Soooo yeah. It happened. I started this CBR knowing that I NEEDED to stay on top of the reviews. That lasted until April. <sigh> #thestruggleisreal
I really HAVE read many books since then, but the problem was reading on vacation where there was limited internet access and the inability to post anything. Things have derailed since that point.
So today, I am attempting to get back on track a bit. Hopefully.
My last review was for A Darker Shade of Magic, the first book in the Shades of Magic series. While I enjoyed it enough to continue, it didn’t blow me away.
A Gathering of Shadow is the 2nd book, and I enjoyed it a bit more. Lila was one of my favourite parts of the first book, and I loved that she got more attention in book two. Here we see her aboard a ship, learning about her ‘new’ London home, learning about magic, and interacting with a new cast of colourful pirate characters (including Captain Alucard Emery – reluctant friend/mentor to Lila, ex of Rhy, and enemy of Kell).
Kell is back in the castle, under watchful eyes, and starting to feel restless. Holland, who we thought had been defeated, has been resurrected and taken over by Osarun, an evil embodiment of magic.
The story moves forward around a tournament of magic, which will inevitably bring all of our main characters back together again. Lila and Kell both enter the tournament secretly, but cross paths and discover each other’s presence.
At the same time, Osarun is plotting to take over Red London, using Holland as his host.
I found this instalment to be more interesting, with the new characters, and with the tournament, but the plot seemed to be divided too much. I would have rather seen more emphasis put on one or the other. The tournament was reminiscent of so many other YA events that have a competition component to them at some point (Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, etc), and it is a great device for creating tension and interest… I just wish there had been more development to it here.
This ended on a dramatic cliffhanger which is what really encouraged me to go pick up the next one.
Book 3, A Conjuring of Light, was a satisfying conclusion to the main plots as they were left (it’s hard to not get spoiler-y here!).
In order to defeat Osarun, our band of heroes sets out to find a magical instrument that will hopefully defeat him. Their search leads them to a hidden ship where they must bargain to get what they want. We are teased a bit with Lila and Kell’s mysterious pasts, but only get the briefest hints about what maybe happened.
While the battle vs Osarun, as well as several of the personal conflicts are resolved, there are definitely unanswered questions that will hopefully be resolved in future books. My impression is still the same after three instalments. I will likely read any other books that are released, and they’re enjoyable… but they’re not near the level of the truly AMAZING fantasy novels like HP, LOTR, etc. I DID appreciate that there was a deliberate effort to make a strong female character, an array of characters who have differing races and physical characteristics, and a gay relationship.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.