A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows Final

Genre: Fantasy
Publication Date: February 2016

(from Goodreads)

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.

–Possible Spoilers! Read at your own risk!–

“Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”

This series has some of the greatest characters ever. They all have such strong connections and relationships with each other. They’re witty and funny and yet, they also all have their own problems and your heart really goes out to them. They’re all so real.

“Why am I the only one in this fucking world to be held accountable for my actions?”

Kell takes a darker turn in this novel, and I have to admit, I loved every minute of it. Even while reading A Darker Shade of Magic I’ve always felt like Victoria Schwab was only just touching the surface of his character, but she definitely flushes out his character more in A Gathering of Shadows and I love him even more now.

I talk about my love for Lila a lot, but my love for Kell, my beautiful perpetually frowning Antari, is infinite. I love his dry humor. I love how flawed he is and how he makes mistakes, but he’s still such a brave and strong person with a heart of gold. There are many great characters in this series, but Kell is hands down my favorite. He’s not perfect, he’s sad, lonely, forever trapped as a tool for Red London with no real family and betrayal and fear surrounding him.

“The thing about freedom, Kell? It doesn’t come naturally. Almost no one has it handed to them. I’m free because I fought for it. You’re supposed to be the most powerful magician in all the worlds. If you don’t want to be here, then go.”

My heart breaks for Kell, he doesn’t at all deserve to be treated the way the king and all the other citizens of Red London treat him. It made me so mad! I want so badly for something good to happen to him because he deserves it, he deserves happiness. He is not a tool and I just want to give Kell a big hug, even if I know he’ll just feel awkward about it. Kell is just so lovable, I don’t understand how anyone couldn’t like him.

Rhy is a precious cinnamon roll. At times he pissed me off, but I still can’t help but like him. I love his and Kell’s relationship (I still not-so-secretly ship them). Now that they’re bonded together, life gets tougher for these two. It’s awkward, complicated and just hard. but you can tell how much they really love and care about each other. How through it all, they’re always going to be there for each other.

Three words to describe Delilah Bard would be: a complete badass.

“I am Delilah Bard. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed blood of royals and held magic in my hands. And a ship full of men cannot do what I can. I don’t need any of you.
I am one of a damned kind.”

God I love her. She’s fierce and doesn’t take any crap from anyone and it’s wonderful.

“I know where you sleep, Bard.”
She smirked. “Then you know I sleep with knives.

We get introduced to a bunch of new and also meet up with some old characters in A Gathering of Shadows. I have to admit, it was love at first sight for me with Alucard. He’s hilarious and snarky, while also very intelligent, deep, and insightful. Ugh, I just love him so much.

“You could just…” he whispered, “stay.”
“Or you could go,” she countered, “with me.”

I LITERALLY SHIP EVERYONE WITH EVERYONE IN THIS BOOK. Everyone has so much chemistry and they’re all just so funny and beautiful and cute. My poor heart can’t take it.

I will never get over how much I love this beautiful, wonderful world that Victoria Schwab has created. The idea of multiple Londons? Absolutely brilliant. Idea of magic being a real live thing? So unique. And Victoria does a great job of explaining and building the London worlds, her writing is phenomenal and also not too lengthy or confusing. We touch a few more places outside of London in the book, but I want more. I will never stop wanting more out of this world. The world is so big and we have four (well maybe three since Grey London is essentially our world) of them to explore, I feel like we’ve only just grazed the surface of it all.

The beginning was a bit slow, but it’s definitely worth the wait. Once you finally get to the tournament section things get epic and it’s wonderful.

The Essen Tasch was so much fun to read about! I loved meeting people from outside of Red London, and oh how I wished we had more time to get to know all the other competitors. I loved the way Victoria Schwab wrote all the fighting scenes, they had my heart racing and made me nervous and excited and scared all at the same time. And most of all, I just loved the magic. The Essen Tasch was absolutely magical to read about. I never wanted it to end.

Finally, that ending! Why, oh why can’t cliffhangers be illegal? They are literally the worst.

Overall, A Gathering of Shadows was an amazing sequel, Victoria is an amazing author and I absolutely cannot wait to see how the rest of this story will unfold.

I need the next book now please.

4.5 out 5 stars


“But belonging meant caring, and caring was a dangerous thing.”

Buy A Gathering of Shadows

Book Depository
Barnes and Noble

Buy A Darker Shade of Magic

Book Depository
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