Source: Raincoast Books
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 extravagant 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—meaning that another London must fall.
Hello Book Buddies, my name is Ben, also known as Alyssa’s Personal Selfie-Stick. I have spent a lot of time helping to get the perfect camera angle, but it is all worth it. Well, firstly because she looks great doing it and secondly because she is able to get me copies of some pretty cool ARC’s.
I recently had the opportunity to read A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab. I was so happy to hear that she was writing a second book for the series because after reading A Darker Shade of Magic all I could think of was, I want more.
I am going to preface this review with the simple statement that I may be a bit biased because every book by V.E Schwab that I have had the chance to read I have thoroughly enjoyed; this book is no different. The book opens with an interesting but in my opinion predictable way that mimics a scene out of Pirates of the Caribbean. Despite the similarities, Schwab writes it masterfully and takes her own twist on the idea. As you can guess simply by reading the end of A Darker Shade of Magic at some point there is going to be a ship and a gaggle of swashbuckling pirates. This was definitely one aspect that I wish Schwab touched more on. Though we get to read about a few adventures she never really expands past a small scope of adventure even though the crew travels vast distances. We are introduced to a larger world building experience this time around but Schwab still leaves a lot to be explored, which, as a reader is endlessly frustrating but as a writer is a great tool to get the readers to keep wanting more. Some of you may be thinking, “but Ben, the world building is incredible, what more could you ask for then multi-dimensional world building?” I guess its just selfish of me but I am just used to the endless world building of High Fantasy. Though as I said earlier I could only imagine that Schwab has a vast world that she is still creating one keystroke at a time and I guess I will just have to stew patiently until, hopefully, another book comes out.
I only have a few negative things to say about this book, because the good far outweighs any of the bad, but the plot line was slightly predictable. I never really sat on the edge of my seat or felt shocked when a sudden twist occurred. That being said, just because you can guess what will happen doesn’t mean what does happen is any less well written. The ideas that Schwab presents to the reader were masterfully done and I enjoyed moving along with the pace of the story. One aspect that Schwab does an excellent job with is imagery. I’m a very visual reader and Schwab does an excellent job painting a very vivid picture and focusing on little details that make the experience so enjoyable.
And lastly, character development. We’re introduced to a handful of new and exciting characters though only a few are actually explained and grown in the novel. Mainly we focus on the expansion of the preexisting characters. There are certain things that are also quite predictable with this, or at least I think are. I have my own assumption about Lila Bard that are slowly playing out to be true, yet this doesn’t mean that it will come true because Schwab leaves the end of the book very open for this particular characters growth and development. I can honestly say that I am very excited to read about with will become of Ms. Bard. Kell is a character that has bugged me since day one, and that may because I’m trying to put him on par with some of my other magical favourites who are supposed to be all powerful. The way that I perceive Kell, or how he’s been presented to me, is that he is one of a kind and the mightiest magician in the world. With that in mind I expect more, and I thought I would receive it in this book. Sadly I didn’t feel like he lived up to my expectations. In this book it really builds on the idea that he is powerful beyond measure, yet when he goes to display his prowess, in my opinion he is less then exemplary. I keep wanting to compare his might to that of Hanson Alister, from the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima. Yet as I read, the comparison is slowly dwindling and Kell seems to be falling short. Kell is mostly likely all powerful, but at one point he would have just been one in a field of Antari, exceptional but not special. Also, most of the magic he is able to harness has been lost to him and he has had no proper training from another Antari on how to harness his true abilities. With all of these things playing against him I can understand why he is still one step behind and I really hope he figures this out as the series expands.
For those of you who have actually made it this far, I really appreciate it. Please pick up a copy A Gathering of Shadows you will not be disappointed. If V. E Schwab is reading this, thank you for creating such marvelous books. Vicious has quickly become one of my favourites, as well as this series. Thank you for giving me hours of imagination.
Overall, this book has its ups and downs but in all I would fully recommend it because you won’t be disappointed.