Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic (#2)
Published by: Tor Books (February 23, 2016)
Pages: 512 (Hardcover)
I absolutely adored the first book in this series, A Darker Shade of Magic, so I knew I just had to pick this book up. And, I wasn’t disappointed. This is such a fantastic installment in the series – and I loved getting to spend more time with Kell, Lila, and Rhy.
*This post will contain some spoilers for the first book in the series, so if you haven’t read it please proceed with caution.*
“Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.”
A Gathering of Shadows picks up about 4 months since the end of the first book. Kell has given up his smuggling habit after returning the obsidian stone to Black London. But, both he and Rhy are still struggling with finding their lives magically linked. Rhy is conflicted. He’s happy to be alive, but hates that he had no say in the matter. And, Kell finds himself full of restless energy, and is feeling more like a prisoner than ever. Lila has sailed away to fulfill her dreams of being a pirate, but that doesn’t stop Kell from looking for her in everyone he sees.
“Look, everyone talks about the unknown like it’s some big scary thing, but it’s the familiar that’s always bothered me. It’s heavy, builds up around you like rocks, until it’s walls and a ceiling and a cell.”
Red London is making preparations for the Essen Tach, a magical competition that pits 12 magicians from 3 kingdoms against each other which brings some old friends and familiar faces back home. White London is slowly mending itself, but some of the darkness of Black London is creeping in and threatens to bleed over into Red London as well and destroy the delicate balance of magic.
“Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.”
This book builds on everything I loved about the first book. There is plenty of action, banter, and just enough romance to keep me interested. The relationship between Kell and his brother is tested, but steadfast. Delilah Bard continues to be a total badass. Plus, we get introduced to a new character and romance that I’m totally here for.
“I am Delilah Bard, she thought, as the ropes cut into her skin. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands.”
There is so much to love about this book/series. I thought parts of this were a bit slower than the first book, but I really enjoyed all the additional information we got about the world/characters. I felt the magic system was much more fleshed out in this installment, and I thought the magical tournament was a really smart way to propel the story forward. It allows for both a short-term “problem” and a long-term one to keep you interested in what’s going to happen next. Of course, there were also plenty of swoon-worthy moments to keep my shipper-heart happy.
“Kell has only two faces. The one he wears for the world at large, and the one he wears for those he loves.” He sipped his wine.
If you liked A Darker Shade of Magic, you’re going to like this. Schwab’s writing is consistent, the characters are their same lovable selves, and the ending will make you want to immediately jump into A Conjuring of Light. And, if you haven’t read ADSOM yet, what the heck are you waiting for?