Book: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic 2) by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Beware of spoilers for the first book in the synopsis and small mentions of things in this review.
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.
After reading A Darker Shade of Magic I was a tad disappointed after my high expectations. So I wasn’t sure how to look forward to this next installment. The reviews for it were once again highly positive but the tournament mentioned in the synopsis did not appeal to me at all.
For me A Gathering of Shadows continued on in a similar pace to the first book and is a solid sequel. It picks up about four months after A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila finds herself in a different world from her own, trying to find her own footing without getting too close to others. Kell and Rhy both are trying to deal with the consequences of their actions. We get to learn their new situations before moving into the plot of the book, and I liked the pacing of this.
The tournament as mentioned in the synopsis did not end up bothering me in the slightest. It was very well incorporated into the book. There was not too much of it, but also not too little. Some of the twists (small and big) throughout the book were obvious to me however. Especially the one at the end. The annoying bit about that was that it could not be obvious for the characters because it took place separate from them and only incorporated them at the last moment. So to them it was a surprise but to me as a reader I knew it was going to come and it took the exciting bit out of it for me a bit.
I have such a soft spot for Rhy and his relationship with Kell. While he seems to have come out of the previous events the most positive, not being dead and all, this does not mean that there aren’t any consequences for him. The bond of their life has put a strain on their relationship. Kell has gotten the most repercussions for the previous happenings, and very little about his old life truly remains except his relationship with Rhy who continues to support him. The pull the darker magic had on him in the previous book seems to be still present. These things help these characters to continue to grow.
While Lila’s situation isn’t perfect she certainly seems to have gotten herself into a great position, considering everything. Magic is something that still has a draw on her. As a character in this book, I have gotten to know her better and I have taken more of a liking to her. She brings a rash dynamic to the happenings.