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V.E. Schwab

Fiction and Excerpts [4]
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Fiction and Excerpts [4]

A Gathering of Shadows

|| 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. It seems Black London has risen again—and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall.

A Gathering of Shadows

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 extravagent 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—and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall.

V.E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows, sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, is available February 23, 2016 from Tor Books (US) and Titan (UK).

[Read an excerpt]

And Related Subjects: Discovering a Passion for Fencing

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

It all started with The Princess Bride.

By the time I was fourteen, I’d seen the movie so many times I could recite it forwards and backwards and in rhyme. I’d grown up an athletic child, a competitive soccer player since age 4, with stints ranging from months to years in gymnastics, softball, volleyball. I was—and am still—a dreamer, and I had no trouble dreaming big. I vividly remember hitting tennis balls against our garage door in California while conducting mock interviews about my many championship matches.

Thanks to Mia Hamm, I wanted to go to the World Cup. And later, thanks to Westley and Inigo Montoya, I wanted to be a fencer.

[That is how it started.]

Five Books with Magical Doors

Since my fantasy series—starting with A Darker Shade of Magic—features not one version of London but four, and a magician who moves between them, I thought it might be fun to talk about my favorite stories involving magical doors. Whether the portal is the primary focus or a side detail, a door to a second world or a shortcut through our own, there’s something entrancing about this breed of fantasy.

Doors can take so many shapes, literal and metaphorical, physical and metaphysical; as a writer, it’s a device I love to play with, and as a reader it’s one of my favorite tropes. There’s no question, it can be abused, leaned on like a crutch, but in the hands of a skilled author, the world of the book multiplies, unfolding like hidden pages of a map. Choosing five(…ish) favorites was no easy task, but instead of focusing on all-time favorites, I’ve tried to mix it up, and choose titles across the board, from the well-known to the new discovery.

[Cross the Threshold]

Series: Five Books About…

A Darker Shade of Magic (Excerpt)

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London…but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

From V.E. Schwab comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic—available February 24th from Tor Books (US) and February 27th from Titan (UK).

[Read an Excerpt]

On Stardust: Love, Life, and Legacy

“For a kiss, and the pledge of your hand,” said Tristran, grandiloquently, “I would bring you that fallen star.”

Welcome back to our exploration of Stardust.

So far, we’ve followed our cast of characters—specifically Tristran Thorne, Primus, Tertius, and Septimus of Stormhold, and the Witch-Queen—as they pursued their quests through the vast expanse of Faerie. We’ve explored the boundaries that divide, encompass, and define the world in Stardust, thresholds these characters crossed in their quests. We’ve considered the tolls they paid, and the tokens they bore with them, and the treasures they sought.

And now it’s time to return to those treasures—not only their material form, but what they mean to and for the characters of Stardust. The ambitions of our characters can be delineated into love, life, and legacy.

[Read More]

Series: Magic & Good Madness: A Neil Gaiman Reread

Warm Up

It’s been 297 days since David died—and came back. He may have survived the avalanche, but the aftermath has been far worse. His wife moved out, taking his son with her, and a devastated David hasn’t left his house since, terrified of the mysterious new power that followed him home from the ill-fated expedition. After months in seclusion, David’s ready for a fresh start, and ventures out, determined to keep his power in check. But David’s power isn’t the one he needs to worry about.

“Warm Up” is an original short story set in the same universe as V. E. Schwab’s novel, Vicious (Tor Books [US], September 2013 and Titan Books [UK], January 2014). This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by assistant editor Miriam Weinberg.

[Read “Warm Up” by V.E. Schwab]

On Stardust: Tolls, Rewards, and Treasures

“It’s not hard to own something. Or everything. You just have to know that it’s yours, and then be willing to let it go.”

Welcome back to our exploration of Stardust.

In the first installment, we considered the various kinds of boundaries in the book (the physical, the social, the metaphysical). In this second article, we’ll be looking at another fairy tale staple: the use of tokens.

[Read more]

Series: Magic & Good Madness: A Neil Gaiman Reread

On Stardust: Physical, Social, and Metaphysical Boundaries

Neil Gaiman himself seems to have but one incarnation—dressed in all black with a mop of unruly hair—but his body of work presents a far less cohesive image. Some hear his name and think of the personification of sleep, others of a boy living in a graveyard, or an Other Mother with button eyes, or a world where gods walk among men.

I hear his name, and think of Wall.

I think of Tristran Thorne, and the Lilim, and the brothers of Stormhold, and the star who fell from the sky.

I think of Stardust.

[Read more]

Series: Magic & Good Madness: A Neil Gaiman Reread

Vicious (Excerpt)

Take a sneaky peek at Vicious by V. E. Schwab, out on September 24:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

[Read more]