- Series: Shades of Magic (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 512 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; F First Edition edition (February 23, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765376474
- ISBN-13: 978-0765376473
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 39.2 x 214.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel (Shades of Magic) Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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RT Book Reviews Top Pick! Review
"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...This is a book to treasure."―Deborah Harkeness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy
"Rich details illuminate every dimension of an extravagant city flooded with magic, and intriguing personalities evolve into complex characters...between [the characters those] the vivid setting, and the climactic cliffhanger, Schwab already has us anticipating the rest of the series." ―Entertainment Weekly, Grade A, on A Gathering of Shadows
"Compulsively readable…her characters make the book. Just as Kell has layers, Lila is a satisfyingly rich invention…the stakes feel higher because Schwab takes the time to make a world worth getting lost in. Darker Shade Of Magicresolves its plot thoroughly, but still feels like it could be the seed of a lengthy series. With so many worlds on the map, there's plenty left to discover." ―NPR on A Darker Shade of Magic
"Schwab is a fantastic writer, and this book moves along quickly: it’s an easy world to immerse oneself in, and the four Londons that we get to visit are a treat to behold: they’re vibrant, interesting and detailed. The worldbuilding here is spectacular, and it’s worth picking up the book for this alone. (Well, and the fantastic cover.)The series is set to be adapted into a television series, and both books will be perfect for that." ―io9 on A Gathering of Shadows
"This is how fantasy should be done.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review, on A Gathering of Shadows
"Full of magic, intrigue, adventure, deception, a bit of piracy...this will engage both adult and young adult fantasy readers alike.” ―Booklist on A Gathering of Shadows
About the Author
V. E. SCHWAB's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels, including the acclaimed The Near Witch, along with writing Middle Grade for Scholastic. The Independent calls Schwab "the natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones" and someone who has "an enviable, almost Gaiman-esque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones."
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Top Customer Reviews
The underlying potential threat from White London is interesting and should have been more of the focus of this book rather than the tired and overplayed "let's have an Olympics of magic" contest that dominates so much of the story. Overall, the idea of the magical contest (Like Goblet of Fire) seems to read too much like an author's fantasy rather than a developed plot. It's weak, overused, and a bit of a crutch- especially in any fantasy-related genre.
The characters don't seem to have developed much, if at all, and are becoming a little one dimensional, and stereotypical. That makes them predictable, which is the real enemy of fiction. I'm hoping book three regains my interest.
I think one of the areas that Schwab shines in is showing character complexities. Her characters are not just good or bad, dark or light, protagonist or antagonist. For example, Rhy has a good heart and truly wants to make Kell happy, but he can also be selfish and thoughtless. Alucard is introduced as a charmingly alluring character, then we learn he has a dark past with Kell and Rhy. Basically, good guys can have flaws and be human.
Unfortunately, Schwab takes it to the extreme by transforming Lila from lovable rogue to complete sociopath. She is totally selfish, has no regard for other people, and has no moral compass. Early in the book, she commits several murders (or near murders) for virtually no reason... what the what? I had a big problem with this and have pretty much stopped caring about her character. Hopefully we can save it in the third book, but I will keep my expectations low.
First, what was great: The core concept and the way magic is utilized. I was hoping to get a more seasoned journey in this sequel than the first, but it just didn't happen. The original core concept is what gives this book two stars.
What was not so great: The characters are so manic and underdeveloped, it's almost depressing. You turn every page HOPING you'll get something more from Kell than every other paragraph emphasizing his new connection with Rhy. At some points, it almost felt like these brothers had a better bond than Kell and Lila, which is sorely underdeveloped as well. Kell and Lila shared a strange series of moments in the first book, but in this book they now somehow share this strange longing for eachother for the first half of the book, as if they were long lost lovers. The first book did nothing to develop their bond and this book relies on those small moments to build this underdeveloped relationship into something that feels like it comes from nowhere. Rhy is the only character I feel interested in getting to know even though he, Lila, and Kell are all EXTREMELY one-dimensional characters. Rhy is superficial and hedonistic to the nines. Kell is moody and goes from acting twice his age to half of it, constantly making strange decisions that goes against some personality blocks the author establishes in book 1. Lila is just terrible. Truly she is the worst part of this book. She is a little brat, immature, and acts very bizarrely. Her motivations are COMPLETELY selfish which makes her totally unrelatable. She kills for NO reason, she makes ridiculous decisions, and she is totally a miss for such a main character. I found myself skipping right over many of her bratty internal monologues because she acts only for herself.
I said that the core concept of magic and the way it operates in this world is original. The dimension/world traveling is original. But Schawb relies on common and exhausted tropes to get from A to B in the plot. The stone in Book 1 and the way it has a mind of it's own and influences it's user? Sounds like the One Ring. The Tournament, Houses, and Sigils that spring out of nowhere in Book 2? Ripped straight from Game of Thrones and maybe Goblet of Fire. How many YA fantasy novels revolve around a main female character and her preferences for knives? The wise old magician that helps Kell and Rhy sounds familiar too, but strangely he is neither wise nor an authority figure. He acts almost as an enabler for Kell, Rhy and Lila's poorly-thought decisions!
I will probably read the third installment, if only to justify spending my money on the first two books. That said, I am very frustrated that this author squandered her world and core concepts with extremely poor characterization, redundant inner monologues, misuse of common tropes to drive the story, and total disinterest in expanding this world that has such potential.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The same amazing characters are back and a few new ones have been added.Read more