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

Book Review - A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows Cover

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)

Author: V.E. Schwab

Publication: February 23rd, 2016

Publisher: Tor Books

Format: Kindle Edition, 512 pages

Genre: Adult, Paranormal, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction

Read: March 2016

V.E. SchwabGoodreads



5 Stars

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.


Plot – 4.5 out of 5 stars
This was amazing! Four months have passed since the end of the first book so the beginning is a little slow as we get caught up with the lives of our characters and what they’ve been up to. That didn’t bother me at all but some people might not be fans about it. After you get over that hurdle, the amazing action and suspense come back full force. There is a huge sense of foreboding doom the entire time you’re reading and it’s scary! There’s a lot more magic, a lot more drama, more violence and we get to see more of the political side of the Red London and that world. There’s also a bit more romance in this book, and I want my OTPs to live happily ever after and I don’t know if they will!! (be right back, sobbing my heart out).

Writing Style – 5 out of 5 stars
There’s nothing that I can say about Victoria’s writing style that I haven’t already mentioned but I loveee it. It’s so easy to get lost into the story because her writing style is so addictive. She has a way of being very concise, telling you only what she wants you to know at one point in the story while still elaborating and being thorough with everything going on. It’s engaging and intricate and her world building kicks some major ass.

Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
MY BABIES! My sweet little babies were back and nothing could make me happier. But there has been so much change within them since the first book. Kell is surprisingly much more moody than he usually is. He now has even more responsibility on his shoulder but has twice as hard a time keeping himself confined like he used to. He’s had a taste of adventure, of rebellion, of power and the will to fight and he can’t seem to put himself back into his box. He’s vulnerable and incredibly stressed and stretched to his maximum but so beautifully loyal to those he cares for. Gosh, I love him. Lila is pretty much the exact same haha. She’s still reckless, and badass and looking for adventure. The change is that she found adventure and she’s getting comfortable and she hates it. She’s so headstrong and stupid to be quite honest, that she doesn’t feel comfortable when things change without her decision. I want her to open up more and I’m hopeful that she’ll reach that full potential in the last book. Then we have two other characters who are kind of like focused side characters, who I have come to love a lot and whom I can’t wait to see what kind of role they will end up playing in the end.


I honestly thought I could not love Victoria Schwab more than I do already, but I was wrong. This is a master piece to me.

The plot is slow but suspenseful. Four months after the events of the first book, we are back with our cast of characters. Things are back to normal but not exactly. Everyone is getting ready for the Essen Tasch or Elemental Games that are being held in Red London but there’s this feeling that things are going to get really awful very soon. The first quarter of this book is really slow. It’s due to the fact that there’s a break of four months between one book and the other and we’re sort of being caught up with the characters and how they are and what they’ve been doing during that time. But at the same time we get little tid bits of things that keep you on the edge of your seat. You know something really bad is going to happen. You don’t know when but it’s coming and that anticipating killed me but also kept me flipping pages like crazy. One of my favorite things about this book is that we get to look more closely at Red London and the world it’s a part of. With the Elemental games we are privy to the three kingdoms I guess you can say that are part of this particular world. It’s so interesting and complex to see how there are four different languages (three of them created by the author), the different cultural aspects, how each people interpret magic and competition. Completely outstanding, I honestly believe Victoria’s imagination knows no bounds. I will briefly mention that the ending took my heart of my chest and crushed it into pieces and let the air take it away. That is all.

I feel like the strong point of this book is the character development which is insane! Kell is like a tightly wound spring ready to burst forth and kick ass. He has spent so long containing himself and making sure to keep his strength in check so as to fly under the radar. The first book gave him the space to shake that off and now there’s no tucking it back in. He has this intense energy coursing through him which has now made him more emotional and vulnerable yet stronger and wiser all the same. He’s still his brooding self and that gets him into a bit of trouble but he’s learned to stick to his convictions no matter what and it’s amazing. Lila on the other hand has a more subtle development. She fights it a lot more because she’s comfortable in her skin and who she is. She doesn’t really like being taken off guard, especially by her own feelings so she intensifies her more harsh qualities to make up for her softness. She’s almost down right suicidal in this book and while I love her spunk and her fire, there were times when I was damn sure she was getting in too deep and was going to get herself killed real fast. She’s my favorite character of this series I think because of her complexity but girl, let me breathe!

Then we have two more characters that have a little more of a spotlight in this book. Rhy was introduced in the first book as a jovial, happy, funny guy but we didn’t get to explore more of his personality. In this book, we do but he’s not  the same as he once was. He’s a lot darker now, more angsty and somber. He reflects a lot of how Kell was in the beginning and while it makes total sense considering everything he went through, I would’ve liked to have known the before a bit more before getting this huge contrast in the after. We also get introduced to Alucard Emery who is the captain of the ship that Lila ends up spending most of the four months on. I still don’t know what to really make of him. He’s a huge mystery to me. Not only are we not told his back story completely but he kind of talks in riddles and metaphors and stories. He definitely has a deep past and seems to have a genuine personality but has too much fire and tenacity to be completely good.

Overall, this book has my heart completely. The story starts a little slow but builds into a frenzy that left me breathless and heartbroken. The characters are amazing and complex and had great development throughout. I just need the third book in my hands like now. Now.

So that’s it for this review! If you have read this book, pleaseeee let’s talk in the comments. It’s been a few weeks but I am still not over that ending. I need people to talk to, I beg of you. Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!

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13 thoughts on “Book Review – A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

  1. That was a great review and I can definitely feel all the Schwab love dripping off you 😀
    It was a bit too slow and descriptive in some parts for me, but the character development was great! I can only agree on most everything you said and I am so anxious to read the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

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