A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
Published by: Titan Books
Format: ARC Paperback
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic
I received this book from Titan Books in exchange for an honest review.
After LOVING the first book, I knew I was in for a treat with this one, and what can I say? V.E. Schwa is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors, and I will be investing in pretty much all of her other stuff soon!
A Gathering of Shadows is the absolutely magical and tantalising – there’s a lot of teasing! – sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. And if you, like me, had no idea where the series could go from ADSOM, then I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this direction. A Gathering of Shadows comes with added pirates, stress and a dangerous magic competition.
I have truly and completely fallen in love with this series and V. E. Schwab’s writing, could it have been 500 pages longer?
P L O T A N D P A C I N G
It’s been about four months since the events of the first book and Kell and Lila are in very different places, not only emotionally, but geographically too! Lila’s found herself on the ship of Alucard Emery (my new bad – more on him later) and Kell’s got Rhy to think of now that their lives are tied together. And while it’s upsetting that these two, who are obviously destined to be together, have been separated, there are other things broiling under the surface. Like Holland’s return. WHAT. And as the blurb says, ‘for one city to flourish, another must fall…’
The majority of the book builds towards the magical competition the Essen Tasch, where magicians from three different countries compete to find the champion. The competition doesn’t happen very regularly, so it’s a big event and draws a lot of people to the host country. One of those people is Alucard and if he’s going Lila’s going with him.
But both Kell and Lila still know how to find mischief. Lila’s been practicing her magic and wants to compete and Rhy has an elaborate plan to allow Kell to enter under the disguise of Kamerov, since all of the competitors wear masks and all.
When it comes to pacing, it’s pretty slow. But what I’ve leaned from this series so far is: you get out what you put in. If you put in a lot of time and effort to keep reading then you’ll quickly become engrossed. There’s a lot more world building, which once again isn’t clunky or distracting. For example, the Red London palace has multiple ballrooms and there’s a paragraph about all the different ones and where they’re located to assess which would be best for the tournament balls. That’s not the kind of detail we need to know unless it’s significant. V. E. Schwab really knows how to pick what she’s going to tell the reader, and every bit of information is SO purposeful.
I can’t really ignore the fact that it’s all one big build up and the ending is a complete cliffhanger, making this book almost like a filler – I hate to say it, believe me – but I love all the characters and the writing so dearly, that I would literally read about Rhy’s daily to do even if it was just “admire self in mirror”. Like I said, you get out what you put in, and for once I didn’t mind reading 500 pages of teasing and build up to the third book because I know the sequel is going to be EXPLOSIVE.
C H A R A C T E R S
There’s only one new main character that I want to talk about and that is ALUCARD ALUCARD ALUCARD. Aka. everybody’s dreamboat. Wow. He’s a lot like Captain Hook from Once Upon a Time, not only are they both pirates *cough* I mean privateers, but they’ve got that same roguish charm that has you swooning at just about everything they say. I bet Alucard’s got a killer smile.
Alucard is kind of arrogant, but he’s aware of other people’s feelings. He wants to learn more about Lila and if great at knowing when to give people a chance. His weakness however is one cinnamon roll prince.
Rhy and Alucard are my new favourite thing in THE WHOLE WORLD. I’ve tabbed Part VII, Chapter I because it’s their first exchange after a long history and my goodness. I’m tearing up just thinking about how sweet these two babies are. Seriously, they’re my new OTP. “Fix your crown my prince…it’s crooked.” CRYING. How do they have so much chemistry?! And what makes it even better is that Kell isn’t a fan of their relationship, so there’s tension and protectiveness – my weakness – it’s just delicious.
That cliffhanger killer me, brought me back to life for a brief moment and killed me again though. I don’t think I’ve forgiven V. E. Schwab for this yet, and there better be 100% more smoochin’ in the third book to make up for my broken heart.
In my review of the A Darker Shade of Magic I said I wanted Rhy and Lila to be love interests but NOPE NOPE. I’m not about that anymore. Rhy and Alucard are totally MFEO. And A Gathering of Shadows has also given me a lot of appreciation for the Lila and Kell ship. They’ve still got a long way to go before I can see them being a couple for real, though. It’s a little unhealthy at the moment, but the passion is there to keep us going until that point.
All of these characters have so much chemistry with one another, it’s unreal.
V E R D I C T
I feel like I should’ve talked more about the plot and the complex enemy and blah de blah. But I just needed to gush and fangirl about how perfect this book was. Definitely one of the best I’ve read this year. 4.5 stars. (Would’ve been five if there were more pirate and cinnamon bun.)