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A Gathering of Shadows

by V.E. Schwab

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Shades of Magic (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,8381354,161 (4.1)62
"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 extravagent 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-and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall"--… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)
Surprisingly, it got a lot better. I'll admit, choosing between 3 or 4 stars was a bit difficult, but I went with 4 stars in the end. I did mention that the book has some pros and cons, but there was a big con that happened within the work, which I'll explain later on.

Basically, the story takes place 4 months after the events of A Darker Shade Of Magic, opening with Lila habing a hole in her boat and uses flare signals to get help, and ending up on a ship deck with pirates. Lila drugs and kills the pirates, and sees her captain, Alucard. Lila fights with the man she robbed, and meets the Night Spire captain, Alucard, and becomes part of his crew. They chat, and Alucard explains that he's not a pirate but a privateer. Lila does some fire magic, causing flames to appear on her knives.

There's familiar faces like Rhy and Kell, along with a new face, being Alucard, whom I absolutely love and grew on me. And, the same thing happened with the characters, at least, a few of them did, seeing how Kell grew on me and Lila kind of sort of did in the end, but Alucard also did too, his relationship with Rhy is quite cute.

And now that brings me to Holland. So, Holland coming back was both surprising and not that surprising, since he was somewhat breathing. But still, he barely appeared in the work and the fact that he became King of White London, got possessed by a shadow named Osaron, and everything that happened with the ending, was quite crazy. I do think that Holland is going to play a significant part in the last book, so I'm interested to see in how that goes.

So, the biggest con that I mainly for the book is the Essen Tach/Elemental Games, and the lead up to it. Here's the thing, the games were the saving grace of this book, I loved reading about them, but it took so long to get there.

Basically, this is what happened before the Essen Tach came into play, Kell comes face to face with a shadow and fights it in the basin. Kell and Rhy go to Splendor, the Rachenast and talk about the Essen Tach (Elemental Games). In Sasenroche, Vasry and Tav explain to Lila about the Games. In Red London, Rhy notices people making arenas for the Elemental Games. Tieren and Rhy have a chat on the games, and whether or not Rhy will compete. Rhy gives a helmet to Kell and wants him to compete in the tournament and agrees, with disgusing himself as Kamerov Loste. In Red London, Kell looks to see the royals arrive in their vessels sees them, and meets three: Prince Col, Princess Cora, and Lord Sol-in-Ar. Alucard, Lila, the Night Spiral arrive in Red London. Lila talks to Calla to mend her mask so she can compete in the Essen Tach. Kell finds out at the through Calla that his debt's paid off and Lila's back in London. Kell practices for the games, which is in two days. Lila will steal a name in order to be in the Essen Tach, and meets some competitors: Kisimyr, Jinnar, and Losen. Lila attacks Stasion Elsor, which Alucard isn't happy about. Lila disguises herself as Elsor. And then 8 parts in and 341 pages later, the games FINALLY begin.

There were a lot of moments from the games that I enjoyed, the battles with Kell fighting Tas-on-Mir, water v sand. Lila, as Stasion, fighting Sar, fire v earth were quite entertaining.

And it got even more better when it came to the last part, because it's a lot, but I enjoyed it. So, Lila and Kell dance and chat with one another, then they make out, and Lila states to Kell that she's not dropping out of the tournament. Lila, as Stasion, fights against Rul and collapses from the rock shield catching her leg, causing her to collapse. Kell takes Lila to her quarters and is pissed at her for being reckless and not seeming to care about power. Kell leaves, which has Rhy worried, along with the words SORRY written on Kell's arm, resulting in him going back over to Red London. In the final Elemental Games, it's Tos-an-Mir (fire & air) versus Rul (earth & fire), versus Alucard (earth, air, & fire), resulting in Alucard winning. Kell gets arrested for treason and disobeying the King. After Kell has a talk with the King, Maxim, discussing on how he cares about his brother and how people treat him like a pawn, he leaves to go to the courtyard. In the courtyard, Kell comes across Ojka, a messenger from White London, and not an Antari like Kell thought. Ojka asks Kell for his help in White London, which he agrees to while Lila and Rhy are wondering where Kell is. Kell encounters Holland in White London, and suddenly he gets the collar around his throat and is in pain, also effecting Rhy. The shadow, Osaron, controls Holland, as Kell wants Holland to fight back against it, with Osaron planning to go to Red London with the coin. It ends with Lila smearing her blod on the wall and planning to transport.

Oh, and Kell and Lila's relationship has also grown on me a bit too, so there's that. But overall, 4 stars, it was definitely better than the first, even though the one con I had was the buildup towards the games taking a bit too long, but I overall enjoyed it and cannot wait to read the final book in the trio.
( )
  Xftg133 | Aug 20, 2022 |
This book has a slow start and very little that is extremely important to the general plot of the trilogy, but I still liked the characters and I was really invested when the tournment started. That was fun.
I liked Kell on the first book, but he seemed bland to me on this one. Maybe it's because he was surrounded by characters that I thought were more interesting and complex.
Alucard was introduced in this book and he became one of my favourite characters. I liked the interactions between Rhy, Kell, Lila and Alucard a lot.
I wish I could have seen more of Holland and White London and I am expecting that on the third book.
This ends in a cliffhanger. ( )
  elderlingfae | Aug 11, 2022 |
It’s delightful to be back to Kell and Lila after such a long time. It’s been about four years since I read A Darker Shade of Magic, and there are so many aspects of the book that have stuck with me. Above all, Lila’s wanderlust and determination has stuck to my bones, and I think of her more iconic quotes often. A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in this trilogy, and for the most part, it focuses on character development and setting things in place for the dramatic ending. I didn’t like it as much as I liked A Darker Shade of Magic, but I didn’t hate it either. It was good, but it wasn’t great. It was a second book.

Looking at the story design we got - I did enjoy the character development for both Kell and Lila. They are both going through very similar things, but in very different ways. It’s interesting, because usually character development arcs in fantasy novels involve growth in knowledge or power. There is a learning arc. Schwab went a different way with this book. Rather, Kell and Lila are being pushed to breaking points. This is extremely evident in Kell’s storyline. Kell is sharply opposed with every action he executes. The harder he fights for freedom, the more confined he becomes. The tension throughout the book is palpable. It makes it difficult to step away from reading.

Lila‘s breaking point is a little different, an outward manifestation of internal conflict to mirror Kell’s internal conflict driven by exterior forces. She’s the one pushing herself, so there’s a lot more internal conflict and general avoidance. Lila has terrible coping mechanisms and is a reckless individual — acknowledges this for herself. By the end of the book, I don’t necessarily feel that Lila has learned anything, only that she is a little more lost and a little more frustrated. I think she has a while to go still as far as her development arc.

And all of this takes place during Essen Tasch, or the “Element Games”. These Games occur once every three years between three kingdoms with a history of tension. As usual, we see our two favorite characters breaking a lot of rules, and being excused if not encouraged by those closest to them. Rhys, in particular, shines in this book. He’s definitely grown from the character we saw in A Darker Shade of Magic, and even if you don’t love him, he is interesting. We also made a new character, a ship captain that has a history with the royal family. It’s a whole thing, and it’s interesting and really throws some complications into character relationships. I think will be seeing more of him in the next book.

Altogether, it was an enjoyable read. It wasn’t as stunning as some of Schwab‘s other work, but I appreciated that for a middle book in a trilogy, it at least had a standalone plot line. Honestly, I think my greatest gripe with this story has nothing to do with the book or the writing itself, but with the audiobook in narrators both narrators of this edition are well known well loved narrators, and I can’t stand either of them. Their reading is a little too slow and they’re lilts a little bit too repetitive that I often get irritated with the voice and that affects my enjoyment of the book. This is entirely a personal problem, and it is something I have come across repeatedly (particularly with Kate Reading). I want to be honest that this probably shaded my view of the book.

I am absolutely going to read the next book, and I’m still excited for the Threads of Power series Schwab is working on right now. The Shades of Magic trilogy continues to be compelling, dark, vibrant, and peppered with complicated characters. As a whole it is extremely enjoyable, and exemplary of Schwab‘s overall work. Really, I have yet to go wrong with this author. I do recommend the book, but not on its own. You have to read it as part of the trilogy. ( )
  Morteana | Jul 13, 2022 |
Just as awesome as book 1 but ends with the worst kind of cliffhanger. I'm glad that I don't have to wait as long as others for the 3rd one! ( )
  brittaniethekid | Jul 7, 2022 |
A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, the second book in @veschwab’s Shades of Magic series, picks up four months after the events of ADSOM. Delilah Bard has disappeared, Rhy is becoming accustomed to his new attachment to Kell, and Kell is trying hard to carry on a normal life after being barred from traveling between Londons. With the approach of the Element Games, where the best magicians from the neighboring lands come to compete, Rhy convinces Kell to secretly enter the games under an alias, just to break his monotony. When Delilah makes a surprise return, Kell must start to deal with his feelings for her, while still trying to come to terms with the repercussions of his actions that led to the closing off of the other Londons.

And didn’t Holland die…?

While this volume does suffer slightly from the “middle book of a trilogy syndrome” - existing for the sole purpose of making sure all the characters are where they need to be for the final book - it’s still a damn fine story. Schwab continues to develop her characters, sometimes in unexpected ways, and the result is superb.

#books #bookstagram #book #booklover #reading #bookworm #bookstagrammer #bookish #read #booknerd #bookaddict #bibliophile #booksofinstagram #instabook #readingtime #bookaholic #bookshelf #booksbooksbooks #readersofinstagram #reader #booklove #instabooks #veschwab #fantasy #shadesofmagic #frommybookshelfblog #frommybookshelf #📚 #happyreading #bookreview ( )
  tapestry100 | Jul 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 133 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Schwab, V.E.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kramer, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reading, KateNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Staehle, WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weinberg, MiriamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Magic and magician must between them balance. Magic itself is chaos. The magician must be calm. A fractured self is a poor vessel for power, spilling power without focus or measure from every crack.

—Tieren Serense, head priest of the London Sanctuary
Dedication
For the ones who fight their way forward
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Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"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 extravagent 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-and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall"--

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A magic duel
May the best magician win
Lila and Kell compete
(passion4reading)

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