A GATHERING OF SHADOWSSummary:
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.
Title: A GATHERING OF SHADOWS
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #2
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Rating: 4.5 stars
Purchase:This is the second book in the series! See my review of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC to get caught up on what I think about this series!
I loved A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC (and everything else V.E. Schwab has written) so I went into this one with high hopes and it delivered. I thought that this was a good sequel, but also felt like a sequel, and that cliffhanger was just rude.
Schwab's writing was flawless, as always, with the right mix of describing the setting and the characters while giving us a detailed look at the motivations behind actions. It was nice to be inside the heads of more characters this time around (especially Rhy!!!) because it gave us a broader picture of what was happening in the entire world rather than just in Kell's world. I think the pacing was on point with enough time to build up to the main event but not so much that we were dragging our feet waiting for action and adventure. I would have liked just a tad bit more time spent on the Games but I did like that it wasn't such a heavy focus on the games, but rather what the Games meant to the broad scheme of things.
I thought the Games were a bit of a convenient way to have everyone in the same place at the same time but I wasn't too bothered by them. I also thought they were pretty similar to the idea of HP4 but again, not too bothered by that. I also would have liked a bit more of an explanation as to Alucard and Rhy's relationship and why that meant Kell was against the idea of Alucard ever setting foot near Rhy again because while I get the brotherly connection, I feel like I was missing something. But overall I didn't think these things really detracted from the story or made me not enjoy my reading.
I thought the plot was well constructed, maybe even better than ADSOM, because it felt like this one needed more to be a full story arc but still WAS a full story arc on its own. I liked the expansion of magic and the idea that it is all about a cycle. I think Schwab has a good grasp on how the magic works and effortlessly explains it to the readers in a way that makes sense but also shows that as much as each of the characters know isn't everything to be known about the magic of this world.
I think the characters gained a lot this time around. I liked seeing Kell restless and wanting to fight but scared of what it meant for Rhy. I also really liked seeing Rhy as a less bright version of himself because I feel like we are getting to see the "real" Rhy behind whatever masks he had on before. And I mean, I will always support bisexual characters. Yes please! I love Lila, I thought she was the best character this time around. I feel like the growth she showed in terms of starting to trust people more and not see relationships as a sign of weakness were offset with how naive and reckless she was with her magic. I feel like I understood that she wanted to use it but the way she went about it was offputting to me. But they felt like choices she would really make so it made sense.
*SCREAMS ALOUD* THAT CLIFFHANGER THO. SEE THIS IS WHY I WAITED TO READ IT. OMG.