Friday, 4 March 2016

Blog Tour: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab - Review and Author Q&A!

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab 
(Book #2 in the Shades of Magic series)

Publishing Date: February 26, 2016
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Pages: 512 pages

**NOTE: This is a second book in a series. The rest of this review will include spoilers regarding the first book. If you want to read the review for the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, you can find it here** 

The Premise from the Publisher: "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" (TDA). 

My overall thoughts and review: When Raincoast Books reached out and asked me to join the AGOS Blog tour, I was so excited!! As you know, I'm a massive fan of Victoria Schwab, so the opportunity to ask her a question was super awesome. I also got to read AGOS a bit early ;) Immediately, you are thrown back into the world of ADSOM with the many various Londons. The story picks up shortly after where the first one ended where Rhy and Kell are adjusting to life "tied" to one another. It's interesting to see the dynamic between the two, because as Rhy describes it, Kell now treats the world like glass, and Rhy can sometimes forget the fact that Kell feels his pain. The theme of life/death really comes through with these two, and I really enjoy the brotherly banter that continues in this book. The big event of the book is a magical tournament, a competition of sorts for magic. Delilah Bard, determined as ever, is going to find a way to sneak her way into the competition and Kell is disguised and joining the competition as well. I loved seeing the two of them again in this book. The scenes when they cross paths (somewhat) in the Night Market was one of my favorite scenes in the entire book. I also really enjoyed the introduction of new characters such as Alucard Emery and seeing old faces again (I'm sorry, I might be the only one in the universe to kind of like Holland)! Overall, I really enjoyed this second book and I have to say, I loved it even more than the first one (if that is even possible)! If you haven't started this series yet, what are you waiting for? There is magic, pirates, princes, Londons, masks, coats and more! ;)

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

Author Question & Answer

1. You always approach each project in such a unique way and offer readers such well-rounded characters (ex: Kell and Rhy, Victor and Eli in Vicious and Mac and Wes in~The Archived series). What advice can you offer for aspiring writers like myself when creating characters? 

Why thank you! So, I go about things in a rather reverse way. While characters start to whisper early on, the first part I usually develop isn’t the cast, or the plot, but the world. With the ARCHIVED books, it was the library of the dead. With VICIOUS, it was a world in which near-death experiences could lead to powers. And with ADSOM, it was the multiple Londons. Once I have an idea of the worlds, I can start working on the people who naturally populate them. From there, I come to my main characters, who are outsiders in some way, either because they don’t belong, or because they truly aren’t from there. This gives me a sense not only of my characters, but of their context, their motivations, their fears. Everything that makes them similar, and everything that makes them other. This isn’t to say it’s the right way to do things. It’s just the right way for ME.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour! Victoria is answering a question for each blogger and it would be a good way to hear more about the book! :D

Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own. 

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