A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab is the second book in the Shades of Magic series. The third one to be released some time early next year. We pick up four months after A Darker Shade of Magic with both Kell and Lila dealing with the repercussions of their actions. Lila’s decision to stay in Red London and adapt to a world completely different then her own and Kell’s guilt and persecution over the darkness he inadvertently let loose on his city.
Separated by an ocean, the pair are still drawn to each other and as the Elemental Games approach a reunion is inevitable. The Elemental Games are like the Olympics of magic; competitors from three countries gather to compete and this year they are competing in London.
Rhy, longing for things to be the way they were before Kell saved him by tying their lives together, hatches a plan to secretly enter Kell in the games–allowing Kell to release his pent up powers and instill some life back into him. Lila too has plans to enter the tournament to test her new found magical skills and that elusive “thrill” she is always chasing.
While the tournament is playing out White London is turned on its head when a new king replaces the Dane Twins. Holland has miraculously returned from Black London and begins to restore White London to its former glory. But Holland is not alone. The king of Black London–magic incarnate–piggybacks in Hollands body and the two fight for control. And it is a fight that Kell and Lila are inadvertently–on their part–drawn into.
Will all of the London’s, the worlds, be taken over by this dark force or can our “heroes” keep magic in check without losing themselves in the process.
So, I finished this book thinking I’d see lots of similar reactions on Goodreads and I was shocked to find that I am the minority here. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy the book but this one had the opposite flaws that I found in the first one. The first book didn’t have enough character building for me, even though it’s world building was excellent. But the second book had too much. There were a lot of scenes we just didn’t need that slowed down the story. Whole chapters could have been cut and everything still would have flowed and made sense.
I did like the characters, Lila’s devil may care attitude and Alucard was a deliciously diverse soul. Even Rhy didn’t annoy me as much as he did in the first book. Kell was Kell; loved him when he was in his element fighting and wished he’d get a backbone the rest of the time.
I will hand it to Schwab though, that ending was masterful! It left you hanging but in such a good way.
There were many things I did like about this book but parts of it dragged for me so I had to give it the neutral three stars. I do think the last book is going to be stellar though, what with all the worlds colliding.
That’s all for now,