Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Title: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic, book #2
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

I was afraid, after having loved A Darker Shade of Magic so completely, that A Gathering of Shadows might suffer from being a middle book and that I would be disappointed by it. I had an advanced copy, and yet I kept putting it off, for fear of what lie ahead. I should not have doubted. I should know from previous experience that this author never does anything by half. But I just wanted such great things from this sequel.

And I got them. I purposely didn't re-read the synopsis before starting because I wanted to be utterly surprised and captivated in turns by what was in store for Kell and Lila. For example, I did not expect the reception that Kell received from his adoptive parents after he saved Rhy's life. I also did not expect Lila to become such a badass thief aboard a pirate ship during her time away from Red London, though that really shouldn't have been that much of a surprise. I also did not remember that this sequel featured a game of epic proportions and featuring feats of magic. But it all came together so perfectly to become just the sequel I was hoping for.

There is nothing slow or methodical about this novel. It expeditiously carries the reader from one intense situation to the next, starting with the first glimpse of Lila at sea and onward. It's with Lila aboard a pirate ship that we first meet Captain Alucard Emery, one of the competitors in the Element Games. And I must say, I fell for his character immediately. He's rakish and full of secrets...just the way I like my pirates.

The interactions that featured Rhy, Kell, Lila, and/or Alucard were among my favorites. The banter and insults being flung around were the stuff of my dreams! And knowing how all four now fit together means that I'll just die if all four don't make it to the end. Especially because of how they all fit together. *insert kissy face here*

But Black London is calling, and he wants OUT. The Element Games themselves are awesome to behold, to watch as friends and foes battle it out, but knowing that a much greater peril is upon these characters made it hard to focus on just the games. I worry for them! And it doesn't help matters, Schwab leaving off where she did in this book. That was one hell of a cliffhanger.

I re-read A Darker Shade of Magic in preparation for this sequel, but I don't think it's completely necessary. It's just usually my policy to read all the previous books in a series again before the newest releases, just so I don't miss anything. But I think with Schwab's books, it would take many re-reads before I could confidently say I hadn't missed anything. She's such a master at world-building, and in this series, she's created four separate worlds, so there's a lot to take in.

If you're on the fence about this series, check out this excerpt from A Darker Shade of Magic. If, like me, you were uncertain of this sequel, here's an excerpt from A Gathering of Shadows that should set you right. I can't recommend this series enough, but if I haven't convinced you, the fact that Gerard Butler has acquired the series to adapt for television -- with Victoria Schwab writing the pilot! -- should.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

Find Victoria:

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  1. I haven't had a chance to pick this one up yet because I'm on a book buying ban, but I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! I read A Darker Shade of Magic last year when it came out and it was well worth it!

    1. I promise you...this sequel is well worth it, too! Even better than I was hoping, and I had pretty high expectations. :)


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