Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab was a fantastic sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic (click link to see my review). I’d heard nothing but great things about A Gathering of Shadows, so my expectations were pretty high. Were they met? Heck yes.

Book Review: A Gathering of ShadowsA Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, Victoria Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Published by Tor Books on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 512
Format: Hardback
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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.

a gathering of shadows open

summary in threeA fantastical tournament, mysterious disguises, and an evil, lurking magic

What I loved:

  • It can actually stand alone! If you haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic, you’re going to be a tad bit out of the loop as to what the series’ story arc is, but you can actually read this book by itself and still enjoy it!
  • FOUR LONDONS. I love that there are four Londons that Kell can visit (he’s a special Antari who can travel between the four worlds, in case you didn’t read the first book). While the majority of this book takes place in Red London (which is the most cool and magical and perfect London), there’s enough involving other Londons that you still get all giddy inside.
  • Kell’s awesome coat. Why can’t we all have a coat you can turn inside out an innumerable amount of times so that it can become different, cool coats?
  • A magical tournament! Okay guys, what is more fun than a tournament that tests the competitors MAGICAL ABILITIES? Who doesn’t love stories like that? That’s basically what this book is about and it’s awesome (especially all the disguises and twists that come along with it…!).
  • Lila and Kell. Their question of a romance in A Darker Shade of Magic is left lingering in this book, and it’s so fun to see what happens between these two.

What I didn’t love:

  • The enormous cliffhanger at the end! But that’s okay, because all it did was make me EVEN MORE EXCITED for A Conjuring of Light, which comes out in February 2017!

final star count
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If you like fantasy even a little bit, I’d 100% recommend this series. It’s excellent! 

chime in
Have you read A Gathering of Shadows? What were your thoughts on the book? Have I convinced you to read this series yet? Because if I haven’t, let me give it one more go: You should read this series. Start here

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9 comments

  1. Great review! And can I just say that I always love the pictures you are taking, because they are stunning!!!
    And I agree on everything you said. I enjoy Schwab’s writing in general, even though I sometimes feel like it’s a tad bit too slow for me. However, she is doing an amazing job on the world building. Cannot wait for A Conjuring of Light!!!

    1. Thank you for the photo compliment! I try! I agree that sometimes her books slow down a bit, but I always end up really enjoying them in the end. And I agree – the world building is awesome!

  2. I’m one of the weird ones who preferred the first book to the second. It does still have the wonderful elements of the first book, but the speeding up of skill to power up Lila (and also why do the women always have to be powered up) isn’t something that sits well with me. I reckon it’s more of a personal taste since I’m the only one complaining! 😀

    1. No- I 100% agree with your comment about Lila. It was a little eh to me, but didn’t bother me too much. At first I was worried she was going to win (which would have been really dumb), and I think because I was so worried about that when she didn’t I was hugely relieved, and therefore less bothered by the whole affair! But at the end of the day I enjoyed ADSOM more than AGOS, too. But I did I really like them both. Thanks for stopping by!! 😀