Book Review of A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


Goodreads blurb
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.

First line: “Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble.”

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Series: #2 in Shades of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab / Victoria Schwab
My edition: I have a hardcover published by Tor Books (2016) with 512 pages.
Age: Young Adult (15+)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

why this book?.jpg
Simply because I loved A Darker Shade of Magic (review here), and I just needed to continue the series!

the plot.jpg
So in the last book Kell and Lila parted ways after killing the shady duo on the White London throne, and their puppet (Holland). They also saved Rhy(the Red London prince) by binding Rhy’s life to Kell’s, so now they share Kell’s life force, meaning that if Kell dies so does Rhy.

Okay, so we all knew after the first book that it was too simple that Holland was simply dead and gone. So, surprise, he’s back. It was also too easy that Kell and Lila parted ways and never thought about each other, so surprise, she’s back in Red London. The plot is slow, and all though it kind of makes sense to build up the tension and everything for the third and final (?) installment in the trilogy – it was 512 pages filled with very little action, and so much thinking. I mean, yes, we need the blocks with thoughts and simple actions; like “I’m walking and I’m thinking”, but this book had pretty much 2/3 parts thinking and 1/3 of things actually happening. Which was kind of sad because I loved the length of the first book, it was just perfect!

So in retrospect I wish there had been more of the flashbacks Lila had with her time with Alucard (the new character), I wish there had been more happening in the middle; I know the Element Games (Essen Tasch) was important, and I loved that part because it gave Lila and Kell more depth, it also dragged out the story. In the days before the Element Games nothing really happened, it was just a series of thoughts from Lila and a series of thoughts from Kell. And then there were these small three-page chapters with what Holland was up to, and I’m guessing since Holland isn’t the main character that he can’t have more “time” in the spotlight, but I really wish there was more from his side because he’s one of the most interesting characters in this book. Period.

the writing.jpg
Schwab’s writing is as always spot on. I don’t think I know of any characters that has such a beautiful way of describing things. You can’t compare her style with ex. Maggie Stiefvater, because Stiefvater could make a grey stone seem beautiful and interesting. Schwab has this rawness to her writing that just makes her characters so real, makes the fabrics of their clothes almost touchable, and the world surrounding them so detailed and perfect.

But in this book it also became one of the “faults” when it comes to the length of the book. I think that this plot could have been written in the length of the first book and by that making it better, but then again all the describing also lifts the book up to a level where I can imagine everything almost perfectly – and I love that!

the characters.jpg
Kell becomes ultimately more interesting in this book. In the first book he almost felt “plain”, but in this book the rawness of his emotions just stand out against the rest; and he became so much more interesting in this book. I guess one of the reasons is because he shows more emotions when it comes to his “given” family; the king and queen, they’re not really nice to him and I felt so angry at times for Kell because I could just see him boiling over at times. So in this book, Kell shows more of his anger, and I really liked that Schwab showed us that side. It also showed that Kell isn’t always as calm and composed as he seemed in the first book, he has this chaotic side to him as well. And after the stone some of his darker sides also comes to light, and I also loved that part of it.

Lila becomes more interesting as well, not only because she’s finally free and able to do exactly what she wants, but because she now starts to show the powers that were within her in the first book. She also continues to amaze me; and especially how she in the first book almost seemed a bit boyish, but in the second book she starts to show that she’s not boyish, she just have this “carefree” side where she’ll go for what’s comfortable and not what’s pretty. She’s different, because most female characters often become directly boyish in order to be “the best” at what they do, but Lila’s just best, and she’s fighting for it the only way she knows. And that makes her one of the most interesting female characters I’ve ever read.

Rhy deserved more depth in the first book, I looove it when writers put charismatic characters in books, those who just knows how to charm their way out of everything. And Rhy’s that character. He’s charming, handsome and so mysterious. In this book we get more backstory, and I LOVED that backstory. Finally a romance that was both sexy and well-thought-of! I loved it!

Alucard was a character introduced in this book, and wow did I like him. He’s interesting, I picture him as this handsome pirate and I just loved his backstory as well. It fit right in with the plot, making it a little more dramatic!

Holland gets as little spotlight as possible in this book, and I think it’s a shame. He’s one of those characters that are dark, but you can just see that there’s something more to him. He’s not just the dark villain, he’s also a wounded human being who’s been held captive for most of his life. He’s finally free, and I just know that the third book will EXPLODE.

a short summary.jpg
This book drops half a heart from the first book, not because it’s not a good book or a good sequel, but because I felt like the length of the book drags out the story for so long that it becomes almost boring reading it. I loved how the characters got more depths and that we got to see more sides of their personalities, but I wish Holland was in the book more. And I would have loved to have a couple of segments where we saw the story from Alucard’s point of view.


February 21, 2017
Currently reading

February 26, 2017
Page 56 – I seriously want to read more, but the joy is kinda being murdered by my bachelor thesis and everything accompanying it…

February 27, 2017
Page 82 – ‘He felt something on his face, and it took him a moment to realize that he was smiling’

March 3, 2017
Page 209 – YESSS

March 4, 2017
Page 281 – ‘I hope you don’t expect me to call you Master’
‘Saints, no, that word has no place except in bed’

March 5, 2017
Page 447 – They’re so adorablee
Finished Reading

Absolutely, not only is it a beautiful book (I love the hardcover editions of this book), but they’re also a good series and worth the read!
The books are mainly about magic, and so if you like fantasy surrounding magic I think this will be a fit. I can’t think of any books that are similar right away, but if you liked Schwab’s book “This Savage Song”, you’ll like this, I’m almost sure!

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


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