Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows

Title: A Gathering of Shadows (Shadows of Magic #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Adult | Fantasy | Magic | Romance
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Source: Purchased
Format:  Physical

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 (goodreads)

This series is absolutely addicting!
Plot: I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so I'm not so sure why it took me actual years to read A Gathering of Shadows. Per usual with series, I forgot most of what happened in A Darker Shade of Magic but Schwab did an excellent job of dropping explanations to the happenings of book 1; it felt natural and was included throughout the novels so I wasn't overwhelmed with info-dumping. 

I was curious where the story would go after A Darker Shade of Magic and it was flawless how Schwab married the events of ADSOM with the new threat that appeared in A Gathering of Shadows. V.E. Schwab is a talented writer, that's no question, but I think her talent truly shines in this series. It was hard for me to put A Gathering of Shadows down because I wanted to know more at all times. Luckily, I was smart enough to order A Conjuring of Light before finishing AGoS because even days later, I'm still thinking about the ending to A Gathering of Shadows!

Characters: To me, A Gathering of a Shadows was more Lila's story than Kell's. We learned so much about Lila in this novel, especially her weaknesses and fears. I loved Lila because she was complex, I didn't approve of half the things she did, but I admired how committed she was to prove herself. This isn't to say that Kell was a non-character in A Gathering of Shadows, he very much was but I was drawn more-so to Lila. 

Schwab also made it super easy to introduce new characters and define them so clearly that I couldn't help but fall in love with them and root for their shy romances.  

Worldbuilding: A Gathering of Shadows focused a lot more on palace life and the stifling pressure that Kell felt after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic. This book also allowed Schwab to open up her various worlds by having the empire-wide Tournament Games. I can already tell that I'm going to have a hard time saying goodbye to this world. 

Short N Sweet: A Gathering of Shadows is a fine follow-up to A Darker Shade of Magic; this is the perfect novel for all hardcore fantasy lovers!

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