Vindicated by Vengeful: A Victorious Sequel!

vengefulI know that some people aren’t crazy about Vengeful, the sequel to the vastly celebrated Vicious, but this is *exactly* the kind of Schwab fare I sign up for.

Yes, it was missing the simplicity of Vicious, yes, it took things further than its predecessor, HOWEVER it was that complexity which meant I ended up liking it even more. And I frickin loved Vicious. Not only did it have the stellar concept from the first book, but it raised the stakes, pushed the boundaries of sympathy and challenged the already established ideas. Schwab didn’t rest on her laurels with this book; she didn’t just reproduce the first book. She did something different and that’s why I think this has been somewhat of a divisive sequel.

For me, it ticked all the boxes. There were so many strokes of genius that I was blown away time and again. The plot was intense from start to finish; the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the layered element of flashbacks and timejumps- which served to make it ever more intricate. It was thought provoking and thrilling in equal measure. The intensity was such that I couldn’t stop reading. As it heated up towards the finale, I was on tenterhooks.

Naturally, this was in large part thanks to the fabulous voice employed throughout. The writing was as composed as an orchestra, each instrument, from word choice to pacing, was perfectly on beat. Its overall effect was exquisite. Needless to say, my kindle ended up as colourful as an impressionist painting 😉

What added to this masterpiece was the characters. The return of Victor Vale was, as expected, something to behold. It’s no secret I LOVE this character- a visionary villain who is almost a hero. It was fun to see the others return as well- even if I wasn’t crazy about all of them. And of course, it wouldn’t have been the same without the enigmatic Eli and his horrifyingly manipulative ways. I did like the main antagonist, Marcella, since she created a nice sense of drama too and added to the themes, however she wasn’t my favourite.

Evidently, I adored this book. The Villains series, for me, is the very best of Schwab. I can’t wait to see where it ends up!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

V E Schwab is Masterful at Conjuring Light

a conjuring of lightI must have mentioned a million times on this blog how much I love Schwab’s work- and I am so happy to say that the master has done it again! Boy, did I have fun reading this book!

After the last book I have to say, I was excited about where this journey would take me next, and boy did this deliver. This full on adventure took us beyond the ever-changing colour of Schwab’s London, sailing to the high seas and beyond to the darker recesses of the character’s minds.

The characterisation was flawless as per the usual standard. Of course it was wonderful to see favourites from the last books- Kell, Lila, Rhy, Alucard- again, but what was so brilliant about this book was how much more fleshed out some of the other characters became. And even better was how villains and allies had moments of changing their allegiances as easily as Kell changes her coat.

Most of all, I have to give credit for the absolutely beautiful writing. Just like the tightly spun magic around the heroes in the book, her writing held A Conjuring of Light together and made for an absolutely incredible reading experience.

Undoubtedly, this was a near perfect conclusion to the series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Have you read this? Did you like it? And if you’re a Schwab fan- what’s your favourite of her books?

Also I know I’ve had *a lot* of positive reviews lately but I can promise that some of my ones that are coming are less glowing…

A Gathering of Shadows…

A Gathering of Shadows FinalSo let’s talk about London while it still exists. Because obviously it looks like it is about to be engulfed by darkness… Oh I probably should have clarified that I mean Red London in the world of V E Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. Obviously I’m not talking about my dear old hometown! This has nothing to do with the referendum! I just write book reviews 😉 (Too soon to make jokes I wonder?)

Personally, I love V E Schwab. She can practically do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. Her books are a uniquely colourful and dark blend- I didn’t hesitate to give the two books I’ve read of hers (Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic) 5*. So clearly, I am already heavily invested in this series.

This time, however, I felt the build-up was much slower than I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong- I really, really enjoyed this book. But I didn’t feel like a recap of the last book and an overlong reintroduction into the world she’d already beautifully illustrated was entirely necessary.

Other than that it was business as usual for Schwab. I appreciated the depth she added to the villains, the world and the characters. I especially liked the introduction of a new-old love interest for one of the lead heroes (don’t worry, no spoilers). And when the plot finally did pick up, it went at full speed ahead, slamming straight into an iceberg- which I admit sounds like a bad thing, but was actually thoroughly entertaining, if somewhat totally nerve-wracking and left my heart ringing in my chest as the shock hit. Then when it ended- abruptly and without warning- I’ll admit I was a bit shaken up. I felt like I’d been left out in the cold, just hoping the lifeboats (Schwab) will show up and take us all (Kell) to safety. In short, it went swimmingly. And no- I am still not talking about Brexit!

Overall I am optimistic for a satisfactorily grand finale for this series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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Okey dokey- right now I’ve got to love you and leave you (that’s not a subliminal message I swear!) So if you still like and want to visit the UK, feel free to check out my last post and you can visit Britain in spirit (if not in reality 😉 ) And do let me know what you think in the comments!

Top 10 Books of 2015

Welcome- and happy almost New Year! This year has been a crazy one for reading- I’ve read an insane 95 books (*say what?!?*) Amongst this windfall there have been too many terrible stinkers, a lot of YA romance for some reason (I’m thinking finishing my degree and wanting to unwind was a huge factor in that), a fair amount of fantasy, fewer classics than usual and some really incredible books! This list is dedicated to those incredible books that just lit me up from the inside out, made me laugh and had me weeping buckets.

I tried to put this in order, but let’s face it, when you’re choosing between two books you love it’s nigh on impossible to choose which one you love more. I mean- how do you measure that- by number of squeals or something? So in no particular order, I present to you, my top ten books of 2015:

1. peter pan

peter pan and wendy

Yup- I finally (re)read this- and yup, it was amazing.

1. liars

we were liars

It was the first book I read in 2015 and boy was it a great way to start the year. I haven’t mentioned it much on this blog yet, mostly because I feel like anything I say about it will be spoilery, but it was well worth reading. All I’ll say other than that is the prose was beautiful!

3. final empire.png

final-empire

I was going to say The Shadow of What Was Lost but according to my goodreads, I finished that on New Year’s Eve in 2014, so to fill that fantasy void, I’m gonna say The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Which is a brilliant book anyway and probably would’ve made it onto the list regardless.

4. throne of glass

Throne_of_Glass_UK

And by that I mean the whole series. I know, I know, I’m kind of cheating, but to be honest I could put any of them on the list, so I don’t want to take up room, and I did read all of them in 2015. I always cheat in book lists anyway, so why should this be any different?

5. young elite

the young elites

I read this fairly recently, but it definitely makes it onto the list! It was a close call between this and the The Red Queen but this one *just* edged it out, because I loved it just a little bit more. Not that it was an easy decision to make- and I’m kind of thinking of changing my mind… See what I mean about choosing between two favourites! It’s just so hard! Ughh- they should both be on the list really. (Also, I’m counting this with The Rose Society cos, hello, I just said I’m a cheater)

6. darker shade

a darker shade of magic

What can I say other than that this was spectacular?

7. Vicious

vicious

Yes, I know V E Schwab was already on the list- but I can’t help it if she’s an incredible author. She just *deserves* two spaces on the list. I *love* the main character in this book and the plot is sensational and so clever! I go through phases with books, and right now this one has edged out A Darker Shade of Magic as my favourite book by V.E.Schwab- *so far*- cos let’s face it, I’m going to be reading loads more of her books in the future!

8. Memoirs of Geisha

memoirs of a geisha

This book came at exactly the right moment for me- I can’t really explain why. I’ve not read a more beautiful book in a really long time. It made a lasting impression and I’m certain I’m going to remember it for a really long time.

9. carry on

carry on

I loved this book so much and I’m glad I still had space on the list for it- heck, let’s face it, I made space for it! Check out my ten reasons to read it here

10. man's

man's search for meaning

This book was non-fiction, but it had to make it onto the list. Because it is undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read. It articulated so many feelings I have about the world, to the point where I’ve gotten lazy when I answer questions about my philosophy on life, because I basically just say now: “go read Man’s  Search For Meaning- he puts it so much better than I ever could”. It’s deep, it’s meaningful and it feels like it soccer-punched my soul at some points. So go read it.

There you have it- those were my favourite reads of 2015. Did any of these make it onto your top ten? Let me know in the comment section below.