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A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab Book Review

Book: A Gathering of Shadows

Author: V.E Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic Book #2

512 pages, Hardcover

First published February 23, 2016

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab Book Cover

I read the first part of the Shades of Magic series in one breath. I was impressed by the ease with which I read it and was gripped by curiosity as to what would happen to the characters. The characters that V. Е. Schwab describes are fascinating and their fates are intertwined in interesting ways. However, the end of the first book left a lot of questions unanswered, the answers to which I could hardly wait.

Kell and Lila

The events in A Gathering of Shadows take place a few months after Kell and Lila split up. Each has gone his own way and is trying to sort out his life after the events in White London. The beloved Antarian is a prisoner in the castle and is plagued by guilt towards the royal family. His life is forever linked to that of the king’s son and they try their best to protect him. Even Kell himself circles protectively around Rhy. This causes tension in the relationship between the two brothers, which drives Rhy to reckless actions.

Lila finally fulfills her dream of finding a ship. She may not be the captain, but she is part of the crew. To say that the thief has joined, however, is an exaggeration, because for her, any closeness is a weakness. Anyone who was close to her in any way is dead. Nevertheless, something develops between Layla and the captain of the Night Spire. Friendly conversations ensue, shrouded in secrets the two are unwilling to share. Their relationship is further solidified by the deal they make. Captain Emery will help Lila master her new skills in exchange for her keeping him company. And as everything begins to fall into place, Night Spire returns to Red London, to the past, to Kell and to Rhy. The secrets of Alucard and Bard will soon be revealed.

What brings all the new and old characters together is an old tradition. The holding of a magical tournament called Essen Tasch, where representatives from all the kingdoms compete in the arena. And this year, the players are not who they claim to be. And while the reader is focused on the intrigue surrounding the games, something else is stirring.

Losing the Magic – “A Gathering of Shadows”

Yes, the first book is impressive. A magical world, parallel worlds. The story of “White London” shook me, “Black London” terrified me. That’s what I missed in “A Gathering of Shadows.” The focus was on the tournament. For almost the entire book, the plot revolved around it. Then events shifted. What should have been more, in my opinion, happened at the end. The games were the filler that made the book more meaty, but for me it spoiled the whole concept of the series. And while I have praised everywhere how impressed I am with Shades of Magic, I would not recommend the sequel.

A Darker Shade of Magic Book #1

A Conjuring of Light Book #3

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as 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.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

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