Review: Vengeful by V. E. Schwab

Vengeful by V. E. Schwab26856502

Series: Villains #2

Published: September 25, 2018

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 (4.5 Stars)

Goodreads       Amazon

WARNING: Synopsis and review contain spoilers for the first book in the Villains series, Vicious.

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab’s first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

The storyline in Vengeful is one that I’ve been thirsting for since the end of Vicious.

The time switching is something that I adored in Vicious and is part of what made it so unique and intriguing. I feel like a bit of that magic was lost for me in Vengeful, particularly in “Part 1” (out of four parts). We are not only switching between Victor and Sydney, but we have two new and exciting characters to contend with. Don’t get me wrong, I loved June and Marcella’s points of views, but the time switch on top of 4 POV started to give me whiplash. Overall, this was one of two negatives I could find in a book that was otherwise flawless by my standards.

Marcella was a dynamic villain and character that, despite her utter evilness, has the reader rooting for her. June felt a little one dimensional at times. While she does experience change throughout the novel, her backstory is only vaguely hinted at and I feel like I never really got to know her as a character. At some points it seemed like she was just used as a convenient way to get out of a situation. I’d really like to learn more about her backstory, whether in a short story or *hopefully* a future installment.

The ending definitely leaves some things open which allows for the possibility of a third book. I believe that Schwab has joked about “maybe in another 5 years” (which is how long it took between Vicious and VengefulVicious was originally intended as a standalone with similar open possibilities that are left in this installment).

A Gathering of Shadows Review

20764879A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #2

Published February 23, 2016 by Tor Books

Rating 5/5

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant 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.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

If you’re interested in my thoughts on the first book in this series, check out my review for A Darker Shade of Magic HERE.

The second book in the Darker Shade of Magic series did not disappoint! I am a mega-fan of any and all tournament scenes and this book provided one of the biggest championships of them all. 

Out of all the new characters introduced, Alucard Emery quickly became one of my favorites in the entire series.  Everyone loves a swash buckling pirate, and Emery embodies all of the best parts of the character. With an adventurous pirate, comes a wider world to explore.

Not only do the adventures of Alucard contribute to this massive expansion of knowledge of the Arnesian world, the tournament brings people from all walks of life (and countries) to the magical city of London. The explanation of the different people and the world in which they come from was very intriguing–it’s always one of my favorite parts of fantasy worlds.

Of course, the romance between Kell and Lila develops a little more (although it took sooo long to get to this part!). My favorite blossoming romance, however, is Rhy’s and someone who shall not be named (because it’s a spoiler and you need to go read this series immediately).

This is shaping up to be one of my top 10 favorites series EVER, and I totally recommend it. I’ve even put this beautiful bracelet in the shop, for an other Shade of Magic super fans out there! You can check out my Etsy by clicking HERE or going to the bar above!

Thanks for reading!

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Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious by V. E. Schwab13638125

Published September 23, 2013

Series Villains #1

Rating   5 / 5

Goodreads

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

I am a sucker for morally ambiguous characters, and this book introduces many poster children for the term. Victor Vale is a horrendous excuse for a human being. In fact, almost all characters in this book are.

Previously, all my favorite characters have been thieves with an agenda or assassins with a purpose, but one thing they all had in common was they faced an obvious foe with a somewhat malicious agenda. I love this story because there is no obvious line in the sand. EVERYONE is horrible and…VISCOUS, trying to advance their own agenda at whatever cost. The question of allegiance lies with the reader’s decision on who is the most “justified” (if anything these characters do is truly justifiable).

As a bit of a science nerd, the veneer of scientific reasoning surrounding the ExtraOrdinary’s “origin story” provided a major bonus. In the word’s of Victor Vale:

“Science, even completely fiction, [holds] sway.”

The time-skipping in this book was also flawlessly executed. Rather than laying all the characters’ beef out in chronological order, the quick flips to the past and the present made Vicious a true page turner. I was up until about 1 AM yesterday because I HAD TO KNOW why Eli and Victor hated each other so much (and what would happen to Sydney and Dol, two of my favorites).

All that being said, this novel is not for the faint of heart. Murders and blood and gore galore grace these glorious pages as Victor Vale searches for revenge on his once-friend. Despite his utter awfulness, Victor Vale is definitely one of my favorite characters for-EVER. I’m super excited that Schwab recently announced this previously stand-alone novel will now be a trilogy!!! Even though Vengeful (Villains #2) isn’t fully written yet, it’s definitely on my to-read list. I can’t wait to read more about these ExtraOrdinary individuals and whatever troubles they get up to.

Thanks for reading!

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Mid Year Summary

I can’t believe we are already halfway through 2017! It feels like New Years was just last week! Here’s a summary of my favorites throughout the first half of this year.

10987Favorite Book

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon is one of the favorite books that I’ve finished this year. All the adventure and travel undertaken by two of my favorite characters, Claire and Jamie, boosted this to number one (along with the fact that other books that would clench this spot fit other prompts in the list). This is definitely my favorite installment in the Outlander series so far. I’m currently working my way through Drums of Autumn so we’ll see if this spot holds ;).

22055262Favorite New-to-me Series

I’m absolutely loving the A Darker Shade of Magic Series by V. E. Schwab. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books (and can’t believe it took me so long to start them in the first place). You can read some of my thoughts on this book HERE.

440px-the_covers_of_the_six_vampire_academy_books

Series I Blew Through

Earlier this year, I devoured the entire Vampire Academy series. I was nervous to start them because I had my “vampire phase” in middle school, but actually ended up enjoying them quite a lot. You can check out my full review HERE.

17199504New Book Boyfriend

Another series I love is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. I read a quarter of the first book about a year ago then put it down because I got distracted by all the other reads. This year, I picked it back up again and read the entire book in a day! Needless to say, Warden is now one of my many book boyfriends. I’m afraid to finish the other two books that are out because there are still four more to go in the series (and it’s been taking two years between each release!). You can check out my full review HERE. An honorable mention goes to Kell from A Darker Shade of Magic.

31451174Favorite Series To Return To

Definitely A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I loved the newest installment, A Court of Wings and Ruin. The only reason it didn’t top my list for the year was I had a few twinges of misgiving about the ending (which you can read about HERE. If you love the series as much as I do, you can check out my summary of Maas’ answers during Q&A at one of her tour stops HERE.).

Favorite New Video Game Releasegiphy2

This one caters to my more nerdy side, and for this one I’m also going to cheat. There’s a tie between Horizon: Zero Dawn and Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia. Both games are so different and I play them in different settings. Horizon is a game I turn to when I want some action, fighting robot dinosaurs as an awesome cave woman. Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia is an awesome continuation/remake of my favorite series, that has some added elements like some dungeon roaming that I really enjoy. Needless to say, I’ve sunk many hours into both of these games.

Book(s) I’m Excited About3145085231453592

I’m super excited for the Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas release in September. Throne of Glass is my all-time favorite YA Fantasy series, and I can’t wait to return to it (and get the story about what Chaol is doing during Empire of Storms!). I also can’t wait for Dark Calling by Kresley Cole, the new book in the Arcana Chronicles series, although it doesn’t have a release date other than this year (it was pushed back from a spring release). There are tons of other books to look forward to this year, like Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff, Vanguard by Ann Aguirre, and Little Monsters by Kara Thomas.

Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for new updates (a summer sale may be coming soon for my Etsy shop!)

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A Darker Shade of Magic

22055262A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Published February 24, 2015

Rating 5/5

Goodreads       Amazon

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! I actually recommended this series to two people I knew would enjoy it, and they ended up reading all three books before I picked the first one up myself! The world of the four Londons is enrapturing. Schwab’s exploration of the differences between the planes of existence is seamless and leaves the reader feeling as if they’ve lived in the world for years.

Kell is the perfect morally ambiguous hero, with his straight-laced job and dangerous compulsion to break the rules, which makes him the perfect partner for Lila (or is the partnership supposed to be the other way around?). Lila’s desire for adventures is a lure that pulls at the soul of the reader, urging them to embark on adventures with her. While Kell is my magical ginger baby, Lila is the knife’s edge that draws the attention. I probably love her so much because she reminds me of another one of my favorite characters, Aelin from the Throne of Glass series, with her sassy remarks and take-no-prisoners attitude.

The magic system is unlike any I’ve read about before. The way the different cultures perceive magic was very interesting, and left me with many questions I hope to find answers to in the later books. And I will definitely be reading those soon! I already own the next two thanks to luck at a used bookstore and Bookcon sale 😉 and they’ve rocketed to the top of my TBR pile. Definitely check these books out if you haven’t already! I can’t wait to read all of Schwab’s other books.

Thank you for reading!

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