Mini Reviews: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, Him

Posted June 8, 2016 by Wendy in Mini Reviews, Reviews / 2 Comments

Mini Reviews: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, HimA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Published by Macmillan on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, General
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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—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, 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.

loved this one! It was really everything that I love in fantasy. It was so unique with all the different Londons and I absolutely loved watching them unfold and learning more about each one and the magic involved and that was intrinsic to each. Besides the uniqueness of the magic, I absolutely loved the characters. We have Kell, who can travel between Londons, who has a fabulous coat with many, many, layers and is adopted into the royal family because of what he can do. He’s never felt like he belonged there, despite the close brother relationship he has with Prince Rhy. Rhy is cocky, flirty and charming. He is a stereotypical prince but in other ways, not, because he truly does care and I loved him and loved how close he and Kell were.

Then there is Lila Bard, who is such an individual, I feel like I’ve never read the likes of her before! She just wants adventure and to see the world and if it means rebelling or taking risks, so be it! I loved her spirit and her fierceness.

Basically, Victoria Schwab created these heavily layered characters who were simply fantastic. I became so invested in their lives. And not only did the characters jump off the page, I was completely wrapped up in the story! Like, this is what fantasy is about! The descriptions were beautiful and storytelling even more so and the world that is created is just one of a kind and so intriguing! If you’re a fantasy fan, this is a must, and if you’re not, this is one you must try!

My Rating: mario_star_four1/2

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Mini Reviews: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, HimA Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
Published by Macmillan on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, Contemporary
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-stars

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 extravagent 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-and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall... in V.E. Schwab's A Gathering of Shadows.

So… I know. You literally just read my gushing review of ADSOM. As you can see, I loved ADSOM. It had all the things I love in fantasy and I could not have been more excited to dive into AGOS. Unfortunately, I was sort of a black sheep on this book.

Firstly, I was bored. This book is long and I swear, for the first almost 400 pages not much happens. The set up is that there are these Element Games, right? Guess what? They didn’t start until about pg 400. The lead up to it? Lila traveling back to Red London. Kell dealing with some stuff. I just felt like it was a lot of filler and maybe if during this time there was a lot of character development or.. something, I wouldn’t have been as annoyed, but I was just simply bored. Which really sucks because as you can see, I was in LOVE with the first book.

So. Basically the last 100 pages were magnificent and I was glued to the book but that’s not going to make up for the first 400 pages. Also, this one ends on a cliff hanger. I literally feel like this was a filler book and this series could’ve been a duology because I feel like the third book will be epic and be back to how amazing book one was. So obviously I’m reading the last book but geez, I was sorely disappointed in this one. Also, I’m confused because most everyone I know loved this so I’m clearly just a black sheep here.

My Rating: mario_star_three

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Mini Reviews: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, HimHim by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Published by Rennie Road Books on July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 276
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?
Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.
Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.
Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend...and a big one to learn about himself.
Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

If you’re looking for a steamy, sexy, sporty book, this is it. (Woo, alliteration!) I absolutely fell in love with Jamie and Wes! They were incredible. I loved the set up, the setting and all of their interactions as they sort through their feelings and their relationship. I love hockey books to begin with and also love camp stories, so this was kind of the best of everything.

I feel like this one was also low on the angst which always helps. It was overall just refreshing and happy and made me smile because yay banter! I think I read about 50% of this book without meaning to — it’s just that type of read where you won’t want to put it down until you’re done and you get your happy ending! Pun not intended…? And yes, this book is steamy, caution do not read in public.

My Rating: mario_star_four

That’s it for these mini reviews! Have you read these and what are your thoughts? I know I was a major black sheep on AGOS — anyone else?

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2 responses to “Mini Reviews: A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, Him

  1. Well, I’m really happy that you loved ADSOM so much but sorry that AGOS fell flat for you. I actually just finished AGOS myself and I really enjoyed it but I can see where you’re coming from too. The focus is on the characters this time around and so the action sort of took a back seat. I’d wanted to get to know Kell, Lily, Rhy and the rest more though so it worked for me XD Hopefully ACOL delivers for both of us 😀

  2. I keep meaning to read both ADSOM and AGOS so I’m super grateful for your reviews. Your description of AGOS reminds me of The Hunger Games where I spent the first half of the book being like “are we gonna do this or what?” but 400 pages feel crazy long to wait >__<