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.
(This post may contain spoilers for A Darker Shade of Magic)
A Gathering of Shadows is the second book that I’ve read by V.E. Schwab and it certainly won’t be the last.
As I said in my review of A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab’s world-building is utterly fantastic. A Gathering of Shadows continues on that path, which was mostly lovely, but I did have a few problems with it this time around.
I flew through ADSOM and had no problem with the fact that there wasn’t a ton of plot because I was so busy being amazed by the setting and the beautiful descriptions of magic. A Gathering of Shadows was slower for me, and I think it was because I felt that the world was already established pretty well in the previous book and I wanted more stuff to happen in this one. It was still great, but I found it much easier to put down than the first installment.
This book picks up four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, but is peppered with enough flashbacks to make you feel like you didn’t miss anything. It opens with Lila being a total badass which I absolutely loved. She may be my favorite female character that I’ve read about in a very long time!
The main plot point of this book is on a competition of magical strength. I wasn’t blown away by that being the topic, as I was hoping for more to happen with White and Black London, but the descriptions of it were very well done.
There was a little bit more romance in this book which I enjoyed, but it’s still not central to the plot which is a nice change of pace from most fantasies I’ve been reading lately (but don’t get me wrong I do love a good romance). There was also a focus on Kell’s relationship with the royal family, his relationship with Rhy, and the introduction of a new character named Alucard (swoooon) and the trouble he stirs up.
Overall, this book was pretty fantastic and if you liked the first one, you’re sure to enjoy this one as well. The ending definitely leaves you hanging though, and now I’m dying for the third book!
In the wise words of the Beastie Boys: Check-ch-check-check-check-ch-check it out.