A Gathering of Shadows
By: V.E. Schwab
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Magical realism, Adult fantasy
Page Count: 512
Synopsis: 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
The first section of this review will be spoiler free
I devoured the first book in this series, and I didn’t waste anytime in picking up number two! This series is so well written, the fantasy landscapes are lush but familiar, and the seamless way that schwab blends together not only POVs, but whole worlds, really makes this a wonderful read. The plot continues more or less from where the last book left off, though there is a small time jump, we are basically filled in on what happened byway of flashbacks.
I really loved the new characters we got introduced to, most of all Alucard! He was such an interesting character, and his dynamics with Lila, Rhy and Kell were really interesting. I love a character with a bit of mystery around their background, so I was immediately intrigued by the arrival of this pirate (I’m sorry, privateer) and his impressive magical skills.
The plot itself was just as exciting as book one, with a good mix of fast and slow paced chapters, with more interesting displays of magic than the first book. Overall, the story definitely progressed, and that ending made me desperate to find out what happens next. I am so happy that I started reading this series late, so that I don’t have to wait for the last book to come out, because if I had to wait a year now to find out what happens I don’t know if I could do it!
Alright, so I haven’t been doing the spoilers section of my reviews for a little while now, but with this book I just couldn’t help myself. First I want to start by saying that I knew Holland couldn’t possibly be dead. He was too interesting to be killed off in book one, and I think his relationship with the dark magic (or God or whatever it is) will be a really interesting part of the story going forwards. He doesn’t seem like villain, but just a guy who made a bad decision and got screwed over by a primordial magical force (who hasn’t been there, am I right?).
Now, Alucard and Rhy, I love that they have such a complicated romantic history, and their few interactions in this book already tell me that I am going to love their dynamic. Alucard really brings out the protectiveness in Kell as well, and if there’s one thing this book delivers on in spades, it’s an incredibly brotherly relationship between Kell and Rhy. Their love for each other is evident in all their actions, and the fact that their lives are now literally tied together made it even stronger. I am excited to see where Alucard and Rhy’s relationship goes in the next book as well, especially since Kell seems to hate him so much.
Finally, I couldn’t not talk about Kell and Lila. There was very little in the way of romance in book one, and I am happy to report that we have officially gotten quite the makeup scene in this book! All jokes aside, I love how their relationship has played out, and I think they compliment each other so nicely, and their likeness and tension really work to push the narrative forward.
Have you read this book? let me know your thoughts down in the comments!