Mizuki's Reviews > A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
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did not like it

I actually think The Graces by Laure Eve, a YA novel which receives horrible rating on GR, is actually a better reading material than A Darker Shade of Magic , the prequel of A Gathering of Shadows.

Let's hope I will have better luck this time.

What I learnt from reading YA novels: every 'badass' YA girl needs to be a pirate, a hacker, a rebel or an outlaw. you know, girls with lawful and regular jobs are so, so uncool. I am looking right at you, Lila.

Okay...I know this novel is supposed to be a fantasy novel for adults, but I can't shake off the feeling that every main characters are way too juvenile to match up with this 'adult fantasy' setting.



Again I need to go back to the problem with Lila, if this Lila girl (who behaved like a 12 years old kid bragging about her pirate custom instead of a 16 years old in the first book) talks one more time about how she is 'so good at it' and how 'she is one a a kind' and how 'her name is Delilah Bard', I am going to throw this book across the room!

Also, a question to fellow readers: Did Kell offer Lila money or chance of employment as reward for her service by the end of book 1? I vaguely remember Lila was gifted with some money but the rest I can't remember very clearly. The point is, why would Kell let loose a known thief to his world without offering her some chance to reform? What was he thinking?

However, if Kell had made an offer but Lila turned it down in order to go on her 'adventure' of being a pirate (you know, pirates, those bad guys who rob and kill people at sea for a living), then Lila you are just a piece of human trash in my eyes.

Update: now it's official, Delilah Bard is a piece of morally bankrupted human trash disguising as a 'strong female character':

Look, see. I can understand people doing awful things when their lives depend on it, I can be compassionate when people are forced to do cruel things when they have no other choice. But it isn't the case when Lila (view spoiler), my understanding reaches the fucking limitation and all I want to do is to smash her skull in for what she had done.

In order not to fall right into this 'strong female character' trap, all of us have to remember one important thing: killing people doesn't make you strong, plus a lot of women (and men) in reality suffered a great deal in their lives but they didn't degrade themselves into becoming some murderous sociopaths. Case closed.

And...what's the matter with you, Kell!? In the first book he is this brooding YA guy who sits around and broods just because...you know...brooding guys are sexy...or something. Then in this book, after disobeying his adoptive parents (a.k.a the king and the queen), after enabling a certain pair of evil twin to launch an attack against Red London, resulting in the death of god-know how many innocent citizens, now the king and queen can't trust Kell anymore and put him under surveillance(for good), then......Kell is upset about being treated like this?



Honestly, Alucard Emery is the only somewhat-interesting character in the story, even though I suspect his namesake is a ripoff from the Alucard, of the Hellsing manga/anime series However, due to the fact that I just can't put up with Lila so I had to skim almost every chapter with her in it, so I don't get a closer look at Alucard's story anyway.

Oh...and Alucard's vaguely-hinted-at-romance with Rhy is interesting too...although we only get one scene of their interacting, this Alucard/Rhy scene successfully beat whatever LGTB romance Leigh Bardugo had tried to add in her Six of Crows series.

However, back off Alucard! Rhy is his own person, he isn't yours!

Now, I need to get to this book's greatest crime: it is very boring!

First we get to go along with the main characters going through the aftermath of the attack from the first book, but the problem is...these people are dealing with this aftermath and their internal struggles for the total of first 300 pages of this book (I'm looking right at you Kell, and your stupid angst issues), and when the magical contest finally takes place, it's rather brief, rushed and unexciting. How sad!

I mean, if you happened to like seeing Kell brooding around some more, if you were interested in seeing Prince Rhy ranting about his life being saved (plus can he be more of a bisexual stereotype as a bi young man who would flirt with everything that moves!?) if you could suffer through Lila's self-importance and annoying, cocky, childish attitude for the total of a 500+ pages book, you might be okay with this book.

The climax is a bit of a letdown as well, (view spoiler)

Last but not least, I feel bad that the most interesting characters, (view spoiler), only get to show up a bit for the whole book. How sad!

My review for the sequel: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
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Reading Progress

May 30, 2018 – Started Reading
May 30, 2018 – Shelved
May 31, 2018 –
page 1
0.2% "No one needs you here, Lila. Back off."
June 11, 2018 –
page 11
2.15% "I am one of a damned kind.

*frowns* Shut up already, Lila."
June 11, 2018 –
page 17
3.32%
June 12, 2018 –
page 22
4.3% "every 'badass' YA girl needs to be a pirate, a hacker, a rebel or an outlaw. you know, girls with lawful and ordinary jobs are so, uncool."
June 13, 2018 –
page 28
5.47% "No! Please don't do that to me! I don't want any more Lila's chapters!"
June 15, 2018 –
page 28
5.47% "I understand Lila had had no choice but to be a thief in Grey London, but what good does she ever want to do when she gets a chance with a fresh start?

She goes being a pirate! She doesn't go educate herself or anything, she just goes off to rob people again! I don't care it is 'bad people' that she chooses to rob, that is still no excuse!"
June 18, 2018 –
page 28
5.47% "Can Prince Rhy be more of a bisexual stereotype as a bi young man who would flirt with everything that moves!?"
July 30, 2018 –
page 90
17.58% "I am skipping the first 50 pages of this book because I can't stand Lila, and Kell and Rhy aren't so much better."
July 31, 2018 –
page 104
20.31% "Shut it Kell, the king and queen wouldn't trust you now because you broke their trust and their son paid for it!"
July 31, 2018 –
page 123
24.02% "Lila's chapters again...time to skip."
August 6, 2018 –
page 144
28.13%
August 7, 2018 –
page 152
29.69% "Well well well, the crew members now treat Lila as one of their own, but she is uncomfortable about it?!"
August 7, 2018 –
page 158
30.86% "I kid you not, the author tell us other countries believe Kell, a 17 years old with barely a position in the court and national affairs, is the power behind the throne."
August 7, 2018 –
page 194
37.89% "Although I still hate how Rhy is the stereotyped bi-sexual teen who flirts with everything that moves, but this guy is still growing on me and the foreshadowing of a same sex romance seems exciting!"
August 7, 2018 –
page 195
38.09% "What a shame that I'm forced to skip and skim whenever Lila takes the central stage........I mean, I do want to learn more about this pirate guy."
August 7, 2018 –
page 196
38.28% "alright, so now it's clarified that Kell is actually 21 years old, but it's even more outrageous for a 21 years old man to fail to follow the simple rule of NOT bringing any object from the other worlds! I would expect a 10 years old to fail following this simple rule, but not a grown man."
August 7, 2018 –
page 197
38.48% "and what kind of royal guards would be stupid enough to take orders from a prince only because the prince tells them 'this is my father's order'? shouldn't they ask the King first thing?"
August 7, 2018 –
page 197
38.48% "I guess I'm supposed to feel sorry for Lila because OMG her life is so hard that she can't trust anyone and their friendship now!

Get over yourself, girl."
August 7, 2018 –
page 197
38.48% "btw, can Rhy also travel between worlds now?"
August 7, 2018 –
page 234
45.7%
August 8, 2018 –
page 326
63.67% "I can't believe Lila actually kills a person who has never done anything to her, she does it for her own gain and her fucking adventure!

That girl needs to be put down."
August 8, 2018 –
page 326
63.67% "The saving grace of this story is the barely mentioned gay romance. Lol"
August 9, 2018 –
page 352
68.75% "This book basically tells you, murdering people for your own gain is good.

lovely."
August 9, 2018 –
page 354
69.14% "and why would Rhy and Kell undergoing all these stunts in such important contest under the risk of upsetting the royals from other kingdoms and threatening the peace between nations? all for that stupid reason for letting Kell to cool off some bit?"
August 9, 2018 –
page 384
75.0% "Oh, Kell is still whining about how the king wouldn't trust him. *rolls eyes*"
August 10, 2018 –
page 428
83.59% "It's so fucking boring."
August 10, 2018 –
page 454
88.67% "Now they kissed! It comes totally out of nowhere! They didn't know one another well, they barely spent time together, but now they kissed!"
August 10, 2018 –
page 481
93.95% "I don't care about where this story is going and what will happen to these characters anymore!"
August 10, 2018 –
page 491
95.9% "The Big Bad shows up, and too bad we had only seen so little of the villains in this story, the villains are more interesting as characters."
August 10, 2018 –
page 512
100.0% "I don't freaking care anymore.!!!"
August 10, 2018 –
page 512
100.0% "the King is right to point out at least Prince Rhy is trying to put his acts together, whilst Kell just sits around and rants not being trust."
August 11, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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Caitlin ahh, too bad, i really love this series haha. i wasn’t too fond of the first one either tho.


Mizuki Caitlin wrote: "ahh, too bad, i really love this series haha. i wasn’t too fond of the first one either tho."

Let's see what will happen with this book.


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (A French Girl) IKR! That's so annoying.


Mizuki Sarah wrote: "IKR! That's so annoying."

glad to know I am not the only one.


message 5: by Wilde (new) - added it

Wilde Fuck Lila. That's all I've to say.


Mizuki Wilde wrote: "Fuck Lila. That's all I've to say."

She isn't winning much friendship among readers.


Elisa I still hold out hope that she can have a redemption arc in book 3.


message 8: by Wilde (new) - added it

Wilde Yup. Many don't like her.


Mizuki Elisa (Bookish Expat) wrote: "I still hold out hope that she can have a redemption arc in book 3."

Huhh....I have difficulty even to get through this book 2 because of Lila, man!


Mizuki Wilde wrote: "Yup. Many don't like her."

I had wondered if I disliked her partly because she happens to be a female character...then I thought: "No if she were a man I would dislike her just as much."


message 11: by Wilde (new) - added it

Wilde Mizuki wrote: "Wilde wrote: "Yup. Many don't like her."

I had wondered if I disliked her partly because she happens to be a female character...then I thought: "No if she were a man I would dislike her just as mu..."


I never thought like that. I dislike her the same reason I dislike Aelin from ToG: arrogant, bratty, undisciplined moron who are Mary Sues to the highest order.


Mizuki Wilde wrote: "I never thought like that. I dislike her the same reason I dislike Aelin from ToG: arrogant, bratty, undisciplined moron who are Mary Sues to the highest order. "

And she think traveling between worlds, battling the White London's King and Queen can give her all these credits to be cocky. Shame on her.


message 13: by Wilde (last edited Jun 16, 2018 06:05PM) (new) - added it

Wilde Mizuki wrote: "Wilde wrote: "I never thought like that. I dislike her the same reason I dislike Aelin from ToG: arrogant, bratty, undisciplined moron who are Mary Sues to the highest order. "

And she think trave..."


Ugh, I can't stand her. Then she has audacity to say, "I'm not like other girls." Well, ah, duh. All girls are not like other girls. That's what makes us all thr same. I hate that trope of women hating feminine qualities. I'm a tomboy, but I don't judge other girls who perfer wearing make-up, wearing dresses, and gossiping.


message 14: by Mizuki (last edited Jun 16, 2018 06:12PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Mizuki Wilde wrote: " I hate that trope of women hating feminine qualities. I'm a tomboy, but I don't judge other girls who perfer wearing make-up, wearing dresses, and gossiping. "

So in her mind, being a girl means being soft and silly and weak? Shame on her, shame.

I understand it is hard for a young woman to survive in a harsh world and having to prove herself among men who look down at her, but can't Lila do it with some grace and self-respect?


message 15: by Wilde (new) - added it

Wilde Mizuki wrote: "Wilde wrote: " I hate that trope of women hating feminine qualities. I'm a tomboy, but I don't judge other girls who perfer wearing make-up, wearing dresses, and gossiping. "

So in her mind, being..."


Pfft, one shouldn't expect much from these "strong" female characters.


Mizuki @Wilde: yeah, being strong doesn't mean being a jerk, for hell's sake.


message 17: by Wilde (new) - added it

Wilde Mizuki wrote: "@Wilde: yeah, being strong doesn't mean being a jerk, for hell's sake."

Nope. Not at all. One of my favorite female characters before the writers screwed her over post season 2 was Felicity Smoak. She wasn't a badass killing machine. She was strong in other ways. She worked in IT at one of Oliver Queen's buildings and was his tech support when he's the Green Arrow. She was caring, loyal, intelligent, girly, wore some of cutest outfits, and wasn't stupid by any means. She didn't kick ass but in the face of danger, she faced it head-on, without fear, and did it all to protect the people she loves.

Then the writers had to mess her all up for stupid fanservice. She, IMO, was one of the best non-fighting but badass in her way females.


Mizuki @Wilde: after The Hunger Game, girls with regular job and no fighting skill and sob stories are just so, uncool.


message 19: by Wilde (new) - added it

Wilde Mizuki wrote: "@Wilde: after The Hunger Game, girls with regular job and no fighting skill and sob stories are just so, uncool."

Exactly: there are different forms of strength instead of physical.


Mizuki Wilde wrote: "Mizuki wrote: "@Wilde: after The Hunger Game, girls with regular job and no fighting skill and sob stories are just so, uncool."

Exactly: there are different forms of strength instead of physical."


This book would have been a lot more tolerable if only Lila isn't there.


message 21: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa Everything I know about Lila is the reason why I haven't read these books yet... ooops?


Mizuki Vanessa wrote: "Everything I know about Lila is the reason why I haven't read these books yet... ooops?"

Yup, better stay away, the rest of the novel is decent enough but it doesn't worth the trouble.


message 23: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (A French Girl) Who said YA novel actually needed to make sense? lool


Mizuki Sarah wrote: "Who said YA novel actually needed to make sense? lool"

Huhh...perhaps I'm just too serious.


message 25: by Alice (new) - added it

Alice I am going to throw this book across the room!

I'd rather throw Lila across the room.


Mizuki Alice wrote: "I am going to throw this book across the room!

I'd rather throw Lila across the room."


she deserves much worse than this, much worse. (view spoiler) Can you believe that!?


message 27: by Alice (new) - added it

Alice Mizuki wrote: "Alice wrote: "I am going to throw this book across the room!

I'd rather throw Lila across the room."

she deserves much worse than this, much worse. [spoilers removed] Can you believe that!?"


Throw her into the trash.


Mizuki Alice wrote: "Mizuki wrote: "Alice wrote: "I am going to throw this book across the room!

I'd rather throw Lila across the room."

she deserves much worse than this, much worse. [spoilers removed] Can you belie..."


Good.


Mizuki Sarah wrote: "Who said YA novel actually needed to make sense? lool"

My friend, and this book isn't even a YA, it's an adult fantasy book for adult audience, believe it or not.


message 30: by Alice (new) - added it

Alice Update: now it's official, Delilah Bard is a piece of morally bankrupted human trash disguising as a 'strong female character'

Ah Lila Bard, proving girls can be 'strong' because they can kill people too.


Mizuki Alice wrote: "Ah Lila Bard, proving girls can be 'strong' because they can kill people too."

A lot of women in reality suffered a great deal in their lives but they didn't degrade themselves into becoming some murderous sociopaths.


message 32: by Maša (new)

Maša Lila is a psychopat. I read this books with many recommendations and felt like "how" the whole time. I abandoned the third book about two thirds in, I couldn't care less about characters and the world. Ugh.


Mizuki Maša wrote: "Lila is a psychopat. I read this books with many recommendations and felt like "how" the whole time. I abandoned the third book about two thirds in, I couldn't care less about characters and the wo..."

Too bad that my curiosity will most likely lead me to read the first book.

PS: I have so much hatred and disgust toward Lila to last a lifetime damn it!


Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー every 'badass' YA girl needs to be a pirate, a hacker, a rebel or an outlaw. you know, girls with lawful and regular jobs are so, so uncool. I am looking right at you, Lila. Fantastic review, Mizuki, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks this series is a total dud.


Mizuki Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal) wrote: "every 'badass' YA girl needs to be a pirate, a hacker, a rebel or an outlaw. you know, girls with lawful and regular jobs are so, so uncool. I am looking right at you, Lila. Fantastic review, Mizuk..."

I like the Alucard gif in your review!


message 36: by bye (new)

bye ive read some of your reviews and i think they are good


Mizuki Berry Blast wrote: "ive read some of your reviews and i think they are good"

oh, thank you.


message 38: by bye (new)

bye welcome


message 39: by risa marise (new) - added it

risa marise I actually DNFed the first book because of Lila


Mizuki Rizas wrote: "I actually DNFed the first book because of Lila"

she gets worse in this book, so you don't have to bother.


Jen/The Tolkien Gal/ジェニファー Mizuki wrote: "Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal) wrote: "every 'badass' YA girl needs to be a pirate, a hacker, a rebel or an outlaw. you know, girls with lawful and regular jobs are so, so uncool. I am looking righ..."

Thanks Mizuki! :)


Mizuki Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal) wrote: "Mizuki wrote: "Jennifer (Jen/The Tolkien Gal) wrote: "every 'badass' YA girl needs to be a pirate, a hacker, a rebel or an outlaw. you know, girls with lawful and regular jobs are so, so uncool. I ..."

welcomed!


message 43: by Jane (new) - rated it 1 star

Jane Thank you so much for articulating all that is wrong with this book. I don't get the massive popularity of V.E. Schwab among adult readers— her work is so simple and dripping with condescension. It seemed like she had to dumb down the mysteries and spell everything out for her readers because she thinks they're too stupid to figure out. I also never got the supposed 'chemistry' Kell and Lila had. What do they even have in common? For someone who tries to be righteous most of the time, why was Kell even attracted to Lila in the first place?
Great review, as always! I always love to see your take on books.


Mizuki Jane wrote: "Thank you so much for articulating all that is wrong with this book. I don't get the massive popularity of V.E. Schwab among adult readers— her work is so simple and dripping with condescension. It..."

Thank you Jane for your good opinion! as to the 'relationship' between Kell and Lila it is total BS in my eyes.


message 45: by Gabby (new)

Gabby R Did you know that the name Alucard is actually Dracula backwards? I’ve also seen Hellsing and it makes sense because it’s a story about a vampire. I’ve seen the name pop up in other places and it’s usually the name of a vampire who hunts other vampires. It’s possible the author just thought the name sounded cool and just used it without knowing the implications.


Mizuki Gabby wrote: "Did you know that the name Alucard is actually Dracula backwards? I’ve also seen Hellsing and it makes sense because it’s a story about a vampire. I’ve seen the name pop up in other places and it’s..."

I thought Alucard is a name that the manga-ka of Hellsing had come up with on his own. and I must agree naming your non-vampire character 'Alucard' is really, really weird.


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