REVIEW: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #2)

a-gathering-of-shadowsTitle: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Pages: 508
Published by: Titan Books
Publication date: 23rd February 2018
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Amazon UKWaterstonesBook Depository


Kell is one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between parallel universes, linked by the magical city of London. It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into his possession and he met Delilah Bard. Four months since the Dane twins of White London fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body back into Black London.

Now Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila. And as Red London prepares for the Element Games–an international competition of magic–a certain pirate ship draws closer. But another London is coming back to life. The balance of magic is perilous, and for one city to flourish, another must fall…

My review:

This was a fantastic sequel to the first book and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I love all of the magic in this series and the parallel universes are awesome! I love all of the characters and have become so attached to them, especially Kell. Victoria does not disappoint and I am annoyed at myself for not reading this book sooner! There’s just so much to learn about these universes and I was eating it all up! I was left wanting more and more by the end of the book!

I think the second book is definitely more character driven than plot driven. That isn’t a bad thing, especially for this book as new characters were introduced and magic was very much at the centre of the story. However, the pacing was incredibly slow for the first three hundred pages and it felt like not a lot was happening but then after that it was like a rollercoaster! The Element Games were fantastic and I found it very captivating as it allowed characters to let loose the magic inside of them and it was a very exciting thing to read! I loved watching them fight and it was all very detailed. It was easy to picture the fights and really immerse yourself in the story! Victoria’s writing was incredible!

I completely fell head over heels in love with Kell in the first book and I am very happy to say he is still my favourite character. I love him so much and I was rooting for him all the way through! I just want to hug him and give him everything because he deserves it so much. He deserves to be happy and treated like a person rather than an object. I was disappointed that we didn’t have his point of view as much. I was craving more of him but it was more focused on other characters. I understand this isn’t just about Kell, but dammit, I wanted it to be! I haven’t loved a character this much in a long time and I want as much of him as possible! His magic is still awesome, by the way.

I mentioned in my review of the first book that I was unsure of my feelings towards Lila. I thought she was really annoying in the first book but she was also one of the most determined and fiercest female characters I’d seen in a while. I thought she had a lot of potential and she’d end up surprising us all. I’m happy to say I really loved her in the second book and she really thrived! She did end up surprising me and I was taken aback by how much I actually liked her this time! I love how crazy she is and how she isn’t afraid to go charging like a bull in a china shop, ready to let loose on her enemies! She is such an awesome, kickass female character!

One of the new characters we were introduced to was Alucard Emery who has his own ship called the Night Spire. He has his own crew but he is not actually a pirate, he is a privateer, in the service of the Arnesian crown. He monitors the seas and and takes care of any trouble he finds. When we were first introduced to him, I could already tell I’d like him but I had no idea just how much I would come to love his character! He’s so easy to love and I loved his relationship with Lila at the start. I had no idea just how significant his character would be later on in the story and I was so surprised!

The ending was absolutely terrifying, it destroyed me. Thankfully, I had the last book on hand so I didn’t have to wait to find out what happens. It was such a horrible cliffhanger though and I’d have been so mad if I didn’t have the last book. Victoria is an absolute savage when it comes to her characters, she isn’t afraid to make them suffer and that scares me! My heart was pounding, I was so scared for the characters because I love them so much. The ending definitely made up for the slow start to the book because it made me immediately reach for the last one. I was so desperate to find out what happened! I’m really invested in this story, these characters and of course, Red London! Such a fantastic trilogy and I’ll definitely be recommending it to others!

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