Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like 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.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.
Let’s start by saying that this series has some gorgeous covers and they deserve to be on your bookshelf. Plus, it’s such a great fantasy series! It deserves to be in your heart. (I’m so cheesy, sorry).
“Stupid… bitch. You’ll pay… for this. I’m gonna-” He never finished. Lila gave him a sharp shove backward, and he toppled over the rail and crashed down into the sea. “Show the Sarows some respect,” she muttered, watching him flail briefly and then vanish beneath the surface of the tide.
Delilah Bard is just her usual self, but stronger. She’s still reckless, unashamed, and restless. And now she’s finally on a ship, doing pirate stuff. She gained everyone’s respect, and is mostly enjoying her freedom. Kell, poor soul, is feeling more alone than he’s ever had. His time with Lila showed him how much more he could have, but he’s now back at square one, feeling like a property of the royal family. Even more so, since Rye’s life is now bound to his.
“I’m sorry,” he sounded so… earnest, which made Lila instantly suspicious. Alucard was many things, but genuine wasn’t usually one of them. “For growing on me?” she asked. He shook his head. “For whatever happend to you. For whoever hurt you so deeply that you see things as friends and fondness as weapons instead of shields.”
The first half of the book mostly deals with the characters’ development after everything that happened in A Darker Shade of Magic, what they all have to deal with, and how they deal with it. So the pace is slowed down, but the author voice is so strong and beautiful that it never gets boring. Plus it’s all leading to the Essen Tasch, the Elemental Games; where magician compete against each other to find the strogest magician. That’s where our lovely characters meet again, and where the pace becomes faster and explosive.
“Wait, so is it waves, or doors, or conversations?” “It can be anything you like.” “You’re a wretched teacher.” “I warned you. If you’re not up to it-” “Shut up. I’m concentrating.” “You can’t glare magic into happening.”
Alucard (the captain of the ship Lila got access to by killing one of its members, but don’t worry no one liked him) is amazing and helps Lila controlling her magic and getting into the tournament! I love the dude and I love his banter with Lila and I love his love interest (ohmygod, that was so beautiful). As with the previous book, there isn’t much romance in this one, but we have two couples, which I ship very much. Their relationship is a slow burning that will make you go out of your mind.
“And I suppose where you were raised, women dressed as men and wore weapons like jewelry.” “… I’ve always been unique.”
This series is unique, the writing style is evocative, the wrold building so detailed, the characters so colorful; just do yourself a favor and read it.