A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab


Leggi questo articolo in italiano

A Gathering of Shadows is the second volume of the Shades of Magic trilogy(?), following A Darker Shade of Magic.

I start by saying that I like the style of the author and her choice to build original characters, different from the standard ones. I advance also that I was impatiently waiting for this book to be published and now I’m pining away for the third one.

Let’s begin with a brief summary about the context: there are four parallel universes that share only a city (London) and are different for the possibility to do magic. In our world magic is impossible (Grey London), in the one of the protagonist Kell (Red London) there is balance in magic, in White London magic is slowly disappearing and Black London collapsed on itself for the excessive magic power. The boundaries between the worlds are insuperable a part for the Antari (like Kell), extremely powerful and almost extinct magicians.

At the end of the first book we left Kell back to the palace, his life now indissolubly linked to Rhy’s the future king. Lila instead refused to come back to Grey London and left Red London for sea adventures.

Now Kell lives like a prisoner: the king wants to avoid any pain to his son and the only way is to keep Kell safe and controlled. Lila is the new thief of a ship commanded by a mysterious and beautiful captain, Alucard Emery.

Red London is in ferment for the Essen Tasch, a competition of duels between the best magician of the empire to which also Alucard will compete in. While the games are be set up the lives of Kell and Lila seems to be converging again and in White London are happening extraordinary changes.

A Gathering of Shadows is a very engaging novel, even if it is a transition towards the third book where – I think – the most of the problems will be solved; its role is mostly to make characters evolve in a new state, but it lacks a proper ending.

To make up for it the characters do not disappoint: Lila is always excessive, reckless and passionate for new adventures, Kell reasonable, reflective but more and more frustrated for the new limits imposed to his life. We also discover something new about Rhy, who had a marginal role in the previous book.

I think this series is good, there is an elaboration of common fantasy elements and goes beyond the concept of “eternal struggle between good and evil” by developing interesting and multifaceted characters.

* A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab ★★★★☆

*I read this book in english

Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab


Read this post in english

Di V.E. Schwab avevo già letto Vicious che mi aveva colpito per originalità e per come si scostava dai canoni dei romanzi YA, proponendo personaggi complessi e difficilmente etichettabili nelle classiche categorie di “buono” e “cattivo”.

Magic è il primo capitolo dell’omonima trilogia, ambientata in parte nella Londra del nostro universo e in parte in universi paralleli. Quattro gli universi che si differenziano in funzione di quanta magia è rimasta utilizzabile e categorizzati dal protagonista in base ai colori predominanti nell’ambiente: il mondo più vicino alla magia è la Londra nera a cui non vi è più accesso proprio a causa della magia che dominava gli abitanti, la Londra bianca, in cui tutti cercano la magia residua per dominarla, e città dominata da due gemelli ambiziosi e violenti, la Londra rossa, patria del protagonista Kell e luogo in cui la magia è in equilibrio con chi la utilizza e per ultima la Londra grigia, ovvero il nostro mondo privo di magia.

Kell appartiene a una razza praticamente estinta capace di utilizzare la magia del sangue, che gli dà anche la possibilità di viaggiare attraverso i diversi piani spaziali, attività impossibile per le persone comuni. Kell ha anche il vizio di contrabbandare oggetti da un piano all’altro in cambio di ninnoli e piccoli oggetti graziosi di cui fa collezione, andando contro alle regole che impongono questa attività. E sarà proprio per questo che Kell verrà in possesso di una pietra nera, magica e potentissima, proveniente dall’unico mondo irraggiungibile e bramata da diverse persone.

L’unica soluzione sembra quella di rimandare la pietra nella Londra nera da cui proviene, ma non sarà un’impresa così semplice, nonostante Kell trovi aiuto anche in Lila, ladra, assassina senza paura e proveniente dall’unico mondo senza magia.

V.E. Schwab si conferma autrice di romanzi originali e avvincenti; gli eventi qui narrati coprono uno span temporale piuttosto breve e risultano ben orchestrati. Entrambi i personaggi principali sono interessanti e non faticano a piacere, anche grazie a diversi scambi brillanti di battute, sono in attesa del secondo volume. Riuscitissima anche la grafica della copertina USA e UK, il titolo dell’edizione italiana è una versione tronca di quello originale e quindi più insignificante.

* Magic by V.E. Schwab ★★★★☆

*Ho letto questo libro in inglese

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab


Leggi questo articolo in italiano

By V.E. Schwab I already read Vicious that stands out for originality and for detaching from the YA standard, proposing complex characters that were impossible to tag as either good or bad. 

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book of the trilogy that has the same name, set in part in our London and in part in parallel universes. Four the spatial setting that could me made apart by the amount of magic they allow and by the predominant colour of the environment, like the main character does: the world closer to magic is Black London, that is also the one impossible to travel to, since it was isolated after magic began devouring the inhabitants, the second one is White London, where everyone looks for some magic to dominate, and ruled by a couple of powerful, ambitious and violent twins. Red London is Kell’s home and it’s a place where magic is in balance with the people who uses it, the last is Grey London, our world, where there is no magic at all.

Kell, the main character, belongs to a died out race of people able to use blood magic, so powerful it allows to travel among the four worlds, impossible for common people. Kell has also the bad habit of exchanging objects among the worlds to get nice trinkets he collects, violating the rules that forbid to take objects from a world to the others. And for this bad habit Kell will get a black stone, magical and powerful, coming from Black London and desired by different people for its power.

The only solution seems to sent back the stone from the world it belongs to, but it will not be easy, despite Kell is helped by Lira, thief, assassin without fear and coming from the only magic-less world.

V.E. Schwab confirms herself as an original writer, the novel is engaging and the events cover a short time span and the rhythm is fast-paced. Both the main characters are likeable and interesting, and they exchange some funny dialogues, too. I’m awaiting for the second novel of the series. Ah, also the cover graphic is extremely nice.

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

*I read this book in english