This book had a different feeling for me from the first book.
That ending! Really? I have to know more this very moment or I will just die! How could Schwab do this to me?
This book had a different feeling for me from the first book. I didn't like it quite as much as the first, though I do love this series. This book just didn't resonate as strongly with me. The flow was a bit different to me. I think that the reason I feel this way is because the focus of this book lies on the character's internal struggles more. Kell and Lila are apart for most of the book and it affects the overall mood of the story. Their interactions in the first book were among my favorite parts, so without having that in this one I was simply, for the lack of a better word, sad.
That aside, I did love the series of events in this book just as much as the first. The plot was just as thick. And though I yearned for more Kell/Lila time, the happenings up to their meeting were engaging and fulfilling.
I loved the characters just as much as in the first book. Alucard is a character that really grew on me. This book was a lot of characters figuring out what they want. Out of life, from themselves. And even what they don't want. It was a time of discovery.
I liked both of the romances. Brief as they were. And even the romantic tension that wasn't really romance. I just wish that there had been more. The romance felt too fleeting. Like if I closed my eyes it would disappear. I think that it could have been stronger.
As far as world-building, I liked the inclusion of the other cultures from Kell's world. During the Essen Tasch the other kingdoms come to Arnes and we get to glimpse some of their differences and similarities.
Overall, I think that this book suffers from middle-book-slump. The momentum definitely changes in the second book compared to the first one. It doesn't take away from the series as a whole though. That characters are still strong and the plot still has compelling significance. I would recommend reading the second book of Shades of Magic if you enjoyed the first book. Though I warn that even if it may feel boring at the beginning it is worth trudging on to the end. Almost like delaying gratification. I don't doubt that the third book is going to be the game changer. I will definitely be reading it!