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

A Gathering of Shadows FinalA Gathering of Shadows
By: V.E. Schwab
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Publisher: Tor
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

My Thoughts:
It would be fair to say I had some freakishly high hopes for this sequel since I loved the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, so very much. I’ve been a long time fan of Schwab having read each of her books as they release. I really do think that with every new book her writing, characters and story continue to improve (how is that possible?)

When jumping into a sequel I always question if I’ll be able to connect since it’s been a long while since I read the first book. Inevitably the question arises- should I reread book one? I didn’t bother to and yet I was easily transported back to this world. I found myself loving how Schwab built upon A Darker Shade of Magic and threw me right back into feeling tense and needing to see how it would all come out. I am always pleased when the events of the first novel have major effects on what happens in the sequel and was very pleased to see that this carried through with A Gathering of Shadows.

This was the type of book that I tried to read slowly so that I could savor every word and really allow myself the time to get immersed in the world and feel what the characters are feeling. I found this to be pretty tricky because I kept speeding through the words to find out what happened next. I had a constant battle of trying to slow down yet wanting to see what happened next.

Schwab is a master of setting and adding in creative bits that make her work unique and so completely captivating. It’s easy to forget that you are reading about a fantasy world because it becomes all too real. Her descriptions are so vivid and detailed yet not overly long. In this sequel we continue with where the first book left off but with the addition of a new element- a magical game- the Element Games. I’ve got to admit the idea of a magical inspired game to find the best has been done before…often. But, still, somehow this felt new.

I love that the characters in these books are so well developed and complex. The events of the first book changed each of them and helped to shape their actions. It was easy as the reader to understand their motivations and relate to their story. I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite character- each was so well done. The interactions between characters was done beautifully and as always I love their dialog and banter. You don’t need to be told what they mean to each other you can feel it.

The romance was very scarce but the slow burn between the characters was so evident and major strides to occur (you just have to be patient for them). I was literally at the edge of my seat waiting for the pieces to fall in place and needing to have these characters in the same room speaking (kissing). Don’t expect for the characters to get face to face for many, many pages but trust me, the wait was worth it. Schwab is a master at writing build up between characters and, as with the first novel, you are easily at her mercy (and loving it).

I will give out a warning- this book ends on a cliff hanger (evil, evil cliffhanger). If you are sensitive to that be forewarned.

Final Thoughts:
I really can’t speak highly enough about this series and recommend that anyone with the desire to read a captivating world with characters that you are in love with should read them.

Look for A Gathering of Shadows February 23rd. Until then, if you’ve not, go read A Darker Shade of Magic. I demand it.


  1. says

    Gah, I think I need to skim-read the first book again because I’ve forgotten quite a lot of what happens. But I’m so glad to see that this sequel is just as fabulous as its predecessor. I’m a huge fan of Victoria’s unique world-building, and her morally-questionable characters.

    • says

      It was incredible how easy it was for me to get thrown right back into the world and characters. A skim read of the first wouldn’t hurt though. I hope you love this one too.

  2. says

    An evil cliffhanger? I can definitely see this book punching me in the gut. I am so excited for Gathering of Shadows. I love this world and the characters Schwab has created and the fact that we get to explore more of the characters has me even more excited. The fact that the fallout of the first book is felt in this one has me convinced it will blow me away because there is nothing I hate more than having a serious incident be pushed aside. I’m all for a slow burn romance with this series and so while I’ll be itching to just shove Kell/Lila into a room so they can get to the romancing, I have enough patience to see that there are bigger things at stake here. 😀

    • says

      ACK. it’s so good. I really can’t fathom how Schwab keeps writing better books but she does. I love this one and I hope you do too. It’s just so well done.

  3. says

    Sigh. <3 Gorgeous review Kristen 😀 I am thrilled that you loved this book so much. I CANNOT wait to read it 😀 Yet a bit nervous about them not being together for so long.. sigh. Yet I think I will love it lots too 🙂 So happy you love these books so much sweetie. <3 Thank you for sharing 😀

    • says

      I think you’ll like it Carina. They aren’t together but they do think of one another (if that helps). The writing is so beautifully done. I hope you love it.

  4. says

    Great review! I am SUPER EXCITED for this book- A Darker Shade of Magic was one of my favourite books of all time, and a cliffhanger means there’s going to be another book! so excited…can’t February 23 come sooner?

    • says

      I neeeeed more from this. I honestly don’t know how many are planned? I wouldn’t mind many many more. They are all so beautifully done. I hope you read it immediately upon release and Love it.

  5. says

    I just read This Savage Song and it got me more excited for this one all over again! Schwab certainly has a way with characters. I should make my preorder…

    • says

      EEEEE! I can’t wait to read This Savage Song. She really does have a way with characters. I pre-ordered mine and I can’t wait to see the pretty.

  6. says

    Yay, 5 stars! I’m so excited for this! Glad to see the characters are still awesome! And I can totally do slow romance if it’s a beautiful burnt that’ll keep me on edge, haha.

    Awesome review, Kristen!

  7. says

    Totally agree! I might even have liked this book better than book one. I love how Schwab brings events from book one to mind with subtle recaps while also hinting at things that could come up in book three all while creating a fairly self-contained second book in a series.

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