Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Gathering of Shadows: By V.E. Schwab



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.


The first thing I have to say about A Gathering of Shadows is that it is truly remarkable.

Why is it so remarkable you might ask?

Why it is because A Gathering of Shadows author V.E. Schwab is an amazing author who has improved in her craft and her novels worlds with every book she has written.

In A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab introduced readers to the four different worlds of London, Black, White, Red and Grey London, all of which have varying relationships to magic. Schwab did a wonderful job introducing readers to these worlds, and if that alone was the magic system in her series readers this would still be a great series. 

But Schwab in her infinite wisdom and love for her readers has blown the door off of its hinges when it comes to her novel's worlds and their magic systems. What I mean by this, is that readers learn in A Gathering of Shadows that London is an only a single entry spot for the different Londons and their respective worlds. This means that different locations all over the world also have different spots of power which might also have different connections to magic that have yet to be explored. 
If that wasn't enough Schwab also introduces readers to her book's version of the World Cup for Magic (or Tri-Wizard Tournament for Harry Potter fans), inviting magic casters from all different nations to compete for the honor of being best in the world. At this point in the review, you as the reader of this review must be thinking ok that's pretty awesome, but it can't possibly get any cooler, well you sir or madam are wrong! For on top of the tournament and different sources of magic different people from different countries have different beliefs regarding the source of magic, some believe magic comes from the ground itself and therefore must be walked upon to gather strength, others that you must embody the element you want to control, and so on and so forth, so that there are countless iterations of magic and all of them fascinating and full of possibilities. In fact, while I love Delilah, Rhy and Kell you could easily see Schwab after completing this story arc, leave London all together and instead visit another country's magic system, while having the characters from this series still exist in the background.

Speaking of Schwab's current cast of characters, Schwab has done a superb job of showing the ramifications of A Darker Shade of Magic, and how each of her main characters are affected in different ways. Rhy is depressed, Kell is trying to restrain himself in order to protect Rhy yet at the same time is pushed to the limits of what he will endure in terms of being subservient to the crown for Rhy's protection, and Delilah  is given a chance to grow and practice her growing powers. Other interesting characters are introduced and other older characters are brought back, but all in all Schwab's character development and voice she creates in each character are the reason to read her books.

While I have yet to describe the action or the pacing in this book, just know that it is incredibly well done. A Gathering of Shadows is filled to the brim with action to the point that I found myself awake reading A Gathering of Shadows deep into the night. Also I cite the Essen Tasch (the Tri-Wizard Tournament type of contest) in terms of awesomeness in action.

All in all, A Gathering of Shadows is a great book. It is engaging, exhilarating and full of wonderful characters and beautiful prose. I can't praise this book enough, and I implore you as a reader to give this book a chance, as I highly expect you to love it, but also so that Schwab is given the chance to write as many books in this wonderful world as she is willing to give us.


Publisher: Tor

Published: February 23, 2016

Price: $25.99

Link to Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Gathering-Shadows-V-E-Schwab-ebook/dp/B00WDVL07Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1457578974&sr=1-1&keywords=ve+schwab

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Immortals: By Jordanna Max Brodsky



The city sleeps. Selene DiSilva walks her dog along the banks of the Hudson. She is alone -- just the way she likes it. She doesn't believe in friends, and she doesn't speak to her family. Most of them are simply too dangerous.

In the predawn calm, Selene finds the body of a young woman washed ashore, gruesomely mutilated and wreathed in laurel. Her ancient rage returns. And so does the memory of a promise she made long ago -- when her name was Artemis.

The Immortals takes the stories of the Olympian Gods puts them in a situation where their powers have faded to almost nothing, adds a murder mystery centered around an ancient cult's ritual, and add a splash of romance to top it off.

Jordanna Max Brodsky has done a suburb job of bringing life to the ancient myths. Retelling the myths of old through the eyes of Artemis, thus shading each of these great and known stories in a different light. On top of these re-telling though, Brodsky has done a fantastic job recreating the Gods, showing the gods base cores as they would have changed over the millennia. Some fading, some going mad, while others retained small bursts of energy (Hermes and Dionysus), because of the reverence and worship of alcohol, drinking, communication and thievery (because being dishonest or getting drunk has never gone out of style).

Through all of this, Brodsky weaves a compelling story of treachery, loss and love, that is absolutely packed with nail biting adventure. As the plot thickens so too do the stakes, until readers are stuck feverishly reading until the wee hours of the morning trying to find out what happens next. Of course, to top off the action and ever building suspense, The Immortals is packed to the gills with shocking surprises that even experienced readers wont see coming.

All in all, I throughly enjoyed The Immortals. I thought it was well written, had a fantastic balance of action, mystery and budding romance, and was a real page turner. Overall The Immortals is a real treat.


Publisher: Orbit Books

Published: February 16, 2016

Price: $25.00