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

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

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
The Shades of Magic Series #2
On Sale Date: February 23, 2016
Fiction \ Fantasy \ Historical
Tor Books, 512 page
Source: ARC from publisher
My Rating: 5 Stars
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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. 

A GATHERING OF SHADOWS by V. E. Schwab is the captivating second book in the Shades Of Magic series.

A Gathering of Shadows  is every bit as good, if not better, than its predecessor. I've been highly anticipating this book ever since reading A Darker Shade of Magic which made me a new fan of Schwab.

For those new to the series, Schwab creates an exciting fantasy world where parallel versions of London exist. The story revolves around the fact that some Londons are better off than others due to the fact they have magic and are able to wield magic, while other Londons fight to control it or never had it in the first place. 

It is each of these alternate Londons that hold so much fascination for readers. Each feels so vivid and real. There's the Grey London, which reminds me of our historical London, one that's dirty, boring, and without any of the magic of the others, and one that's ruled by a mad king - George III. Red London with the scarlet river of magic is a London where magic is revered and part of the every day. It is here readers first meet the enigmatic Kell and his chameleon coat along with his roguish brother and prince, Rhy Maresh. White London is literally being drained of its life force as magic rebels against the dark control others try to force upon it. Then there's the one that's lost nearly to history, one only whispered about - Black London.

With A Gathering of Shadows, the story takes place four months after the epic events ending in A Darker Shade of Magic and readers are treated to more one-on-one time with the characters, getting to know them on a personal level. Dark magic and intrigue also abound in the story, and this time, there's a thrilling international game of magic that takes place in Red London, bringing our favorite characters together as well as a few very unexpected ones.

Our favorite antiheroine, pocket thief, and pirate - the bold and brass Lila Bard is back and I loved how much page time she receives. Now part of a pirate crew, Lila is discovering her own abilities in magic - something she would never have thought possible until her fateful meeting with the enigmatic Kell. She's got a few tricks up her sleeve and Red London (and Kell) are going to be very surprised by her.

Our two leading men, Rhy, and Kell are back and trying to pick up the pieces after their near-deadly encounter with the Dane Twins. These two share such a strong bond of brothership, yet the new magical bond they share is offering up some surprising complications for both. Again, Schwab treats readers to a greater in-depth look at these two and there's even a surprise romance for Rhys and of, course, readers who have been holding their breath for the next encounter between Kell and Lila will not be disappointed. Plus, there's a very mischievous pirate that makes an appearance as an additional new character that I'm curious about.

A Gathering of Shadows was everything I had hoped it to be. Great characterization with plenty of time getting to know Lila, Rhy and Kell better. Darker and sinister plots afoot, magic, adventure, and romance. The ending is one that will make readers breathless with anticipation for the next installment in the fabulously crafted fantasy. 

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