Tag Archives: book review

I’ll Give You the Sun | Review

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I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

4.5 stars because of the insta-”split-aparts”-love and because it wrapped up just a little too nicely at the end. But I don’t really care because I loved it.

Twins Noah and Jude are sometimes more like NoahandJude – two halves of the same soul. But as they get older and start to face what it means to be a teenager and to realize that your parents aren’t perfect, NoahandJude starts to fission, a wedge slowly forcing them apart.

I’ll Give You the Sun is told from both Noah and Jude’s perspectives, but in different timelines. Noah’s story begins when the twins are 13; Jude’s when they’re 16. And slowly, their stories start to come together and only then can they understand the truth.

There’s a heavy influence on art and metaphor, and the writing definitely reflects that. It’s artsy and lyrical and reminiscent of magical realism, and I absolutely loved it. Especially from Noah’s POV:

“I love you,” I say to him, only it comes out, “Hey.”
“So damn much,” he says back, only it comes out, “Dude.”

I just really loved Noah and how he saw the world, how he would paint everything in his mind (SELF-PORTRAIT: Boy Rowing Madly Back Through Time), and his angst of growing up and staying true to yourself and falling in love and the jealousy of siblings. And I really, really wanted to see his artwork.

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

And then there’s Jude, who walks with the ghosts of her family, who carries onions in herpocket to avoid serious illnesses, who creates sculptures out of sand.

They see the world differently, but they’re both haunted by their various demons, and they need one another in ways they don’t understand. And they make mistakes. They’re selfish and cruel and jealous, and make poor decisions out of anger. But they’re teenagers, and what teenagers don’t do those things?

Also, Guillermo Garcia is one of my favorite mentor-type characters ever.

As for the story, the twist with their mother was predictable, but it set up a nice catalyst for Noah’s revelations about himself, his family, and what it means to love.

Jude’s love story was a little too perfect, the ending a little too happy, but there’s definitely magic in this contemporary, and I simply adored it.

Homegoing | Review

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Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing is an absolutely beautiful debut novel about life, family, identity, and home.

It follows the story of two branches of the same family in Ghana, from the beginning of the slave trade to present day. One branch stays in Ghana, the other is sold into slavery in America, and slowly these two branches twist and turn and wind up back home.

The chapters alternate between branches, and each chapter is a new perspective, a new generation. You see how the current situation and culture affects that character, that family, as time continues to pass. Times aren’t always easy, and we witness firsthand the slave trade, slave life in the American south, the Fugitive Slave Act, Jim Crow, and the Great Migration. We see the tribal wars of Ghana, “African witchcraft”, and the effect of the White Man on African culture.

And yet we also see love and family, how despite being beaten down, people can rise up again and take control of their lives, despite being told they can’t.

The characters are so well developed, so rich and individual, and the history complex and authentic. It’s a 300-year family saga so complex and heartbreaking, yet inspiring and absolutely beautiful.

Curioddity | Review

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Curioddity by Paul Jenkins

If you were to take Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and blend it with a bit of Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore then throw in the quirkiness of All My Friends are Superheroes, you’d get Curioddity. It’s a fantastically weird novel in all the best ways.

Life is pretty bland for Wil Morgan, and has been since he was 10. He trudges through life (trudging being one of his favorite activities), is haunted by the clock tower that can’t seem to work correctly, and has a daily battle with the teenage barista over his morning coffee. Nothing seems to go right for him. When Mr. Dinsdale of the Curioddity Museum shows up and enlists his help, however, Wil learns to unlook at things to see them truly.

The main theme of Curioddity is “your eyes only see what your mind lets you believe,” which I absolutely love. Only when Wil allows himself to let his imagination take control, to go off the one-way road, does he find himself and happiness again. It’s a great message.

Curioddity is smartly written, with metaphors for today’s society cleverly interwoven. Wil is harassed by a QVC salesman, his too smart Lemon phone, and Pan’s robust statue; and consumerism and laziness means spending more money just to avoid the red tape.

My only complaints were the pacing (I tended to read it in chapter chunks rather than binging it, though it does pick up towards the end) and some of the objects and events were hard to picture purely because of their strangeness.

At times, things felt too easy, but I suppose that was the point. There are even moments when the characters look at one another and address this, so while it was intentional, I would’ve still liked to see a bit more struggle at times.

Paul Jenkins’ history of writing for video games and comic books has helped flesh out his debut novel. It’s well structured, well written, and a fun adventure. Curioddity is very much in the realm of Neil Gaiman: a quirky and inventive magical realism that helps you see the world upside down.

*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for an honest review*

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | review

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne

First off, let me preface this by saying (for those who don’t know): I LOVE Harry Potter. Like so many others, I grew up reading the books, wanted to be Hermione, went to as many midnight releases as I could (both books and movies), instilled a “Harry Potter week” at the camp I used to work for, and even have a Harry Potter tattoo. Harry Potter is life.

Some people hate the continued content J.K. Rowling has put out since publishing the final book but I eat up every little bit, wanting to devour as much of the Wizarding World as I possibly can. Did I think she made a mistake in some of her history of the wizarding world in America? Yes, absolutely. Do I hate that she said (spoiler) Ron and Hermione shouldn’t have ended up together? 100% (R/H is my OTP and I even named my wedding table after them – they were all named after literary couples, so this isn’t as weird as it initially sounds). BUT, any additional information about her fantastic world is welcome to me.

Despite that, I was hesitant to pick up Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I still bought it at midnight (here’s the link to my vlog of that night: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESwSguiwfLQ) and read it first thing in the morning, but I was apprehensive going in. Would she break up my OTP? Did I really want to read about Harry’s humdrum life at the Ministry, about him adulting? Was I ready for adult issues from my favorite, golden trio?

11adf1b0-fd14-0133-805a-0e31b36aeb7fHarry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up with the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (a section many fans dislike), with Harry sending off his eldest two children to Hogwarts, and a young Albus is nervous about the sorting.

Here’s where things start to veer from the books, however. The Albus in the Deathly Hallows epilogue seems quiet, nervous, but overall a happy and well adjusted kid. The Albus in Cursed Child is not. This eleven year old boy is conflicted, troubled, and living in a heavy shadow of his father.

And so Cursed Child begins.

The story itself is a fun throwback to Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire (sometimes a little too on the nose), and it’s classic Harry Potter adventuring: kids think they know everything and make decisions that affect the entire wizarding world without consulting adults. We get to explore the effects of the decisions Harry and co. made so many years ago, and see how some of our favorite characters have fared post-Voldemort.

2333The hardest part for me, however, was seeing the trio as adults. It’s been nine years since the last Potter book hit the shelves, but we’re catching up with Harry in today’s timeline. When I read the books growing up, I was aging with Harry (I was 10 when the first book came out and 20 when the final one did), but now, Harry is way past me. He’s in a different stage of life than I am, and I found it harder to relate to him. I’ve never been 40, never had kids; I don’t know the struggles of parenting yet.

I also associate these three as teenagers saving a world that’s bigger than them, so to see them in their boring Ministry jobs and home lives, away from Hogwarts and Voldemort and the thrills (and anguish) that came with it, was difficult. I miss the precarious attitudes and adventures of youth.

The other thing that Cursed Child suffers from is the play format, which did it a bit of a disservice because the limits of the story are constrained by the time and scale, and reading it left something to be desired. Novels allow for nuance, slow build up, strong character development, thoughts, emotions, and details, but plays rely on the actors’ performances and set designs. Cursed Child is already a two part play, and I still feel like so much was skipped over or left out. Plays are meant to be performed, and I think this one is no different. On stage, it’s probably magical and a theatrical wonder, but on the page it’s lacking that dynamic layering that performances can give.

On to spoilery thoughts:

I wasn’t a fan of the reveal that Voldemort secretly had a child. I thought it was way too simple and also out of character for He Who Must Not Be Named, a loveless shell of a man who never cared for anyone other than himself. I just didn’t buy it.

tumblr_oawwevXdqo1uhoadvo1_1280Albus’ sorting into Slytherin and friendship with Scorpius made me happy, however. I thought it could’ve been simple for her to put him in Gyffindor and struggle to live up to Harry’s legacy in his own house, but putting him in Slytherin shook things up. It showed not all Slytherins are evil (finally) and allowed him to sort out his own legacy (even if he made some stupid decisions and I just wanted to shake him half the time). Scorpius is my new favorite character, though, and I’m glad Malfoy got to redeem himself.

The time travel element felt cheap to me, but it was a good way to bridge the stories of Harry and Albus together, to bring readers/viewers in, and it also allowed for the idea that every death and detail in the original story is important, that without each of those elements, time would have moved in a very different way. Death, particularly of the innocent, is hard on those around it, and sometimes we can’t get over it, but that might be the reason the war is won.

This meddling with time also just proved how much Ron and Hermione are right for one another, despite Rowling’s later admission. Every time time tried to rip them apart, they always found one another in the end (even if Ron’s character was very much a comic relief and pushed to the side for Harry and Hermione to run the world… he read more like Steve Kloves’ version of Ron rather than Rowlings). As this was one of my biggest concerns going into the book, I’m grateful Rowling kept with the canon, despite her misgivings.

End spoilery thoughts

Overall, it’s Harry Potter. Although I may not have felt that same rush I felt when reading the original seven, I was still giddy and excited to return to the world and characters I love so much. The characters – old and new – were wonderful, and the story was a reminder of why I fell in love in the first place.

Harry Potter has always been about relationships, being true to yourself, and finding a light in the darkness, and Cursed Child is exactly that.

So despite my misgivings, I absolutely loved it and am happy to have another Harry Potter story on my shelf.

Can someone buy me tickets to the stage show (and a ticket to London)? Now I really want to go. 😉

5/5 stars

172 Hours on the Moon | Review

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172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I’d heard such raving reviews from some of my friends about it, and I was intrigued by the idea of a thriller set on the moon. What could the premise possibly be? Aliens? Astronauts gone rogue? I was excited to find out.

And then I started reading it.

The premise of 172 Hours on the Moon boils down to: there’s something dangerous and weird happening on the moon, and NASA has kept silent about it for fifty years, but now it’s back and they need to fix it. To build popularity and hopefully gain support (read: $), they decide to make it a big spectacle: the 50th anniversary of the first Lunar Landing, using models that look like those from Apollo 11. Oh, and did I mention their plan involved sending teenagers to space?

Dumb.

This is where my problems began, and despite my hopes they’d get better, they didn’t.

So NASA, this big giant space organization that has LITERALLY put man on the moon, that employs some of the SMARTEST people on the planet and has a contingency plan for their contingency plan, decides it’s going to hold a lottery and choose three teenagers from around the world to send to space.

That’s right. THREE.

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The application said they needed to be in good health, etc, but there were no tests actually required, no fitness evaluation or mental stress tests. No knowledge of space or science required.

So… you’re telling me that out of the entire world, NASA just happened to RANDOMLY pick three teenagers to go to space and all three of them are perfectly fit to go?

No.

(also, they all speak English, I’m assuming, since they communicate without effort amongst one another despite their different countries of origin?)

If I’d been in charge at NASA, I would’ve put in place some evaluation they had to pass before they could even apply. THEN I would’ve chosen 50 or so candidates who scored the highest (on a range of tests – physical, mental, stress, etc) and maybe even dreamed of becoming astronauts (instead of going because they wanted to get a girl back, ugh), and then made them go through even more tests to whittle it down to the final three. Think The Selection/The Bachelor meets Armageddon.

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But hell, if I were in charge at NASA, I wouldn’t be sending teenagers to space. Or really, I wouldn’t be doing anything from this dumb book.

So they get to the moon. Our three main teenagers aren’t particularly interesting, and the events on the moon sound like The Martian but way less smart and with some weird “thing” killing people. Even the deaths were boring.

Idk. I thought the “thing” (no spoilers) was pretty dumb and if they knew that much about it beforehand, it seems pretty reckless to send people up there without any methods of taking care of it. Maybe let your peeps know there’s something out to get them instead of keeping it a secret? You know, to protect their lives on THE MOON.

Half of what happened on the moon didn’t even make sense, and I just really wanted more development of what could have been a really cool idea.

The scariest part about this was the urban legend one of the characters tells that has nothing to do with the plot. Cool story, bro.

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Anyway. This is more of a ranty ramble than a well structured review and I apologize for that. But this was just dumb and made me dumber for having read it.

2/5 stars for what it could’ve been with a better (or even just adult) writer, and for the fact that I did finish it and was mildly intrigued at times.

The Regional Office is Under Attack! | Review

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The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales

The premise of The Regional Office is Under Attack! is very exciting: a secret underground organization of badass warrior women who save the world, is under attack. It’s Die Hard with cyborgs and angsty teenager girls, with Oracles in turtle bathtubs and orange macbooks; what’s not to like? Or so I thought.

It starts out well enough; one of the assassins, Rose, is counting down the minutes until she can give the infiltration signal, before she can descend the mile underground to the Regional Office under stealth, before things go wrong.

But soon enough, the story gets lost in the spiraling backstories of characters I can’t find myself liking and the confusing narration, and it loses that initial spark.

The story follows two main characters: Sarah, the Director’s right hand, who has a mechanical arm and a broken past; and Rose, the newest and youngest recruit, but who is also rash and angry and doesn’t quite fit in.

160418_BOOKS_miller-regional-office.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2Alongside them are a handful of other secondary character that are perhaps more important to the plot than the two main protagonists are: Henry, the Recruiter on whom Rose has a crush, and who is perhaps behind this attack; and Mr. Niles, who, along with Oyemi, created the Regional Office and broke Sarah’s life. The men are the ones pulling the strings, despite the womens’ best efforts.

The story is told in sections based on each of the female characters, with chapters flip flopping between the past and present; in between these character sections are dissertation accounts on the Regional Office and it’s history and what could have happened to it. Much of it is speculation, but it does add backstory to the Regional Office and offers an outsider viewpoint on what happened.

Basically, this story is weird. I appreciate the tongue in cheek narrative about heroes and hero plots, but I had a really hard time getting through this. I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters, and had a hard time getting past the writing style (there’s a lot of “I could have done this, then I would’ve done this, and watch this… except I didn’t do any of it”) and a lot of it is left up to the reader’s interpretation of events.

I thought the premise was cool, but didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I wanted to.

A Visit from the Goon Squad | Review

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A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

A Visit From the Goon Squad is a depressing, vignette-style collection of interconnected short stories about growing up, reflection, time, and life. It’s beautiful and ugly at the same time, and I loved it.

The reader follows character after character, somehow related to the one previous, during a specific period in their lives. You learn about where a character came from through their friend’s memory of childhood, then view them years later from their ex-wife or child. At times it can be disconcerting and puzzling to figure out how the current perspective relates to the grand scheme, but when it hits, it’s cathartic and fun.

The stories aren’t about anything in particular, just a brief moment in that character’s life and who they were at that moment, but it reflects on memory and trying to recapture moments, nostalgia and the passage of time.

goon-map-UPDATED-May13What I really loved about this book was the format and risks the author took. You see characters from different perspectives, giving them more dynamic characterization and development; most are flawed, with vices and honest moments of clarity and introspection. Even the writing differs based on the characters, which makes it easier to dive into that character’s head and feel what they’re feeling. Interconnected stories that jump through time and characters are some of my favorite stories, and this doesn’t disappoint. I couldn’t wait to figure out who the next perspective would be, to hear their story.

At times A Visit From the Goon Squad can be very depressing. It talks about life, loss, and growing older; watching your life pass by from the sidelines, reflecting on who you were and how the world has changed around you, but you haven’t. Depressing, but also poignant and beautifully poetic.

4/5 stars

Nora and Kettle | Review

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Nora and Kettle (Paper Stars #1) by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

In the post-WWII 1950s America, stereotypes and prejudices against the Japanese were still prevalent. Kettle is a Japanese American boy, raised in the internment camps, who prefers life on the streets to the brutality of life in a Home. Along with his “brother” Kin, Kettle leads and protects a group of lost boys, known as the Kings, in a more “free” life. Nora, on the other hand, lives a privileged life of luxury and money, at least on the outside. Behind the scenes, Nora is physically abused by her father and is the sole protector of her younger sister, who has already been the permanently affected by his abuse.

A historical fiction loosely based on Peter Pan, Nora and Kettle is heartbreaking, beautiful, and rich with character development.

My biggest problem with this book is also one of its strengths: character development. While I loved the extensive look into these characters and their lives, understanding their motivations and who they are individually, it took 200 pages before the characters actually came together and the plot advanced. While this is written in a more “contemporary” style, focused on character and relationships, I would’ve liked to see that struggle of them coming together as more of the focus on the story. Nora on the streets, Kettle struggling with his identity: that’s where the real story lies, not 200 pages of will Nora leave home or not.

15305456The first book in a series, the ending, while cathartic at times, seemed more interested in setting up the next book than finishing the current one. Readers are left with a cliffhanger and a major change in Nora’s life that should’ve been addressed much earlier.

That being said, Nora and Kettle is lyrically written, with beautiful paragraphs of dialogue and description that naturally flow together. It’s very easy to picture and watch the words dance around your head.

Dealing with some very tough topics, Nora and Kettle doesn’t shy away from the brutality of child abuse and racial prejudices, but doesn’t make it the sole characterization of its characters. Nora is abused, and that affects her in very real ways, but she’s also a sister, a dreamer, and someone whose mind hasn’t been shut to new experiences. Kettle is a Japanese American, but even he doesn’t know what that means for him; he doesn’t know what to identify as, and while he keeps his head low to avoid confrontation, he also works hard, refuses to give into those prejudices, and protects those that need it.

Though it takes some time for the title characters to finally come together – for Peter to whisk Wendy away through the window – when they do, it’s magical. They have a natural chemistry, and knowing them as well as we do, it’s exciting to see them together and beginning to fall for one another. It’s fast, but it also feels very slow at the same time.

A big fan of Peter Pan and its many retellings, this was not a disappointment.

3.5 stars

The 52ND | Review

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The 52ND by Dela

I received a copy of The 52ND from the author for an honest review.

After disastrous events in the days of the Aztecs and Mayans, the gods and the beings of the underworld came to a truce: Every 52 years, 52 humans would be sacrificed to the underworld, and a family of Watchers would be there to ensure this happened as it should. But there’s also a prophecy that states one of the sacrifices, a 52nd, will end this once and for all.

Lucas Castillo and his family are the Watchers: immortal beings from the time of the curse, designated to spend their years protecting the balance between the gods and the underworld.

Zara is a typical college freshman, but ever since she met the Castillo family at the bowling alley where she worked, things haven’t been the same.

Basically, The 52ND is Twilight but with Aztec immortals rather than vampires.

Lucas and Zara have this tug of war relationship, constantly going back and forth from love to hate. One moment they can’t stand one another and rush to be rid of them, the next they can’t fathom life without them. Yawn.

Not only that, but there are other striking similarities to a certain sparkly vampire: Lucas is super fast with incredible hearing, has never been in love despite being 500 years old (though he HAS at least had sex), he’s incredibly attractive and can glamour people into falling in love with him,  and he’s overprotective and has stalker tendencies. Not creepy I’m-going-to-watch-you-while-you-sleep stalker, but pretty darn close.

In his defense, only part of that was his uncontrollable desire for her; the rest was because of PLOT!

The major plot of the story is that Zara is being hunted by the Executioners – the slaves of the Underworld – who want to kill her, the final sacrifice. Lucas, however, believes she is the “chosen one” and wants to save her because of the Cosmos.

Things I liked:

the-historic-ruins-of-the-ancient-mayan-city-of-tulum-mexico1The culture and history were very exciting and completely different from anything else I’ve read. I loved reading about the Aztecs and Mayans and their traditions and myths, and only wished there’d been more of that in the book. This heritage and diversity was probably my absolute favorite thing about The 52ND.

I also really liked the Castillos. Much like I loved the Cullens in Twilight, the Castillos were pretty awesome. Lucas is moody and overprotective, but he’s got a fight in him that Edward didn’t, which I appreciated. Dylan, Gabriella, Valentina, and Andres were what I needed out of this immortal family though: tough, funny, and tight knit.

Zara is your typical YA female protagonist. She’s well-liked but “hard to crack” emotionally (i.e. all the boys are in love with her but she doesn’t know it/they’re too scared to admit it), and she’s a bit wishy-washy, but she’s strong-willed and able, for the most part, to take care of herself (except that time she got super needy and was afraid to drive).

Things that need work:

My biggest problem with the plot was just that while it appeared pretty early on, it disappeared for 200 pages in the middle. Seriously. This book is 463 pages, and a good majority of it is Zara going to school, figuring out how she feels about Lucas, and then there’s some weird training sequence that’s kind of cool but then abruptly ends. I didn’t feel the threat of the Executioners enough – they showed up maybe twice in three months and both times it didn’t seem that difficult for her to get away. It just felt like the author was biding her time until the “magic day” when everything was supposed to happen, and I felt the long stretch of those months.

The plot showed back up toward the end, with a racing section, but for all that build up, I would’ve liked to see that stretched out longer.

There’s also the matter of Zara’s virginity being crucial to the plot of the Underworld, yet no one ever thinks to just get rid of that problem? Even if it’s something Zara’s not willing to do, it at least needs to be addressed.

As for the writing… it needs work. There are sloppy transitions all over the place, missing information, and weird sentence structure. There are times when it feels like there were sentences taken out in editing, but the surrounding sentences didn’t change to accommodate that missing line. Sometimes Lucas seems to know things without Zara telling him, or he’ll react to something she didn’t say, and there are inconsistencies and weird quirks regarding Zara and her maturity. She’s supposed to be in college, yet school sounds awfully like high school, and she doesn’t act like she has the independence a college student – regardless of whether they’re living at home or not – should have.  There are also split perspectives but only rarely do we leave Zara’s. And the dialogue feels stilted and unnatural.

My last complaint is the forced love triangle at the end, setting up a potential sequel. It felt forced and out of nowhere between two characters I never really felt the chemistry between. Not every teen romance needs a love triangle.

I really loved the concept and the exciting rushes of the plot, and think that Dela has a lot of potential as an author if she cleans up her writing and embraces her unique ideas rather than just catering to the overused tropes so prevalent in YA.

A Gathering of Shadows | Review

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A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by VE Schwab

Minor Spoilers Below

The second installment picks up a few months after A Darker Shade of Magic left off, with Lila fulfilling her pirate dreams and Kell and Rhy experiencing some new setbacks in their relationship. Their lives magically tied together, they can feel each other’s pain and emotions, and it’s starting to take its toll on the boys.

Kell is frustrated and can’t seem to expel the energy he has pent up inside, and Rhy is conflicted over feeling grateful he’s alive but wishing he’d had a choice in the matter.

Meanwhile, Red London is gearing up for the Essen Tasch, a magical tournament between the three neighboring kingdoms (a la Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) which pits twelve magicians from each kingdom against one another in four rounds of fighting.

While this is happening in Red London, White London is mending itself, and the darkness from the first book is slowly creeping its way back into control. A Gathering of Shadows, indeed.

The characters are what made me love the first book so much, and they continue to astound me and captivate me here, as does the newcomer, Alucard Emery, who is contesting to be my new favorite. He’s charming, magical, has secrets, and he’s a Captain, what’s not to like?

tumblr_nw8mfvX7nT1qaryrmo1_500I also really like the relationships between this cast of characters, and how they’re all varying and intricate. Not to mention, the romantic relationships that start blooming set my ships asail. My favorite ship from the first book totally sunk, but was replaced with one I may even like better. Also, yay! gay/bi characters! and Schwab’s light touch on the romance aspect. This is a fantasy, after all, NOT a romance. There’s some light kissing, but that’s about the extent of it.

The pace was about on par as the first book for me, which is to say, it’s a bit slower, but I attribute that to the rich writing and detail and my desire to savor the moment rather than rush it. Also, Schwab’s writing never feels very rushed or particularly fast-paced, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting.

The Essen Tasch itself was really cool. I liked seeing how the magicians used magic as a weapon and learning more about the magic system itself. My only complaint is that I wish there’d been MORE! I do love tournaments and games though, which is why Goblet of Fire is my favorite of the Harry Potter books.

I also kept thinking more was going to happen with the neighboring kingdoms that were visiting. There were some subtle, throwaway lines about that, so my mind kept predicting massive slaughters and backstabbing during the Games. The ending is “catastrophic,” (it’s the name of the chapter), but not in that way. The book overall kind of feels like too much of a setup for the next book, as not a lot of major plot happens, but there’s some cool stuff and development along the way.

That catastrophic ending was close to what I’d predicted it would be, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting for the third (and final?) book next year.

4.5/5 stars