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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab {4.5 Stars}

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab is the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic and in my opinion surpasses even that excellent first book. There will definitely be spoilers for book one below, so check out my review of it instead if you haven’t read it (and go get a copy ASAP). For the rest of you, what can I say besides A Gathering of Shadows had more of pretty much everything awesome? More world development, more magic, more wonderful characters to love, and more Lila and Kell shenanigans!

Note: I received an advanced copy of A Gathering of Shadows from the publisher. Some things may have changed in the final version.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab {4.5 Stars}

A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab (Shades of Magic #2)
Published by Tor Books on Feb. 23rd, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Page Length: 512 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.

4.5 Stars

Strengths:

  • I thought that Lila and Kell were already pretty great characters, but I’m really impressed with how much growth they both go through in this latest round. I applaud Schwab for having her main characters take time away from each other to let them both grow individually and I think it really strengthens the reader’s connection to them both.
  • Rhy features much more prominently in this sequel and he is hands down my favorite character now. He’s going through a lot after the crazy events of book one, but he has so much good still in him despite his claims. I also will admit that I absolutely love seeing a bisexual character in a major role in a fantasy and that his relationship decisions are considered perfectly normal!
  • A Gathering of Shadows seems to be where Schwab decided to reveal the true majesty of her vision for the world(s) of this series. We find out so much more about what Red London’s larger world looks like both directly and through the various visitors to the city. We also get to see a full demonstration of the best of the best magicians and get a much better idea of what elemental magic is capable of.
  • The new big bad is introduced in this book and wow what a spooky and evil thing. I like this evil essence being combined with an otherwise fairly sympathetic villain to make an antagonist that is both terrifying and easy to sympathize with. My heart is not ready for the next book.

Weaknesses:

  • Despite reading a finished copy, there were a strange number of typos in this first edition. It seems like getting this one out ended up being a bit rushed? Hopefully the next edition will fix this.
  • Be prepared for a killer cliffhanger! This is a rare moment where I don’t think the cliffhanger was unwarranted; it didn’t feel cheap or lazy like I often think they do. But wow, stress!
  • A Gathering of Shadows actually has two plot lines that don’t really overlap much at all except temporally. There is the actual important to the series plot line, and the “we needed to have the characters do something while evil people plotted” plot line. I certainly enjoyed the latter, but wish that they would have woven together a bit more gracefully.

Summary:

A Gathering of Shadows has solidified my love for this series. I am now completely emotionally invested in these characters and entranced by the magic of Red London. If you weren’t as obsessed with A Darker Shade of Magic as you had hoped, definitely give this sequel a chance. If you were obsessed, I don’t need to tell you about this awesomeness ;-).

Check out a preview:

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

© 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. I keep hearing great things about this series. I’m not a fan of cliffhangers, I might start the first book in a few months and then I can listen to the second book a few months later and then I won’t have to wait as long for the third book. Great review.
    Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons recently posted…Blackout Audiobook by Mira Grant (REVIEW)My Profile

    • That is an excellent plan! This cliffhanger is a pretty darn torturous one, but the series is a lot of fun

  2. Great review! I loved this book but not quite as much as the first one. I think the character development was great but the plot felt a little muddled. I think you’re totally right that the individual plot of this book was good but didn’t necessarily serve the larger plot of the series. I’m so excited for the final book though! Because that ending, ugh!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally recently posted…ARC Review: The Serpent King by Jeff ZentnerMy Profile

    • I can definitely see if you are a plot-focused reader that this one was a weaker story. It definitely felt like kind of a filler plot to move the main series along

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