[Audiobook Talk] A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) by V. E. Schwab

Audiobook Details

Format: Hardcover & Audiobook
Source: Purchased & Library
Narrator: Michael Kramer & Kate Reading
Length: 16 hours 9 minutes
Read: March 2017

Shades of Magic series

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic
  2. A Gathering of Shadows
  3. A Conjuring of Light

Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts

I was a little worried going into the second book of this series. I remembered lots from the first book and loved the first book, but then I read another V. E. Schwab book and wasn’t so sure about it. I had started reading this one a few months ago, got about 50 pages in and then put it down for a while – not because I didn’t like it, but because I just veered towards other books. I had remembered the library had the audiobook, so I got that and listened and it was great!

It’s funny because I don’t think a lot really happens in this book. It pretty much revolves around the competition and there’s not a lot of the London jumping that we got in the first book. However, I loved seeing all of my favourite characters again, Lila especially, and my dear, dear Kell. It was actually a lot of fun to listen to this one rather than read it because the narration was so good and the story was just so compelling that I had to keep listening. Even though there wasn’t a lot to the plot, it was just straight up enjoyable. And the (cliffhanger) ending? I can’t wait for the next book!

This series is a lot of fun and I’m happy to have bought copies of the books for my shelves – they’re gorgeous and so shelf worthy.

Audiobook Notes: 

I loved the audio for this book! I read the first one in physical format and had started this one in the hardcover, but for some reason I kept putting it down, so I got the audiobook to continue on. Apparently there were other narrators for the first book, so I can’t really compare the two, but these narrators were good. They weren’t the best, a little old for the story (especially Lila, who’s pretty young) but it worked for what I needed it to. It was a little weird listening to a book that takes place in four different Londons, and yet the characters had American accents. I will most definitely read the last book in physical format.

[Audiobook Talk] Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer

cinderAudiobook Details:

Format: Hardcover & Audiobook
Source: Bought & Library
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 10 hours 6 minutes
Read: January 2017

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Cinder is considered a technological mistake by most of society and a burden by her stepmother. Being cyborg does have its benefits, though: Cinder’s brain interference has given her an uncanny ability to fix things (robots, hovers, her own malfunctioning parts), making her the best mechanic in New Beijing. This reputation brings Prince Kai himself to her weekly market booth, needing her to repair a broken android before the annual ball. He jokingly calls it “a matter of national security,” but Cinder suspects it’s more serious than he’s letting on.

Although eager to impress the prince, Cinder’s intentions are derailed when her younger stepsister, and only human friend, is infected with the fatal plague that’s been devastating Earth for a decade. Blaming Cinder for her daughter’s illness, Cinder’s stepmother volunteers her body for plague research, an “honor” that no one has survived.

But it doesn’t take long for the scientists to discover something unusual about their new guinea pig. Something others would kill for.

My Thoughts

This was a fun book! I was a little hesitant about reading this one, since I had tried out Heartless, Marissa Meyer’s newest book, just this last month as well, and didn’t like it too much. I knew this one was a retelling, but I didn’t realize how much of a retelling it would be until I was about halfway through. I think the reason I enjoyed this one more is because I’m more familiar with the world of Cinderella than I am the world of Alice In Wonderland.

I loved the idea of Cinder, the main character, being a cyborg, of her living in New Beijing (since soooo many dystopian/fantasy YA books take place in America), and her step-sisters and step-mother. I loved that she was a mechanic and that Prince Kai wasn’t the knight in shining armour that Prince Charming is in the original story – he, too, led a life he didn’t want to lead.

This one had a bit of a slow start, but once I was hooked, I was hooked. And the ending was gripping enough that I am determined to read Scarlet right away! I’m so interested to keep reading this series and see what the next instalments bring!

Audiobook Notes: 

I had picked up this book in physical format a few times and just didn’t get into it, but once I started the audio, I was hooked! I think Rebecca Soler does a great job of narrating this story and really get the personalities of the characters across. Especially Iko — I love her character! Honestly, the great thing about Rebecca Soler is that she has perfect tone and pacing — this isn’t an audiobook where you’re going to miss anything or be lost because something is muddled. I know I’ll definitely listen to more from her in the future!

[Book Talk] The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

the-boundlessBook Details:

Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Read: January 2017

Synopsis:

All aboard for an action-packed escapade from the internationally bestselling author of Airborne and the Silverwing trilogy.

The Boundless, the greatest train ever built, is on its maiden voyage across the country, and first-class passenger Will Everett is about to embark on the adventure of his life!

When Will ends up in possession of the key to a train car containing priceless treasures, he becomes the target of sinister figures from his past.

In order to survive, Will must join a traveling circus, enlisting the aid of Mr. Dorian, the ringmaster and leader of the troupe, and Maren, a girl his age who is an expert escape artist. With villains fast on their heels, can Will and Maren reach Will’s father and save The Boundless before someone winds up dead?

My Thoughts

I remember buying this book not only because it was by Canadian author, Kenneth Oppel, but also because it was absolutely beautiful! My son loved looking at this book while I read it because it features a train on the gorgeous cover, as well as a train on the inside of the front and back covers. I loved the book because it had a built in bookmark. How do all books not have this already? It was genius! I had to train myself to use a bookmark once I finished and started my next book which, sadly, did NOT have a built in bookmark.

Anyway, this was a lot of fun, though my attention did wander while reading it. I’m not sure what it was but I just wasn’t totally invested in reading this book. I did enjoy the story, with the train, the circus, the adventure; but when I put it down I was clamouring for something else to read. The one thing I really did love was its focus on Canada and the history of the railroad in Canada. I have not only traveled on our VIA Rail, but also went to an IMAX presentation of the Canadian Railway and it was absolutely fascinating. As I read this book, I wanted to see if I could find that IMAX video to watch because really, who doesn’t love trains?

I think my issues with this book were only slightly with the writing (which seemed different from his previous series I had read) but also with the age it was targeted to. I love a good middle grade book, but I guess they just can’t hold my interest now. However, this was still a fun adventure and an interesting read. It made me long to take a train ride through the Canadian rockies and prairies! And it’s going to be so pretty on my shelf, too.