finally click and I would See The Light…

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t end up Seeing The Light. I can usually at least understand the appeal even if I didn’t love a book myself, but with this one… I’m stumped. I don’t see it. I don’t get it. And that makes me sad. :(

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ARC Review: THE WINNER’S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski

ARC Review: THE WINNER’S CRIME by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner's Crime
The Winner's Trilogy #2

Written by: Marie Rutkoski
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release date: March 3rd 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads
Also by this author: The Winner's Curse


** SPOILERS FOR THE WINNER'S CURSE IN SYNOPSIS! **

Book two of the dazzling Winner's Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

MyThoughts_v2

After I read The Winner’s Curse, I said that it was “everything I wanted it to be, and nothing like I expected.” Coming into The Winner’s Crime, of course, my expectations were different — they were even higher, and much more specific. I knew what the world would be like, how detailed the worldbuilding could be, and how adept Rutkoski is at crafting nuanced, complex characters. I desperately wanted The Winner’s Crime to live up to book 1, to exceed it, to go even more places that I didn’t expect but loved desperately.

And oh man, did it ever. Starting this book, and falling back into Rutkoski’s gorgeous writing, beautiful metaphors, and heart-wrenching characters… everything clicked from the very start. There’s nothing like starting a sequel and, after just a couple of pages, having no doubt that it would be just as good, if not better, than the first.

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ARC Review: FIREFIGHT by Brandon Sanderson

ARC Review: FIREFIGHT by Brandon Sanderson
Firefight
Reckoners #2

Written by: Brandon Sanderson
Published by: Delacorte
Release date: January 6th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads


** STEELHEART SPOILERS! PROCEED WITH CAUTION! **

They told David it was impossible—that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart—invincible, immortal, unconquerable—is dead. And he died by David's hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic—Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

MyThoughts_v2

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS. I’ve been waiting FOREVER to post this review. I read Firefight over two months ago, thanks to Mark letting me and a few other bloggers borrow his ARC (thanks again, Mark!), and omg. This book has been burning a hole in my brain ever since.

First off, though — have you read Steelheart? Because if you haven’t, it would probably be better to start by reading my review of that book, rather than this one. See, Firefight is a sequel, and A) We wouldn’t want you to get spoiled (the synopsis above IS SPOILERY, thus the warning, but this review is spoiler-free — unless you really don’t want to know whether the main character dies at the end of Steelheart or something). But also, B) If you read this review first, well, that would just be like eating dessert before dinner: You’ll never want to go back and read that earlier review if you read this one fir — wait, no… umm… It’s like dessert before dinner because this book, like dessert, is just better than the first course — wait, no… “better”? Maybe… but also just “different”… But it’s necessary to eat dinner first, you know? And then, obviously, dessert is also required. Um…

Oh gosh, someone please shut me up, I’m channeling David and I don’t know how to make it stop.

(Don’t know who David is? *coughclickthiscough*)

OKAY, now we’ve got that out of the way, I guess maybe you want to know how I liked this book.

Well, I liked it. I liked it a lot. If you’re smart, and you’ve already read Steelheart, CONGRATULATIONS: Here’s an easy test for you to see if you should read this sequel: Did you like Steelheart at all? No, seriously, like, at all. A little, OMG SO MUCH, whatever? …Yes, you did? Well, then, there’s no question: You need Firefight in your life. Immediately. Really, that’s all you need to know. But read on if you want more information. ;)

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ARC Review: BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater

ARC Review: BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater
Blue Lily, Lily Blue
The Raven Cycle #3

Written by: Maggie Stiefvater
Published by: Scholastic Press
Release date: October 21st 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 391
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Buy: B&N, Amazon, Book Depository
Add on: Goodreads


There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

MyThoughts_v2

Adam understood, then, that Gansey and Blue’s awe changed this place. Ronan and Adam may have seen this place as magical, but Gansey and Blue’s wonder made it holy. It became a cathedral…

ARC, pg 356

Once you get to the third book in a series, it ends up being really hard to talk about that book without giving things away. The plot has moved on, huge things might have changed, and it’s really easy to let little things slip, even when you’re trying to avoid talking about anything spoilery. So forgive me if this review is a little short on details and heavy on vague feels… but that’s just the way it’s gotta be.

Things get underway pretty quickly in Blue Lily, Lily Blue. The whole… Glendower situation is escalating FAST now, and SO MUCH HAPPENS in this book, it’s frightening. You go into it thinking, Okay, I’m fine, there’s still one more book in this series, I can handle this, and then as things start to explode (I mean… figuratively…), you realize, Oh, no, I really can’t handle this, why is this stuff happening NOW, what is GOING ON I DIDN’T ASK FOR THESE FEELS!!! Except you totally did, so you’re totally fine with them. Except you’re totally not.

And that’s just the plot. That’s not even getting into the characters. Because holy crap, these characters.

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