Friday, January 13, 2017

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

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 509 pages
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

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It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift--back into Black London. 

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as 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 ties between neighboring countries--a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. 

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall. 

My Thoughts:
Four months after leaving Red London, Delilah Bard is living out her dreams of being a pirate upon the ship of her choosing. She finds herself drawn back to London when her captain, Alucard Emery, is called to compete in the Element Games; a high stakes competition between the most talented of wizards put on by the Arnesian royalty to bring the surrounding countries together in celebration. Rhy has kept busy putting the Games together but Kell, on the other hand, feels smothered by the new rules and judgments that have been placed upon his shoulders.
Meanwhile, a forgotten shadow grows stronger in forgotten worlds, threatening the balance between light and dark, good and evil. 

This has been the absolute best series I read in 2016. Schwab is a master of her craft. I will admit that the first half of this book was not as plot driven and fast-paced as the first book but I never felt bored with it. The story still moves along at a great pace and has plenty of action and character development.
The Element Games really was the highlight of this book though. How could it not be? A bunch of wizards competing to see who is the best? Um, yes, please put me in the audience any day. 

I mentioned in my review of A Darker Shade of Magic that I felt a lot 'closer' to Lila as a character than I did to Kell and that continued in this sequel. I loved that it started out with Lila doing what she had always dreamed of doing. As much as I love Kell, Lila is the character that stands strongest in this series. We get so much development with her. Or maybe I just relate to her more. 

Kell is still our dark, troubled dreamboat with an abundance of power and little freedom. He was definitely fleshed out more as a character in this sequel. I felt like I didn't really get to know him in the first book because he was always so busy saving the worlds. This time around there was more time for him to show his inner thoughts and turmoil. 

Rhy seemed to be coming into his role as future king. He's taking on more responsibility and acting more like a royal while in the first book he mostly just seemed to want to drink and get into trouble so Kell could dig him out of it. 

Our newest main character is Alucard Emery. We don't get a whole lot about his character at first but we are given little hints throughout and I'm pretty sure he is going to play a big role in what is to come. We do learn that he has some connection to all our previous characters and the way that Schwab brought him into the story was genius. 

The ending was enough to make me want to travel to different worlds to get the next book. I need to know what happens right now. This is the kind of book that makes the wait so difficult to deal with. What do I do with my life? Reread the first two books over until I have the third in my hands? 

I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves fantasy. This is the kind of YA fantasy that I would recommend to any gender and any age group. It reads like an adult fantasy, just without any excess of romance, and is always to the point and well paced. 

My Rating: 4.5-5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I rarely read YA fantasy, but I've had Schwab's titles on my wish list for some time now - sounds like they are worth bumping up my list.