Review: A Gathering of Shadows

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Series: Shades of Magic, #2
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: TOR
Release Date: February 23th, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Adult
Pages: 512
Other Books By Author: The Archived, Vicious

Where was the bloodied boy who’d collapsed on her bedroom floor? Where was the tortured magician, veins turning black as he fought a talisman’s pull? Where was the sad, lonely royal who’d stood on the docks and watched her walk away?

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.

Sequels are always a bit of a letdown for me, especially when the first book is undeniably amazing.

A Gathering of Shadows was THE book I was waiting for most in 2016- the same book I read the very day it was released. I received an email in the middle of school from the library, saying I was first for the e-book, and I snuck in a hundred pages before the end of school, hoping the book would be worth it.

I was NOT disappointed. A Darker Shade of Magic sort of starts off slow, mostly about worldbuilding (which is great, but the pace is sometimes dull), Londons, and Kell and his fabulous coat. On the contrary, A Gathering of Shadows picks up right where ADSOM leaves off, jumping right into Lila’s perspective, magic, privateers (or pirates), a bit more of Rhy, and Is Essen Tasch.

During the first few chapters or so, we return to Kell and Rhy, where the storytelling is so much more somber, even grey. In ADSOM, Rhy is portrayed as jubliant and just another random prince with duties. But now, Rhy is overcome with guilt and Kell is not the same as he used to be. This makes the characters have depth, and it’s nice to know that Rhy is more like an actual person, you know?

The Essen Tasch is a tournament introduced in the novel: The Element Games, when the strongest of the magicians are selected to compete against each other. THIS WAS THE BEST PART. The magicians and their descriptions (AND LILA! AHHHH!) were amazing- V.E. Schwab even showed pictures of trading cards featuring the magicians! They are GORGEOUS. Even if it makes Kell seem perfect and all-powerful, I just wish Kell had more power during the tournament and that the tasks were different, not just removing armour, although that is still creative.

V. E. Schwab is an incredible storyteller. Her novels get you hooked right away, the descriptions are spot on, and when you get to the climax, you just want to read, read, and read- the scenery and magic truly makes you feel as if you were living in the world. Pacing was the only problem- it was really good, but the beginning was slower and duller, while the ending was spectacular. Overall, A Gathering of Shadows was reallllyyyyy good, even surpasing Lord of the Rings as my favourite book (gasp!).

The cliffhanger! And Lila! And magic! And Antari! The cliffhanger again!

Next book I hope to see more of Holland, Lila and Kell, and I hope we get to see Stasion as well.
And that gorgeous cover! (Ahhhh!)
(Anyone notice ‘Alucard’ is ‘Dracula’ backwards?

✰✰✰✰✰ // 5 Stars


2 thoughts on “Review: A Gathering of Shadows

  1. This was perhaps my second favorite book of the year. It was MAGNIFICENT AND GLORIOUS and everything I could ever want from a novel! I agree with everything- the tournament was so wonderful and I really enjoyed getting to know more about the world and the characters. Rhy and Kell’s friendship is goals. T_T

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yessss I absolutely loved A Gathering of Shadows and the worldbuilding was stellar! Used to be my favourite book of the year but now I’m in the middle of reading Truthwitch and I’m honestly not that sure anymore…


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