Why, thank you, Victoria Schwab. Please don’t mind my heart.
No, really. Feel free to crush it. I don’t do holding grudges.
Truth is, when I started A Gathering of Shadows, one of my best friend asked me if I thought she would like, and strangely, I wasn’t able to answer straight away. Color me surprised. How comes this series holds such a strong grip on me and still I am hesitating when recommending it? I understood, then. These books? They sneak up on you.
There’s honestly not that much action in the first halves of BOTH of them and yet you’re never bored. You’re enchanted, mesmerized like a child reading HP for the first time (YES, I’M GOING THERE), your eyes widening at the sight of this wondrous, original world served by its fascinating and real characters for whom you can’t help but care deeply, including :
✔ a kickass thief who’s giving strong female-lead a new name (that’s Lila, by the way) : Remember my complaints about Feyre in A Court of Thorns and Roses? I expressed how tired I was of the beloved (GAG) pattern implying that the only reason women fought was for their families, as if women couldn’t, for the life of them, be badass for the thrill of it. Lila made a liar of me. Thank you, Lila.
“Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble.
She’d always thought it was better than letting trouble find her, but floating in the ocean in a two-person skiff with no oars, no view of land, and no real resources save the ropes binding her wrists, she was beginning to reconsider.”
✔ a loyal magician whose doubts and outbursts make you want to both smack and hug him (but mostly, hugs). Eaten by guilt, confused by his sudden thrives for darkness (am I bad to love that part?), in need to adapt to his bond with his brother, so freaking alone and caged, Kell stays one of my favorite characters because he’s flawed and brave and endearing and oh, yes, often wrong. (MY FROWNING BOY!) (in redheads I trust) (←how could I NOT love him now tell me?)
“You could at least pretend to be grateful.”
“And you couldn’t have picked something a little more…I don’t know…imposing?”
“…A bloody handprint?” retorted Rhy. “Oh, what about a glowing black eye?”
“You’re right,” continued Rhy, “I should have just drawn a frowning face. But then everyone would know it’s you.”
✔ a deceptive Captain who may or may not be a pirate (how’s this for awesome?). Okay, okay, I have to admit that he made me narrow my eyes several times at first. What? I come from a loyal bunch (frowning boy, remember?). But in the end, his character added so much wit and fun to the story that he won me. Also, that development? YES YES YES.
“Alucard had shaken his head, exasperated. “The accent of a royal and the sensibilities of a thief.”
But Lila had only smiled. She’d said something very similar once, to Kell. Before she knew he was a royal. And a thief, for that matter.”
✔ a lost prince who’s endlessly trying to keep darkness at bay : Oh Rhy, Rhy, Rhy. I cannot say that I always agreed with his choices, but the complicity between him and Kell – the loyalty – prevents me for holding any grudge (if I was into grudges, that is)
“There was a new restlessness to his motions, a taut energy that mirrored Kell’s. And yet, Rhy’s was different. Manic. Dangerous. His moods were darker and their turn sharper, cutting the span of a second.”
✔ … Oh, and those assholes (you know who I mean) (there’re plenty to choose really)
As for the plot, although I was more than excited to come back into this world, and that Kell and Lila own a special place in my heart, I have to admit that I spent the beginning feeling restless because I longed for them to be together – not necessarily romantically (WHO AM I KIDDING) (THE CHEMISTRY!! GAH!), but really, their interactions? They’re the best, and they both balance each other’s perfectly. Separated, they lose a little bit of their charm in my opinion.
Now that I finished the book, I understand why Victoria Schwab made this choice and the last 40%? Brilliant, exhilarating, and as far as I’m concerned, PERFECTION. There’s something to say about a fantasy plot that stays unpredictable, because trust me, when you read a lot of fantasy, it becomes rarer and rarer.
▶ Give me thrill, give me peril, give me gasps, and I’m the happiest reader of the world.
My heart, though.
In this section I’ll share reviews from other reviewers, go read them! They’re amazing ♥