Review: A Gathering Of Shadows

Posted April 13, 2016

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: A Gathering Of Shadows A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Published by Titan on 23rd February 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like 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.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

I’ve been so excited to read A Gathering of Shadows but I kind of wanted to hold off until I could savour it. So I’ve finally read it and guess what? It’s brilliant!

Now obviously this is the second book in the series so if you haven’t read the first book A Darker Shade of Magic pop over and read my review of it, then run to your local bookshop to buy a copy. Reading on in this post will result in spoilers for ADSOM so, seriously, stop reading and go buy a copy! NOW!

Still with me? Well then I assume that you have read and adored ADSOM too and want to know my thoughts on this glorious second book. The short version? I loved it.

More details? OK. We rejoin our beloved characters four months after ADSOM. Lila is sailing the seas, she’s trying to uncover whatever power Master Tiernan seemed to imply with within her. Kell and Rhy remain in Red London, coming to terms with this new magical bond between them. Kell is finding life in the Palace tough after the events of the last book. Not only does he find his relationship with his “family” strained, but the people of Red London look at him differently now: many blame him, most fear him. The King has placed Kell under strict guard. Any travelling he does is closely monitored and, obviously, his smuggling days are over.

Meanwhile Rhy is tasked with arranging the Essen Tach, a magical tournament between the three countries of Arnes, Vesk and Faro. It’s a tournament designed to help keep the peace between the neighbouring countries, who each pick their own magicians to represent them. Naturally, Rhy is going all-out to ensure an Essen Tach that no-one will forget.

All the while, in another London, shadows are reforming, and it seems that the problem with Black London isn’t actually resolved. In fact, it’s far from it.

There’s SO much to love in this book. New characters, brilliant old characters, fighting, death, magic, ships, kissing, secrets, deception… I’ll stop but I could go on. V.E. Schwab has once again pulled me into her incredible fantasy world, and now that I’m finished the book I can’t stop thinking about it.

Non-spoilery highlights for me include Lila being her bad-ass self, Kell smiling, Rhy embraced in an epic scene, Lila’s fashion choices and an interesting sea captain.

I must warn you though – the ending of this book almost broke me. It’s set up perfectly for the third book, but I don’t want to have to wait to read it!!

I’m fairly sure I’ve gushed for long enough. I quite simply loved it. I had no idea where the series would go after ADSOM and AGOS certainly didn’t disappoint.

Have you read A Gathering Of Shadows yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Be sure to check out V.E. Schwab’s guest post on