A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Gathering of Shadows 20764879
Author: V.E. Schwab
Published by: Tor Books
Publication date: 17th January 2017
Pages: 512
Genres:  Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

“I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do.”

*spoilers ahead if you haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic, the first book of the trilogy*

It’s been four months since Lila left Red London behind for the seas. Four months since Kell and Rhy became bound, and four months since Holland’s dying body was cast into Black London along with the obsidian stone. Now plagued by nightmares and each other’s often angry emotions, Kell and Rhy are dealing with the aftermath of the last few months, both feeling trapped in their situations. With the upcoming Element Games, an international competition among magicians to keep the peace between nations, comes the arrival of old friends and foes. And while Red London is caught up in the festivities, a different world is coming to life.

Lila was our opening act, now having spent a few months at sea and still living and scheming like the wonderful thief she is. Dangerous. Reckless. Foolish. Mad. While aboard a ship called the Night Spire, she has learned to use magic with the help of Captain Alucard Emery, as they spend many nights together, mostly deflecting each other’s probing questions. They eventually return to London so Alucard can compete in the Element Games. Days before the competition begins, Lila comes up with an idea. A reckless, inconceivable idea that only she would ever turn into an action plan. “Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”

So much happens in this book that I don’t even know what to mention and what not to. There’s never a dull moment and just like in ADSOM, Schwab continues to throw curve balls and this time she’s even added in a double helping of banter between characters. The world building is captivating and I felt even more encapsulated by Red London this time around as it was buzzing with more magic than ever.

ADSOM was an incredible adventure but AGOS? It’s difficult to find the right words to express how much more I enjoyed this book over the first. The relationships between characters were explored a lot more heavily and motives are starting to come to light. There’s some serious tension between everyone and I absolutely loved it. The relationships are much more complex and strained and exciting and all I really want is a book entirely dedicated to Lila, Alucard, Kell and Rhy. I know that’s kind of what this already is but I just want a book filled with conversations between them all. They’re all so intense with each other and their conversations in this book had me completely enraptured.

A Gathering of Shadows was everything I expected and more. The world building continues to amaze me, the characters are so much fun to follow, the relationships all have a new dynamic to them, and it was impossible to put down. I’m dying to read the final book and I will channel my inner Lila to get my hands on it if I have to. I highly encourage everyone to keep reading this series.
“Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.”

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