A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


Phew! Got this one in right under the wire. Reading through The Chronicles of Narnia took longer than I expected. A Gathering of Shadows was our next book club pick, and the second in the Shades of Magic series. Before starting it, my coworkers (who read it before me) told me that they liked the second book better than the first. I found A Darker Shade of Magic to be highly engaging, so that was a tough one to beat.

The Story

A Gathering of Shadows takes place immediately after the conclusion of A Darker Shade of Magic. Literally, Lila is on the docks searching for a boat and her next adventure, and Shadows opens with her selecting the ship she wants. The first portion of the book follows Lila on her water adventures as she goes out to the expanses of Red London. She joins a crew under the “protection” of the crown, going the “right” way about pirating.

We also see Kell and Rhy as they’re dealing with the aftermath of the binding spell keeping Rhy alive. Red London (and Rhy himself) are planning the Essen Tasch, or The Element Games. Think the Triwizard Tournament from Harry Potter, but with 36 magicians instead of three, a ball every night, and it all takes place over the course of only five days.

The Most Unnecessary Storyline

I only just started the third book (A Conjuring of Light, review to come in March!), but Shadows brought back White London for what appeared to be very little purpose. Or, there was an actual purpose, and they just took forever to get to it…one story snippet every other book section. They brought characters back that just should have been left alone.

The Problem with Love Stories

I actually approve of the relationship between Lila and Kell. It’s fierce and passionate. There’s a lot of love there, though they’re both too stubborn to admit it. One chance encounter has put these two together in a way that neither of them expected. I’m so grateful that V.E. Schwab actually let it happen. Between television shows and books, no one just lets love happen, and I’m over it.

Final Thoughts

Man, reading back over this, I didn’t give too many details. There are a lot of story points that lead toward surprise details or allude to A Conjuring of Light. All in all, I did not like A Gathering of Shadows as much as the first novel in the series. I felt that it was unnecessarily slow in parts, and ridiculously detailed in others. The book ended in a massive cliffhanger, which is quite uncommon for most novels like this, or any novels really. It’s a more common practice of television shows. I’d give it 3/5 stars.

If you’re not one for reading, get the series on Audiobooks.com or Audible.

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