Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on February 19, 2016 | 5 Comments

Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. SchwabA Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #2
Published by Tor (2.23.2016)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 512 pages
Source: From Publisher

3.5 Stars

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. 

My thoughts

I really enjoyed jumping back into this world! Victoria Schwab is very talented at creating unique and vivid stories, and this one is no exception. It didn’t quite have the magic that A Darker Shade of Magic held for me, but I still enjoyed it!

What really dragged this one down was the pacing. The book is more than 500 pages long, and there’s a long span in the middle where almost nothing is happening. I found myself getting bored with it. I would put it down for a while because I didn’t have the desire to read it. I was losing interest a bit, which makes me sad. Thankfully things picked up when the Essen Tasch (Elemental Games) started. The Games were awesome! Very cinematic!

I didn’t have the interest in Kell that I had in the first book, sadly. I wasn’t invested in what was happening to him – in fact, I found that I didn’t really care. About Kell, or Rhy. There was a lot of wallowing on both their parts. My main interest in this book? Delilah Bard. I love her, she’s so awesome! The opening scene with the pirates was epic. She’s totally a badass. (Also, I strongly picture Camren Bicondova, the girl who plays Selina Kyle in Gotham, as Delilah! She’d be perfect!) View Spoiler »

While I didn’t love this one quite like I’d hoped to, I would definitely still recommend trying A Darker Shade of Magic, or any of Victoria’s work, because she writes unforgettable stories!

Favorite quote

“A reminder,” said Lila, tucking the chipped piece of statue into the coat slung over a cushion. […]
“Of what?” […]
“That I’m stronger than my odds.”
That I have crossed worlds, and saved cities.
That I have defeated kings and queens.
That I have survived impossible things.
That I am Delilah Bard…and I am unstoppable.*

*please note that I cut out some of the filler in this to shorten it

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5 
Premise: 4.5/5 
Writing style: 4/5 
Originality: 4.5/5 
Characters: 4/5 
World-building: 4/5 
Pace: 2.5/5 
Feels: 2.5/5 
Cover: 4/5 
Overall rating: 3.5/5

Previous Book

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Jessi (Geo)

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5 responses to “Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

  1. I wasn’t overly thrilled with the first book in this series. I liked the world, but I didn’t really care about Kell, which disappointed me because I’d heard so many good things. I am curious to find out how things work out.

  2. danielle hammelef

    I haven’t read this author’s work before. It’s a shame that as someone who really enjoyed the first book that this book dragged. I’d probably give up.

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