A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Shades Of Magic #2

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.

What does one even say about a book like this? V.E. Schwab's books are never a disappointment, and this is no exception. What ever it is you expect for this installment, trust me when I say Schwab delivers - while leaving you begging for more, because if she didn't do that, then she wouldn't be Schwab. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but after my great experience with A Darker Shade Of Magic, I began to wonder if the only reason I enjoyed it so much was because of all the hype that was surrounding it. I hadn't been big on the Adult Fiction scene before then - I'm still not - and a part of me was left wondering whether I would have loved the novel so much if I hadn't been exposed to all the excitement and reviews beforehand. However, after reading A Gathering Of Shadows and experiencing, if possible, even more crazy love for the book, all my doubts have been put to rest, and I just want the third book goshdarnit.

There's enough Kell, Lila, Rhys, and omg Alucard - he's new, and hot, and a pirate, and hot - in this to keep everyone happy, and just like in the first book, there is never a dull moment. Every single sentence that comes together to form the novel is beautiful in it's own right, and I would sticky note every page if I possessed that many. Readers get to see a much more personal side of the characters than even in the first book, and they have developed a lot from where we last left them, parting ways. There is so much tension between them all that it just about drove me crazy, but I don't regret a moment of losing my sanity.

I did notice that there's a bit less action in this book, and by that I'm referring to a certain lack of direct, your life is on the line combat that we got so much of in A Darker Shade Of Magic. There's certainly a lot brewing in the background that are soon to threaten our lovely characters, and a certain return of one character that brings on a whole bunch of mixed feelings, but discussing strictly this book, it was certainly lighter. Super emotional, lots of hurt, laughter, and Lila being Lila-y, but besides the part of the novel that brings everyone together once more, all the real bad stuff is lurking in the shadows, probably to come out at readers in book three. Yay.

This is only the second book this year that I've genuinely been eager/self-destructive about reading as soon as possible. I've been able to take it slow with most other books this year, but with this one, I started tearing into it as soon as possible. There are so many more ships than before, so many swoons, so many characters you want to stroke the cheeks of and make eyes at, and others you just want to put in a bag and throw far, far away. My next goal in life is definitely to acquire this for my shelf, and then sit starting at it while I wait for next year to come around. It's so far away.

Rating: ★★★★★


  1. I loved A Darker Shade of Magic. I’m looking forward to reading this one. Great review.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. You'll love it! It's such a fun read - I just wish it didn't go by so fast haha.

  2. Okay, I haven't read A Darker Shade of Magic (Jocelyn is trying to get me to read it but I'm still anxious because yes, hype, and I'm worried it's confusing) but I do love alternate London, so having multiple London's? So, would you say it's confusing? Shame there isn't as much action, but with characters like those, I don't think it's much of a problem, right?

    1. Oh my gosh, Kirsty, you need to read this series!! It's surprisingly easy to understand (I rarely read adult fantasy but this one reads like a YA one) and such a fun ride! The first one has a lot of action, and to be honest this one does too, but in a less serious, the-world-is-on-the-line way, if that makes sense. And yeah, the characters and story is amazing even without all the action <3 I really hope you give this a try soon, because it's super fun and totally delivers what the hype promises.


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