Synopsis: 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 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.
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—meaning that another London must fall.
This was one of my most hotly anticipated releases of 2016. I absolutely loved A Darker Shade of Magic and had high expectations for this book. It certainly did not disappoint.
The writing is as fantastic as ever, and there was never a moment where I wanted to put the book down. In fact, I had to force myself to stop reading and go bed otherwise I would have been reading all night, which is great to satisfy book cravings but no so great when you have to get up for work.
In the previous book, we only scratched the surface of the different Londons, but in this one, we get to see more of Red London and beyond. Whilst reading the book, I very much had wanderlust and wished to be an Antari myself so I could visit this gloriously magical place. I am very much looking forward to visiting the different Londons and exploring them further in book 3.
And while the setting in highly imaginative, this book revolves around the characters. I loved seeing Lila embracing her new life in Red London, and becoming the pirate that she has always dreamed of. And with Lila, we meet Alucard who is a brilliant addition and acts as a foil to Lila. We see a lot more of Rhy, which is only a good thing, as well as a deeper look into the relationship between him and Kell. As for Kell (my special favourite), well he gets a bit of a rough ride through this book – poor guy.
What I loved with the characters is that when they meet again, everything isn’t fine. The characters have to deal with the consequences of their actions from the previous book, which has an impact on their relationships with each other, which makes for some great character development. Also, there is little romance in this book, which is a plus for me personally
I have to give a special mention to the ending. It was utterly infuriating to read that cliff hanger knowing that the next book isn’t out until next year. Well played, V.E.Schwab, well played.
Overall, this is a fantastic series for people who love fantasy with imaginative setting and lots of character development.
Rating: An easily given 5/5 stars!
“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”
“Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.”
“I do not know why you two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stars divide you.”