Shades of Magic #2 by V.E. Schwab
Published on: February 23, 2016
Have you ever liked a book or a series and yet didn’t like one of the main characters? I mean like really, really disliked a main character. That’s where I am with Lila Bard. I had trouble with her in the first book, but in this second book in the series my dislike for her has moved very far from just “trouble.”
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.
I dislike Delilah Bard, but there were other aspects of this book separate from her that really frustrated me as well. I disliked the direction that the relationship between Kell and his adoptive parents, the King and Queen, were taking. Or, to put it more specifically – how Kell was being treated by his adoptive parents. At the end of book 1, he brings his brother back to life by tying it with his own life and instead of being thankful and seeing how blessed they are that Kell did this they treat his like a criminal. I also wasn’t thrilled by the storyline of the new/old “bad guy”, which I can’t really go into without presenting spoilers. However, all of these frustrated me because I care about the series. V.E. Schwab definitely has a way of drawing you into the fictional world and story. I care about Kell therefore, I care about how he is being treated by the King and Queen within the story.
Although I had issue with other parts of the story, my feelings toward Lila Bard are different. In the first book, I didn’t really like how she treated Kell or the desperate situation they were in. At the time, I partially thought it might be how the voice actress was portraying her since I am listening to the series on audio book. However, I must apologize to the narrator in the first book because it is definitely the character I dislike and not the portrayal. I know these characters aren’t real so how they treat each other shouldn’t matter, but it does matter to me when they are one of the main characters I am supposed to root for. In A Gathering of Shadows, she makes a decision that directly affects someone’s life all because, well, she doesn’t really know why she does it. She just does it because she decides she wants to without thinking about how it might impact the individual. All this I might forgive if there was a good reason behind it, but there wasn’t. She just acts selfishly because apparently the only thing that matters is what she wants. My feelings about her made the book difficult to listen to at times, but thankfully in an audio book I can just fast forward until I get to a new section.
The audio book is narrated by two individuals: Michael Kramer and Kate Reading, with each of them narrating Kell and Lila’s story, respectively. They both did excellent jobs and the production had good quality.
I like the series, but I’ve discovered I like it for Kell and for Prince Rhy. I like it for the magic system and the worlds and all their colors. But not for Lila.