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

This year I found my new favorite author: Victoria/V.E. Schwab. I’ve been pouring through her books at a rapid pace, so in honor of last week’s release of This Savage Song, I’m reviewing A Gathering of Shadows, Vicious, and The Near Witch.

Upon finishing A Darker Shade of Magic, I had, HAD, to get my hands on A Gathering of Shadows. I fell in love with the world of 4 parallel, color-coded Londons, dimension-traveling magicians, and a great ensemble of interesting, faceted characters. And thankfully, my local library did not disappoint! If you have not read A Darker Shade of Magic, I recommend you read my review and dig into that book before reading further.

A Gathering of Shadows picks up a few months where A Darker Shade of Magic left off: Lila has cast off Grey London and is now in Red London, sailing the seas as a crew member on a privateer ship, and …. manipulates, for lack of a better non-spoilery word, her way into Red London’s Element Games. After getting bits and pieces of Red London in bits and pieces from the first book, it was fun to see Red London in its, well, element, as it prepared for the extravagant Element Games. It’s a lavish, rosy-hued world that bustles with pirates, night markets, and balls as magic flows in excess—unlike the stark, magic-less Londons of Grey and White. The Element Games add an interesting dimension to Red London, as both Kell and Lila enter on false pretenses. The two are unaware of each others entry, until a duel that culminates in some beautiful identity revelation. But all that is quickly soured by an unfortunate turn of events that results in the most maddening of cliffhangers.

AGOS readers everywhere

Cliffhanger or no cliffhanger, A Gathering of Shadows is a great second book in the Shades of Magic series. A Darker Shade of Magic already had established some great world-building, and A Gathering of Shadows takes that up a notch by expanding our notions of the Londons. Admittedly, there were a few parts I found dragging, but honestly, patience is not my virtue as I spent a lot of the book desperately clamoring for Lila and Kell’s reunion. Fortunately, the payoff is worth it…despite that cliffhanger snatching it all away in a span of a stream of pages. Sigh.

A Conjuring of Light, the 3rd (and final? I think) installment, of the Shades of Magic series comes out next frikkin’ year: February 21, 2017. B-b-but….nooowwwwwwwww.

Find A Gathering of Shadows at your local library

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