You guys, I freaking LOVED this book. I read A Darker Shade Of Magic back in August and fell completely head over heels with both Kell and Lila, and yet somehow this book was even better. Like, I’m not even kidding. V.E. Schwab is a literary GODDESS and I’m still so pissed that it’s taken me this long to discover that fact.
A Gathering Of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
(Shades Of Magic #2)
Hardcover | 528 pages | Purchased
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 finalises preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighbouring 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.
“Magic” and “tournament” are two major buzz words for me so you can imagine how pumped I was when I found out this book features a MAGICAL TOURNAMENT. I devoured this story in just a couple of sittings and I absolutely loved every. damn. minute.
Lila Bard is just such a fucking fascinating character. A Grey Londoner with an affinity for not one, but TWO elements?! Unheard of. And then there are the secrets she keeps close to her chest. She tries her hardest not to let herself care about anyone or anything, focusing only on her own survival, and that’s just so upsetting to me. Lila Bard deserves happiness and family and friendship and, well, basically she just deserves the world. I love this woman with every fibre of my being and I’m just SO invested in her getting her happily ever after 😢 The problem is, she keeps avoiding her feelings for a certain red-haired Antari and it’s driving me BONKERS. I love a good slow burn, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend it’s not frustrating AF 😂
There’s no denying that I adore Lila Bard, but Kell is just as precious to me. He showed a lot more emotion and vulnerability in this book and I FELL HARD. Admittedly, the emotions he shows most are guilt and regret, but STILL. It’s something. I love a vulnerable guy who can still kick some ass 😂 I hated the King and Queen for limiting his freedom, and while I understand their reasoning, they can’t keep him locked up like an animal. And not only that, but as the last remaining Antari, he now faces constant fear and distrust from the general population. IT’S JUST NOT FAIR. He doesn’t deserve this life 😢 Kell is very much a “lawful good” character but this book shows a darker side of him that loves the thrill of the fight. This sweet cinnamon roll has a deliciously dark centre and I am so intrigued.
I’m not going to ramble on forever about the characters (even though I could spend DAYS gushing about Rhy and how pure and special he is), but I will say that Alucard Emery better have a major role in the third book because he really is something else. Pirate. Scoundrel. Heartbreaker. Skilled AF with magic. I’m just curious, okay? 🤭 Also, the new king of White London? DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING. Obviously I can’t say a damn thing because #spoilers, but the White London chapters were some of my favourites. Again, I’m curious. The story is fascinating and I can’t wait to see what happens in the last book 😬
As I said earlier, A Darker Shade Of Magic was epic, but A Gathering Of Shadows was better. If I could rate this more than 5 stars, I totally would. It was everything I could have wanted, AND MORE. I just love this world and these characters and this incredible writing so. fucking. much. But that cliffhanger? THAT I could have done without. The UK collector’s edition of A Conjuring Of Light doesn’t come out until October so I’ve got a few weeks to wait until I can get some ANSWERS. Specifically about the mystery that is Delilah Bard and her magic 😏