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A Gathering of Shadows: A Novel (Shades of Magic) Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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"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
A Gathering of Shadows is incredibly addictive and will draw you in like a “moth to a flame”! As a sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, you will find a continuation of story lines surrounding the dark, mysterious Kell, the exuberant Rhy, and the stubborn, reckless Lila. You will also find more magic, danger, passion, and unforgettable twists.
The Plot: A Gathering of Shadows takes us 4 months in to the future, beyond the aftermath of The Danes and the Black Stone. Lila embarks on the adventure of a life time. Kell and Rhy are linked, now more than ever, after Kell’s forbidden spell to save Rhy’s life. Menacing things are happening beyond Red London, and all of Red London are arriving to witness the Element Games. Will the balance of the Londons become unhinged?
“People spoke of feeling magic, of smelling it, but never of seeing it.” (Schwab, 135).
A Gathering of Shadows immerses us further in to the magical realm of Red London. We are shown the emotional aftermath of The Danes and their evil plans from White London, and learn of something dark and threatening rising in the wake of that aftermath. We are also taken on an adventure as spectators of the triennial Element Games, where the competitors are not all what they seem.
I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, but I devoured A Gathering of Shadows! I was hooked from the beginning, and I loved what became of Lila and her adventure! I felt like A Gathering of Shadows delved deeper in to everything about the world and its characters. I finished this one in less than 10 hours and cannot wait to read A Conjuring of Light.
A Gathering of Shadows held more magic for me. I also felt more emotion and excitement. One aspect of the story was definitely predictable, but that is not always a bad thing. I felt like we learned a little more about Kell and Rhy, and I loved reading about Lila. I feel like we had more world building with Red London, and we had a better sense of how magic is weaved throughout the world. I was drawn in by the excitement of events and the interactions between the characters and was ecstatic to read about the Element Games! I enjoyed the character transformations from book 1 and was delighted to be introduced to a new character!
“…because magic isn’t just one thing. It’s everything, old and new and always changing.” (Schwab, 219).
Lila’s character really came to life in this one! She held on to her everything that I loved about her from book 1, but really emanated those qualities in book 2. Lila felt stronger, feistier, braver, and definitely more determined. She held on to her independence but seemed to open up a little more to those around her. And she definitely did not lose her knack for thievery or disorder!
“Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble.” (Schwab, 11).
Kell still held on to his mystery and intrigue, but he also showed more emotion in this one. He exhibited guilt over the happenings with the black stone and the death of his brother, and also showed regret for saving his brother. He becomes conflicted over his duty to the crown and keeping his darkness in check, but begins to desire the darkness and the thrill of magic and the fight.
“The truth was, Kell’s blood pulsed with a restless beat, while the thing that coursed within it longed for activity.” (Schwab, 58).
Rhy’s character was so mischievous, and such a major flirt! His personality was so contradictory and he was very humorous. He exuded arrogance, stubbornness, and a lack of conscious most times, and yet, he also exhibited a love for his kingdom, family, duty, and Kell. Sometimes he showed little remorse for the mayhem he caused, but he deep down he felt guilt and regret for the trouble he caused Kell.
“There was a glint of mischief in Rhy’s eyes as he bowed with a flourish.” (Schwab, 58).
Finally, we have Alucard Emery, our new character. Alucard was dashing, intriguing, and peculiar. He holds the facade of a pirate and the personality of a noble. He has quite an interesting past and holds many cards up his sleeves, including great magical ability.
“I supposed I’ve got a knack for it…Seeing magic.” (Schwab, 135).
If you have read A Darker Shade of Magic and are talking yourself out of reading A Gathering of Shadows, don’t. You don’t want to miss this one! The series is incredible so far and I am looking forward to book 3. I rate this one 5 stars!
What I liked
The characters. Right from the beginning, Lila had me chuckling along with her sassy attitude and I sympathised with Kell and Rhy as they tried to come to terms with the events of the previous book. Some new characters are introduced, notably Alucard Emery. This is a particularly interesting new addition as both our protagonists have very different attitudes towards him. This leaves the reader somewhat torn about how to feel about him. He’s rather a mysterious characters - It’s clear that he’s a lot more than just the pirate - excuse me, privateer - that he claims to be. I really hope we learn more about him in subsequent books.
The romance. The relationship between Kell and Lila was so cute and beautifully done, especially given how little time they actually spend interacting with each other in the book. There were so many adorable instances of Lila thinking things like “oh, that guy’s hair is almost the same shade as Kell’s” or Kell’s seeing something pretty and thinking of how much Lila would enjoy it. Of course, if confronted both would vehemently deny being in love. A clear case of showing, not telling. Brava Victoria.
Interesting pacing. As the book blurb indicates, a significant focus of this book is the Element Games, a magical equivalent of our Olympics. Yet, they do not provide much dramatic tension. They are generally non lethal, and the outcome of winning is little more than achieving bragging rights. In fact, until about 85% of the way through the book very little actually happens. Towards the end, it was very clear that this story would not be self contained in the way that the first one was, and that I would have to prepare for a cliffhanger. The wonderful thing, however, is that I really didn’t care. I was having too much fun following these two crazy kids and their mixed signals romance and the magical world in which it takes place. The last few chapters of the book really speed things up though and I can’t wait for the next book.
What I didn’t like
Lack of variety in the Element Games. Each level of the competition follows the same format. I would have welcomed some changes in structure for the subsequent bouts. Also I did have to suspend my disbelief at certain participants. Did Stasion really think he could compete at Olympic level with his limited experience of magic?
Despite those minor gripes, I adored A Gathering of Shadows and it gets a well-deserved five stars out of five from me.
I loved AGOS, either just as much as A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC or maybe more. It's impossible to decide. The Essen Tasch (Elemental Games) was mind-blowingly action-packed and fun, and it was great to see the world of Red London outside of the Maresh empire. The new characters are great, and Lila's and Kell's expanded growth made this all the more rewarding. Plus, you learn so much more about the magic system in this book.
And that ending. HOLY CRAP, THAT ENDING. I was already planning on reading A CONJURING OF LIGHT as soon as I finished AGOS, and I'm so glad I did. Because if I had to wait for a year instead, I probably would have clawed my hair out. *ouch*
The big tournament, while entertaining, felt like filler to me and did nothing to advance the main plot started in the first book. If you don't take that into account what are you left with? Two or three chapters of actual main story arc advancement.
The vibrant world view held my attention and I don't regret reading the book. If you enjoyed the first book I'd still pick this up but I am hoping the Trilogy finishes strong.