A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
Author: V. E. Schwab
Originally Published: February 23rd 2016
Format: Kindle eBook (513 pages)
Synopsis: Kell is plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, he is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila. As Red London prepares for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic – a certain pirate ship draws closer. But another London is coming back to life, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning. Black London has risen again – and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall.
My Rating: ★★★★★
THIS BOOK IS SO, SO GOOD!!!!
If you read my review of A Darker Shade of Magic then you will know that I absolutely fell in love with Lila, Kell and Rhy. I loved the mystical world that Schwab had created with the four different London’s and I thoroughly enjoyed the balance of magic, character development and action. But let me tell you that A Gathering of Shadows was even more addictive!
The book opens with Lila Bard. She is by far my favourite character in this series. I absolutely adore her confidence, her independence and most of all her outright sassy personality. Lila is part of the crew on the Dark Spire but as always is up to her usual tricks. Kell is in Red London coming to terms (quite badly) with the huge sacrifice he made to save Rhy’s life at the end of instalment number one. (If you’re reading this then I’m assuming you’ve read book 1!) Kell is feeling more and more like a prisoner whilst Rhy is embracing his life and getting them both into trouble. Meanwhile, over in White London we get glimpses of a terrifying future about to unfold at the hands of an old friend…
Plot-wise not a huge amount happens in this book but I really loved the idea behind the games. In an almost Triwizard Tournament style competition, competitors from the three main realms(?) compete in a number of rounds fighting element against element. I really loved hearing about the people from outside of Ames, I was easily able to visualise their appearances for myself and it was interesting reading about the different duelling styles and use of the elements. Schwab really out did herself with the imagery she created and it made me fall even more in love with her writing style.
My favourite thing about this book: the character development is phenomenal. All of the characters make huge leaps in their development here, including the new addition of Alucard Emery. Kell makes a series of questionable choices (especially at the end) but he also makes more huge sacrifices and we can easily see the effect this is having on him. His relationship with Rhy is strained due to the sacrifice that he made, something which I thought was dealt with really well in this story. It is only natural that there would be some resentment between the two and I was glad to see that woven into the story.
What did I love most about the book?
I love, love, loved learning more about Lila and seeing how powerful she is. I still don’t think we have seen her full potential and I really hope that she turns out to be even more than I’m anticipating. I love how stubborn she is and I really liked the personal developments she made with her relationships with others such as Kell and Calla. I cannot wait to see where she will go in the next book!
“Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.”
“Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”
“Magic is tangled, so you must be smooth.
Magic is wild, so you must be tame.
Magic is chaos, so you must be calm.
Are you calm, Kell?”
Once again I found myself completely and utterly drawn into the world that Schwab has created. Her writing style is simplistic yet incredibly detailed. I felt like I could imagine every scene and detail for myself and it was easy to sit and read 100 pages without realising. Although, CLIFFHANGER ALERT!!!! Throughout the story we get little glimpses into the sheer evil that is unfolding in White London and just when you think you’re going to get to know more about it, BOOM, end of book! All I can say is that I cannot wait for A Conjuring of Light, I think we are in for one hell of a book!!
Have you read A Gathering of Shadows? What did you think?