Review – A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows Final

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Series: Shades of Magic, #2
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publication: February 23rd 2016 by Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 512 pages
Format: Library book
Rating: 5/5

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.

Shelf it on Goodreads


So here’s the alphabetical run down:


I felt much more connected to and invested in Lila’s character in this book than I did in A Darker Shade of Magic (ADSOM). Also, Alucard Emery as a new central character was so charming, and so connected to the back story of the characters, he is a great addition. Kell and Rhy begin the book as very depressed versions of themselves, but liven up as the story continues.


I love the covers in this series. The simple red and black is deceiving because the cover is actually really detailed when you look closely. The hands are cut outs that seem to have a map beneath them, likely a map of Red London. The vector illustration of Lila is just perfect.


There are a few different romantic relationships, some were expected and some were very unexpected. Romance is not really a main theme, but it’s not missed. The brotherly love relationship between Kell and Rhy is expanded upon in this second book in the series.


My favorite part of this book was the Essen Tasch (Element Games), which took up the majority of the storyline. There is, of course, underlying danger and dark magic brewing, but the foreground of the novel is centered around this “extravagant international competition of magic” which is an exciting and fun change from Kell and Lila running for their lives in the first novel.

The end of this book does not have any resolution like ADSOM, which obviously didn’t end the story, but resolved in a way. Typically a cliff hanger of this proportion would be a con to me, but in this case, it just fits perfectly. But if for some reason you can’t stand a cliff hanger, better wait to read this one until the third book is closer to being published.


“No one’s killed me yet.”
Lila shrugged. “Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”

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

“Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don’t want to die – dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.”


This story is epic and even better than its predecessor A Darker Shade of Magic. I cannot wait for A Conjuring of Light!!! (February 2017, if you’re interested)



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