Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. SchwabA Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 509
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Published by Tor Books on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy

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.


Schwab has done it again. I was so excited to pick up A Gathering of Shadows and jump back into the worlds of Red, White, Grey and Black London. A Gathering of Shadows takes place four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila is off living life for herself, exploring the world and seeing it all. Kell, still recovering from his experiences in the last book, feels trapped by his “family” now more than ever.

For me Lila actually developed some life into her. In my first review of this series, I found her so flat and uninteresting. In this installment she has a little more life and blood to her. Since the story is essentially split between Kell and Lila (until they reunite at the Essen Tasch), I was worried about getting bored with Lila’s story. Instead I found myself looking forward to her chapters and very involved in her story. I also loved the additional characters – Alucard Emery (and Rhy!) and Ojka. Hopefully we will see more of them in the next book!

The story itself was slow building, but what annoyed me in the first book I definitely appreciated more in the second. The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the Essen Tasch. It almost felt like Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire where there is tremendous lead up to the Triwizard Tournament, and then some quick action and the book ends. I’m not sure what exactly I wanted from the Essen Tasch – just more.

Schwab spends a great deal building the London’s further. I have to say I wanted more of Holland and White London/Black London. It was definitely enough development to pursue the (anticipated) angle for A Conjuring of Light but I wanted more. And that is probably be just being greedy. Fantasy is a genre that really needs readers to be patient while these worlds develop, and Schwab did a fantastic job in A Darker Shade of Magic and even better job in A Gathering of Shadows. I yearn for more of this world.


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