A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
Published by Tor on February 23, 2016
Genres: Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Romance
Pages: 512 Format: Hardcover Source: Purchased
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.
Look! It’s my first full five star book of the year! V. E. Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows completely blew me away on all fronts. It was a masterpiece of character driven storytelling that I am still not over and may not be over for a very long while. The first chapter alone, gosh, might be my favorite of all time. OF ALL TIME! Victoria’s writing is so beautiful and heart wrenching, sucking me into this world and to be honest I’m not sure I’ve left yet. While I loved everything about A Gathering of Shadows, let’s zone in on some highlights.
Kell, Lila, and Rhy, OH MY!
How has Victoria created such phenomenal freaking characters? They were great in ADSOM but this one took them to completely new heights! Each of them is so fully fleshed out with complex emotions. There is no glossing over issues and none of it is easy. Kell and Rhy have to live and deal with what occurred during the Black Night. The repercussions impacting both family and country.
Lila is an even bigger bad-ass then before. Sussing out a language she barely understands, surviving in a different world, finding her own niche. She’s my hero! Plus the introduction of the charismatic, charming captain of my dreams Alucard Emery. Powerful and proud with burning curiosity and a hint of mystery. Red London clearly has the coolest people ever!
What better way to showcase elemental magic and expand the readers knowledge of Red London then a massive tournament that pits the most extremely advanced from Arnes, Faro, and Vesk. Red London is a much wider world made up of three separate nations and while the Maresh family holds the seat of power in Arnes both Faro and Vesk would like to have it for themselves. With the arrival of figures from the other two nations there is an added political intrigue thrown into the mix.
Let’s be upfront though. It’s all about the duels! Magical duels! We finally get to see some serious elemental magic. ADSOM had such a focus on the Antari blood magic but in this one there is a plethora of elements being wielded. Fire being hurled across an arena, water being frozen into deadly weapons, earth holding opponents down, wind whipping against the body. High stakes fighting at its very best.
Overall, A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab was such an excellent book full of magic, intrigue, emotion, suffering and so much more. With some of my favorite characters of all time, Victoria weaves a gripping narrative that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat until the very last line. I implore each and every person to pick up the Shades of Magic series and immerse yourself in a brilliant new world!
I mean, besides the entirety of the book, right? Here are just a few to whet your appetite:
- “I know where you sleep, Bard.” She smirked. “Then you know I sleep with knives.”
- “Look, everyone talks about the unknown like it’s some big scary thing, but it’s the familiar that’s always bothered me. It’s heavy, builds up around you like rocks, until it’s walls and a ceiling and a cell.”
- “Not much of a morning person?”
“Such a useless time of day,” she said, dragging herself upright and taking the cup. “Can’t sleep. Can’t steal.”
- Standing there on display was painful enough.
Now came the truly unfortunate task of socializing.
- He flashed up in her vision like a flare, auburn hair and that constant furrow between his eyes: one blue, one black. Antari. Magic boy. Prince.
So, have you delved into the Shades of Magic series yet? Dying over Schwab’s brilliant characters? Super impatient for Book Three? Let me know all of your thoughts in the comments below!