A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab and follows Kell and Lila as they both prepare to take part in an international competition of magic, the Element Games. But even as the two of them take part in the games, danger is drawing near from one of the other Londons.
I really really like this book. Just to get that out of the way.
I’ve talked about the world building before when I reviewed A Darker Shade of Magic, and the second book definitely lives up to the promise. While the first book jumped a lot between the three Londons, this one sticks mostly to Red London and the world around it. I actually loved this because I found it fascinating to find out more about this world. IT was especially great to see the world outside Red London through Lila’s eyes, because of how new everything about magic still was for her.
As much as I liked the characters in ADSOM the sequel gave me so much more. Rhy was great in the first book, but ultimately we didn’t see very much of him, and A Gathering of Shadows pretty much made me fall in love with him. And A Gathering of Shadows adds Alucard, who staright up marched into my heart and took up residence along with the rest. (Okay, so maybe I have a problem.) I’ve said this before I think, but Schwab has a real talent for creating characters.
The plot however felt a little slow again. The ratio between building up and main action was better than in the first book, but personally I felt it still wasn’t quite where I’d like it to be. This is probably just subjective taste, but as much as I like the characters and their world and as much as I love to hear more about them, the book just had moments where I was wondering if anything would happen soon or not. Thankfully the characters manage to balance this out though.
Overall A Gathering of Shadows made me really excited for A Conjuring of Light, even if reading it means it is over, and I’meven more in love with some of the characters than I was before.
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4 Stars)
Publication Date: 23 February 2016
Publisher: Titan Books
Page Count: 508
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.