Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

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5stars

Maybe we are broken. But we put ourselves back together. We survived. That’s what makes us so powerful. And as for family—well, blood is always family, but family doesn’t always have to be blood.

Title: Vengeful
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Villains #2
Number of pages: 575 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It’s just perfect.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, always yes to a Schwab book.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

PLOT —
I have to admit that I didn’t remember in detail everything that happened in Vicious because I didn’t manage to read the book again before Vengeful came out. The first couple of chapters were a bit confusing but then everything fell in place and I remembered everything! The plot of this book, with its back and forward chapters in different points of views built perfectly what was going to be the climax, the chapter that was in development from page one. And I loved every page of it!

You do what you can. You fight, and you win, until you don’t.

CHARACTERS —
Victor Vale is my boy, all in black, emo af, hard outside but a little soft on the inside, and all kinds of brooding. As much as I didn’t like seeing him suffering, I loved seeing him being almost my age: I’m also a 30 something person with questionable life choices. I relate. Eli’s point of view chapters came later in the book and they were fire! Backstory and a sane dose of bromance (more like brohate), exactly what I expected from our Eli boy! Sydney was a little bit annoying for me in this book, too whiney, didn’t see reasons behind choices that were made. I get it, teenager years on the run are not nice but, come on, see the bigger picture, make good decisions! Our big boy Mitch never disappoints, I don’t have anything more to add.
New characters were introduced, and I have to say that, besides a few annoying traits, they were both fantastic additions to the already fantastic crew. Won’t tell anything about them, I went in ignorant and enjoyed the experience more than ever imagined!

Perhaps she was glass. But glass is only brittle until it breaks. Then it’s sharp.

THOUGHTS —
I’m usually in a love or hate relationship with narrations that are told during a very long period of time, but not in this case. While I had to adjust my perception of how I saw the characters, at least the ones that actually grew old, I loved how the story of the book happened during 5 years. The characters not only grew old in aspect, the ones that could, but they were also very different persons inside. Five years on the run, five years imprisoned, can do that to a person, and the way Victoria told the story really conveyed all the aspects of the time passing.

Men look at anyone with power and see only a threat, an obstacle in their path. They never have the sense to see power for what it really is. Potential.

CONCLUSION —
Another perfect book from a perfect and gorgeous woman. That’s why she is an instabuy author for me, she can’t do no wrong in my opinion. Different books, for different audiences, and all of them hit the mark. Amazing job! If there’s going to be a third book, I’m going to be both ready and not ready at all, but I’m going to be there to read it!

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A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab ☆

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5starsplus

“Love and loss,” he said, “are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be.”

Title: A Conjuring of Light
Author: V.E. Schwab
Good things about this book: Amazing ending to an amazing trilogy.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? More than recommend it, I comand you to read it.
Rate: 5+++/5 (☆: “favourites books”)

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Simply perfect. A magnificent book. An ending that’s just right. Wow!
I want to crawl inside Schwab’s mind and swim in her incredible ideas. That’s a brain to ensure for billions.

Knowing my paperback would be here who knows when, I also pre-ordered the kindle version. I woke up at the unholy hour of FIVE, I repeat five, in the morning, with its weird sounds and eerie feeling, just to start reading it as soon as possible.
I read for three hours, went to work and came back to keep reading. That was my mission. My eyes have trouble focusing when I took breaks, while I followed avidly the percentage slowly increasing.

To my delight, I didn’t have anything to do.
To my disdain, I don’t read fast.

When I finally finished it, a thousand hours later, I felt everything and nothing. My eyes watered of tiredness but also because I was feeling that strange mix of sadness and happiness.

A journey came to an end.
These characters are mine to keep. Mine to cherish.

STOP!!! I don’t think there are spoilers but, still, beware! ————-

“It’s a demon,” Kell had said. “A piece of living, breathing magic.”
“A piece of magic that thinks itself a man?” asked the king.
“No,” he’d answered. “A piece of magic that thinks itself a god.”

Kell scowls. Kell frowns. Kell smiles. Kell struggles. Guilt is eating him up; it’s his fault this new menace is upon them all, his fault he let his anger made decisions for himself. People often let their pain speak for themselves. It’s not the healthiest of choices but in that situation you can’t do anything about it until you realize it’s too late to undo whatever you’ve done. Kell needs to leave his guilt aside for a moment, join forces with friends and foes, and get rid of the common enemy they’re facing before it engulfs their world with its fog and shadows.

Kell is adorable. Something (read: ALL) about him scream fluffy in my eyes. I can’t help feeling jealous of Lila because I want to be the one in his arms, playing with his beautiful hair, sliding my hands under his shirt, kissing magic words all over his body. Oh my, that took a perv turn! Kell, being an Antari, is powerful but his power can do only so much. The rest is up to him and a growth as a person and as a magician very much needed and, luckily, it arrives, not forced, not weird, just natural.

There’s one thing about Kell that makes me mad, though. His coat. I’ve been looking for the perfect one for months, but nothing, and there he is with his magical coat, perfect for every occasion. I want it so badly. Thanks, Kell, for ruining coats for me for eternity.

“Of all the ways to die, only a fool chooses pride.”

Rhy, the hollow prince, frail yet strong. He embraces his new self, a self who can’t die, only suffer. He heals fast on the surface but the echo of pain lives in him for a very long time. Rhy, who is afraid to love, who guards his heart, but can’t keep it from skipping a beat when Alucard smiles at him.
Rhy’s character development goes beyond my expectations and, where there was a crush for his lovely being, now there’s an undeniable love that is willing to protect him at all costs. Just like Kell. We have that in common, besides the red hair.
Rhy embraces his weakness transforming himself from the spoiled prince everyone knows to a smart and brave prince everyone will follow and put their trust into.

“Do you ever get tired of running, Bard?”
She cocked her head. “No.”
Alucard’s gaze went to the horizon. “Then you haven’t left enough behind.”

I was hard on Delilah Bard in the past because in A Gathering of Shadows I felt she acted very selfishly. It felt she didn’t care about anyone but herself. I thought that during the whole book. I frowned at that. I frowned hard. What I didn’t understand, forgetting the Lila in A Darker Shade of Magic, was that the Lila I was seeing and disliking giving her no benefit of doubt, was only one piece of a puzzle of a wonderful person. A person I very much wanted to know more about. Lila is brave, fearless, a bit crazy, a trouble magnet, and she cares. Caring is scaring. Is it weakness? Maybe. Is it strength? I think it is.

Delilah Bard is a surprise, may it be good or bad; a firecracker you admire and fear, a fast learner that when she is properly taught, will be pretty unstoppable. She has her Scowl Prince by her side to teach her everything he knows but I think they will teach each other a lot of things (wink wink). I ship it. I ship it on a ship. I ship it on a ship among ships.

“Dead men can’t hold grudges.”

Oh Captain, my Captain. Alucard Emery is a charming and powerful captain of many secrets, some revealed, some a mystery. I was very much taken by his charms that I firstly failed to see his pain. It all came like a wave of the waters he usually sails. I was sad about how his family treated him. His own blood being less than a family that the crew he personally chose. A family not related who accepts him not matter what.

Rhy and Alucard. The prince and the pirate. Sorry, the privateer. They love each other, so much everyone can see it, it’s clear as light. Heartaches are hard to heal, won’t be easy, but if there’s a will and love there’s a way for sure. Nothing can come between a well-deserved happy ending.

It was cowardice, he knew, but cowardice came so much easier than hope.

There’s a kind of love you feel for characters you are not supposed to feel love for: villains. Bad characters can charm you into their evil hands without you noticing and then it’s too late. It happens all the time. You love villains even when everything they do is plain evil, and you don’t excuse their actions but you still love them.

I don’t think this applies to Holland. He is not a villain. He has done bad things, yes, but he is not a bad person. In this book we get many information about Holland’s past, info maybe you think you didn’t need nor wanted but that you will be thankful you were given. When Holland was under the Dane twin’s curse, he lost so much of himself, his blood tainted with evil he was forced to do. While he really only wanted to restore his London’s beauty, magic and colours. Just like Red London. He made a terrible mistake; he put his trust into someone, something, he wouldn’t have dreamed could bring so much pain and death.

He carries his guilt like a rock around his neck, his mistakes like spines around his heart. I think of him and I feel sadness. I picture his face and feel love. Not the same love I feel for Kell or Rhy, but it’s still a strong feeling I can’t shake. I can’t hate Holland for his choices; I can appreciate his will to make things right.

While the Antari, the magicians, and the prince play a main role in these events, there are also side character that are pretty important. Maxim and Emira Maresh, King and Queen of Arnes, are not only Rhy and Kell’s parents here. Kell’s personal guard, Hastra, is more than a young and frail man who always seems out of place. And many more are here to play a role, no matter how little, in fighting the Shadow King and restore peace. There’s more that what meets the eye. Everything is a surprise; we learn so much, we care, we are heartbroken, we hope, we cheer, and we love.

Nothing is left to chance, to wonder. This book doesn’t have pointless parts in my opinion. It may seem long (and maybe it is a little) but it doesn’t feel that way. When you get to the end it almost feel it was too short.
I already miss them all.

Anoshe.

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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab ☆

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“Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Why you should read this book: Because you know you love this series and you can’t live without it.

I will try to summarize the plot of the book as much as I can. It’s been four months since the events of the first book, since Kell and Lila killed the Dane twins in White London and sent a dying Holland to Black London with the shadow stone. Now things are almost back to normal, at least in Red London. The Element Games are being held, royals and magicians from the neighbouring empires are coming to see and participate in it. While Red London is busy celebrating and throwing parties as usual, other Londons in other worlds are experiencing changes and things that had to stayed dead are rising again. What will happen when a dead London returns to life, another London has to died in its place to restore balance?

“What brings you to my room?” he asked, relief bleeding into annoyance.
“Adventure. Intrigue. Brotherly concern. Or,” continued the prince lazily, “perhaps I’m just giving your mirror something to look at besides your constant pout.”
Kell frowned, and Rhy smiled. “Ah, there it is! That famous scowl.”

And now what??? I am angry, sad, curious, I need more.
There are only spoilers if you haven’t read the the first book of the series, A Darker Shade of Magic.

First of all, I loved this book, it gave me everything I needed, to feel and to experience. There were a couple of things I didn’t enjoy but it wasn’t because of the quality of the book, which is perfection, but because of my aversion for certain kind of behaviors. I will explain later.

The book starts with Lila looking for trouble, as usual, when she finds her way onto a beautiful ship, the Night Spire. Odds aren’t in her favor but she is a lucky girl and the Captain takes her in with his crew. Oh the Captain, Alucard Emery, is one sweet cupcake, the perfect new character everyone dreams of. You know there are secrets surrounding him when you see both Rhy and Kell making weird faces reading that Alucard is going to participate in the Element Games, the Essen Tasch. This magic tournament is one of a kind with floating platforms, magicians from different and faraway empires and masks! How great is that every participant can wear a mask and have to wear a magic armour? It’s so magical and I’m loving it.

“What are you supposed to be?” she asked in Arnesian. “A fish?”
Alucard made a noise of mock affront. “Obviously,” he said, brandishing the helmet, “I’m a dragon.”
“Wouldn’t it make more sense for you to be a fish?” challenged Lila. “After all, you do live on the sea, and you are rather slippery, and—”
“I’m a dragon,” he interjected. “You’re just not being very imaginative.”

We get to see a lot more of Rhy because the book takes place mainly in Red London and he is organizing the Element Games. Rhy and Kell are bond together now, one life two bodies, they are both having difficulties after the night everything changed and Rhy died. Both are hunted by terrible nightmares and both are feeling caged, for different reasons.
Rhy is angrier but more determined, he knows there is a weight on his shoulders, a guilt that will never go away and consequences to his foolish actions. He has to wear a lot of masks, has to lie, pretend to be someone he isn’t. Then we are given a little bit more about his past, a particular event that broke him a little and then I find myself wanting to know more and more about it but it’s barely a paragraph. Please, tell me there is going to be more details about it! By the way, Rhy is still charming and flirty and a little narcissistic, I missed him! He has a beautiful face and he knows it!

“The prince shrugged. “Who needs magic when you look this good?”

“At the sunroom doors, he cast a glance back, and found Rhy looking at him with an expression that might have been I’m sorry, but also could have been fuck off, or at the very least we’ll talk later.”

Kell is different, a prison in what he thought was his own home, tormented by the power he had with the stone from Black London, he needs more, he wants to do so many things but the thought of hurting his brother is keeping him back, he is not giving 100% of himself.
When he is not hurting for that reason, he is thinking about Lila. She left 4 months ago and he is waiting for her to come back. Kell cares about her in a way he doesn’t completely understand, after all, he knew her only for a few days.
There was a scene with Kell that really hurt me, I understood his frustration, the feeling that no matter what you say and what you do, people are still going to make the same mistake over and over again getting away with it without consequences while you made a poor decision once and you have to be the only one that is seeing as guilty and wrong. Forever. This is not fair and I was so angry I wanted to take Kell with me, punch everyone who was hurting him and escape to a 5th London, one I’d create myself only for him and me.

“Why are you defending her?” he snapped, rounding on his brother. “Why am I the only one in this fucking world to be held accountable for my actions?”

Lila Lila Lila. I had a little problem with her, one I didn’t have in the first book. She is reckless, she throws herself in dangerous situations and challenges her capacities to the limits. That’s a good thing but in this book she is selfish and she doesn’t care about what her actions might do to whoever is around her. That bothers me a lot. I get you want to see where this new you can get you, challenge is a part of you, you want more and more etc, but if someone you care a little about is telling you that your actions might have terrible consequences not only for you but for more than 10 people, maybe ruining their lives, why do you react with a smile and act like you don’t care? What is wrong with you? You are stubborn but there has to be a limit, people can get hurt, can lose everything they have but you don’t care because you already lost everything and you want to feel alive? Does that seem like an excuse? It doesn’t make me feel good that there is a chance you get away with it because the principle of it is wrong and I can’t forgive that. Sorry Lila but in this book you were my least favorite. I hope she starts thinking about her actions in the third book.

“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”

Same angry feelings I had for the Queen and King. They made Kell feel like a pawn, a piece of nothing that was only good at making mistakes and now is only good to keep their son alive. You can’t expect me to like you when you make a precious thing like Kell cry. You made tears of frustration and sadness roll down his cheeks, you monsters!! You had to see my face, it was extremely murderous.

The Element Tournament and everything happening around it wasn’t the only plot of this book. Something is changing in other Londons that weren’t supposed to change. Magic is waking, old “friends” are making a comeback, new “friends” are starting to rise and demand power. The third book is going to painful to read but I can’t wait.

My thoughts are all over the place, this review is a mess and I need the sequel asap and I demand a happy ending because my heart can’t take more of this before breaking completely.

Do I recommend it? Yes, magic, beautiful magicians, flirtatious princes, etc, you won’t regret it.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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

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“You don’t know anything about these worlds,” he said, but the fight was bleeding out of his voice. “Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Why you should read this book: Because it’s magical, a magical book with the magical power of making you fall in love with it.

Kell, one of the two last Antaris, magicians who can travel between the 4 Londons that coexists in different dimensions, has the job of passing royal correspondence between the various Kings and Queens. He has a side hobby of smuggling trinkets from the various Londons and that illegal hobby is used against him when he is set up and accused of treason. He has in his hands a really dangerous token, one that can destroy the peace they have now. During his personal quest to get rid of this dangerous thing he is robbed of it by Grey London’s thief Lila Bard. Lila will force him to take her with him in his adventure because there is nothing she wants more than being free and see “everything”.

“Looking for trouble, he’d say. You’re gonna look till you find it. Trouble is the looker, she’d answer. It keeps looking till it finds you. Might as well find it first.”

Loved this, it has everything I love in a story: magic, a strong girl who can rock males’ clothes, different dimensions, weird languages, cute guys and cruel villains, the ones that want you deader than dead.

There are 3 Londons, Red, White and Grey, 3 different worlds with different cultures, different languages and, it seems, different smell? There were 4 Londons before: Black London abused magic and it consumed them and started spreading like a plague through the doors to the other worlds. Red London sealed its doors and White London had to fight hard and now they are a world that it’s fading. Grey London has almost forgotten about magic and Red London has the perfect balance, it’s the best place to live in it appears.

Kell, our wonderful main character, is an Antari, someone who was born with blood magic. One of his eyes is completely black as a result of this. Antaris are the only ones that can open doors through the worlds and after the latters were sealed they started to disappear leaving only two still alive, the other Antari being Holland from White London.
Kell is sweet, maybe a little too grim sometimes, he thinks he doesn’t deserve what he has, he doesn’t deserve the love he is being given but the King and Queen of Red London and he doesn’t think he deserves being seen as a Prince. He can be very stubborn but his love for his brother Rhy will prove essential to his quest. Kell is a cute little guy, he feels older than he really is but at times he feels little, a little lost boy, maybe because he is almost the last of his kind and because he doesn’t know who he was before he was 5 years old. That’s a mystery I hope will be explained in the sequel.

The other Antari is Holland. He serves the twisted evil Dane twins, Athos and Astrid of White London. They crave power and magic and compelled everyone into obeying their evil desires. I don’t like them but as villains they are perfect, deeply evil and merciless. I wanted to punch them every single time, that’s how evil they were, they made me violent. Mission accomplished twins, you are evil enough for me to hate you!

“The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.”

Lila, our not-so-damsel-in-distress-but-a-wannabe-pirate is exactly what Kell needed to keep him from joining the dark side. Go away from the dark light, Kell, it’s baaaad! Lila is a thief, she pickpockets in order to eat and live. She is all by herself dreaming of being a pirate with shiny boots and her own ship. Captain Bard! She has a very strong will and is very brave. She doesn’t only want adventure, she wants her freedom, to be able to be what she knows she deserves to be. I was always cheering for her, she is lovely!

“Lila Bard lived by a simple rule: if a thing was worth having, it was worth taking.”

Rhy, the flirtatious prince of Red London and Kell’s kind of step brother. They love each other so much it hurts. I had heart-shaped eyes all the time they were together or thinking of each other. What a wonderful time to be alive!! I want to see more of Rhy, we got to see only a little bit but I already fell for him. I fall for everyone so maybe it doesn’t really count but Rhy is special, he is cute, cuddling and loves his brother. There’s nothing more you could want in a guy. His smile lights entire cities!

“He’s … charming and spoiled, generous and fickle and hedonistic. He would flirt with a nicely upholstered chair, and he never takes anything seriously.”

The way the story is written keeps you glued to the pages. If I wasn’t very fond of sleeping I would’ve finish this in one day but sleeping is one of my favorite activities and I do it so well.

I fell in love with the author, what a woman, I am so glad I got to meet you and your fantastic books. This is my second and of course it won’t be my last. Keep them coming and I’ll keep buying and reading them.

Read it and let it fill you with magic!
Do you smell flowers? Because I do.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it is pure magic.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.”

Title: Vicious
Author: V.E. Schwab
Why you should read this book: superpowers!

Eli and Victor are roommates in college. They are both brilliant, ambitious and have a dark side, a crazy side. The world they live have EOs, extraordinary people, but nobody knows how they get their powers and who they are. There are only rumors all over the internet. Eli found out that, if the right conditions are presented, anyone can get superpowers and become EOs. At this point everything they were and had will cease to exist and problems will begin. Victor ends up in prison for 10 years and when he manages to escape, with his cellmate Mitch, he embarks on a mission to find his former friend and kill him. Little he knows that Eli is on a mission to kill every other EO on Earth, and he says his mission is from God himself.

“When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.”

Wow, just wow!! Everything about this story is captivating, you need more and more!! I love how the story was told, first through flashbacks like the ones of Victor and Eli in college, how they became who they are now. Then the countdown to midnight at the end. It was the perfect idea to keep the reader glued to the pages.

Victor and Eli are brilliant students, charismatic and they have a big problem: they are super ambitious. When you have a theory you want to test it, right? Play God never get you where you want. Eli thinks God has a plan for him, that he made him who he is and that he needs him to clean the world of what’s wrong. My problem with Eli is that he isn’t open to questions about his faith: his plan is the best even if there isn’t a person in the world to think that.

Victor is my favourite character, dark, vicious with a side of masterplotter (is that a word?). He is jealous of Eli: he thinks his friend has things that were supposed to belong to him. Events during college made this jealousy a lot worse. He sees in Eli someone similar to him, in ambition and in craziness and these similarities are the main reason for their rivalry.

Victor has two people helping him in his quest to kill Eli: Mitch, his cellmate, a big man covered in tattoos with a passion for chocolate drinks and hacking, and Sydney, a twelve year-old girl with a peculiar ability. Mitch and Sydney are side characters but that doesn’t mean they are not important: both their abilities, ordinary and not, are perfectly complementary to Victor’s so they are the perfect match. He could’ve not done anything without their help.

At first I thought, no, Victor is not a villain, Eli must be the villain. This doubt went for a few chapters but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There are no heroes in this story, the world is not always made of opposites. You side with Victor, Sydney and Mitch not because they’re the good guys: they look good to you because you think like them but what if you thought that EOs were monsters? You’d think Eli was the one that was right, you’d start rooting for him and hating Victor.

You start having a certain opinion about the characters and, flashback after flashback, you learn more about them and you think: well, he did that and it was wrong but who I am to judge? You cheer for Victor not because he is the good guy but because he somehow gained your trust through the pages.

There is no going back now for me. I love you, Victor!

Do I recommend it? Yes, it is dark, it has superpowers and amazing characters.
Rate: 5/5

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