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

25400972A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V. E. Schwab
Publication Date: 
February 23rd 2016 by Titan Books
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Adult, Young Adult, Magic, Fantasy, Adventure.
Goodreads | Amazon | Waterstones
Goodreads Summary
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.

I feel like this tweet is the perfect way to summarize this reading experience. AGOS

This is how you write a sequel. A Gathering of Shadows takes place four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila is out at sea adjusting to this new world but also relishing in the freedom she has here. Kell on the other hand feels more isolated than ever and is struggling to deal with the fallout of his choices in the previous book. In Red London, preparations are underway for the much anticipate Essen Tasch (Elemental Games), where magicians from all over the empire gather and compete against one another. It is this event that brings our characters together again and also introduces us to some new friends.

I think it’s important to highlight the fact that the characters take center stage in this book as we explore the fallout of the events that transpired in the previous book. Kell has to face the consequence of a life altering choice he made. Having lost the trust of the king, queen and of the common people of Red London, Kell sees himself as a prisoner in his own home. His growing frustrations make him restless and the thoughts and feelings he previously held at bay come simmering to the surface. However, Kell is not the only one dealing with the fallout of his choice. The ever so charming and charismatic Prince Rhy was directly impacted by the decision and while he is grateful and understanding of the sacrifice that was made for him it does not deter the guilt he harbours for his role in the events that transpired. I loved the fact that we got to see more of Rhy’s point of view as it gave him a layer of depth beyond that charming persona. Kell and Rhy are living proof that family does not end in blood. The support, banter and brotherly love between these two was beautifully explored. They would do anything for one another but that doesn’t mean that they don’t clash at times. The dynamic between them is one of my favourite aspects of this series.

Now what of our favourite cross-dressing pirate, Delilah Bard. Out of all the characters I think she is the most morally ambiguous of them all. She’s outspoken, is always on the hunt for danger and has a penchant for thieving. Growing up, she has always had to look out for herself and that means emotionally cutting herself off from forming any personal relationships. However, she can’t help but letting her thoughts drift back to a certain black eyed prince every now and then and the more time she spends in Red London, the more she finds herself embracing and enjoying being in the company of others; of finding a place to belong.

This series has never been a focus for romance but there is a development on this front. We have two distinct romantic relationships and I loved seeing how they came together. These relationships are the definition of slow burn and full of emotion. I can’t wait to see more of the progression in these relationships.

The plot takes a bit of a back seat in this installment but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any development as a foreboding threat festers beyond Red London; one that can threaten its very existence. It is this threat that takes us to the unbearable, painful, heart-wrenching cliff-hanger. I am still in shock and I was not expecting things to escalate so quickly. It’s safe to say that I am in desperate need to find out what happens next.

Stray observations

  • I need to know more about Kell’s biological family and the possible connection/role the queen and king had in their lives?
  • I want to know more about Antari magic. 
  • Also, what of Grey London. What role does it have in the next book?
  • Alucard Emery ❤
  • Kell is in desperate need of a hug.

8 thoughts on “Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

    1. Only 2 months in to the year and AGoS officially has the title book of the year from me. I loved everything about the book and I don’t think I can wait a year for book 3. Evil cliffhangers are not what I signed up for haha. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “Kell sees himself as a prisoner in his own home.” Agreed, all the Kell fans need to gather and plan a surprise group hug for him. But then again I don’t know how much he’d like that being such a reserved recluse. And yes! I loved the strong, platonic relationship between Kell and Rhy in this installment especially. I wasn’t really buying it in the first… but I love how Kell is always so protective of Rhy-espeically when it comes to Alucard… Speaking of Alucard. Sigh, he’s simply so fab. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha I’m sure he’ll be happy to have a shoulder to lean on…if not we’ll send Lila to him. 😛
      Kell’s protectiveness over Rhy was so sweet and Rhy’s guilt was heart-wrenching. These two deserve a happy ending. I will settle for nothing less haha.
      Alucard. Oh my, he can sweep me off my feet any day. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The character insight in this book is everything. Honestly my heart just goes out to Kell and Rhy. I felt like the book was just driven by emotion as everyone was still coming to grips with the happenings in A Darker Shade of Magic. I can definitely assure you that this is no second book slump. Things just get better and better.
      That tweet came hours after I’d recovered enough to form a coherent sentence and I’m still recovering haha.


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