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

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 512

Published: February 23rd, 2016

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis: Four months after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, Lila is living her dream as a pirate and Kell is trying to adjust to life after all the excitement. The Element Games are being planned, bringing in new and old faces.

Non-Spoiler Review:

I was really unsure about if I wanted to read this book after reading A Darker Shade of Magic. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t blown away by it like everyone else seemed to be. Determined to enjoy this series, I decided to read the next book. For the first 150 pages or so, I was really questioning my decision, but by the middle of the book, I was hooked.

My overall issue with the series so far is that I don’t really feel much of a connection to the characters. A lot of the scenes are action-based, rather than dialogue-based. Dialogue is really what I usually enjoy most in books because it shows a lot about who characters are, as well as relationships between characters, so it is hard for me to want to pay attention when there is little dialogue. At the beginning of the book, Lila is walking around alone a lot and Kell is just thinking a lot, so it was hard for me to get through that section, but once the plot really got going, I was interested. I thought the Element Games were so fun! It was such a good way to learn more about the magic, as well as the world surrounding Red London.

I really love the bond between Rhy and Kell, and how the events of A Darker Shade of Magic made their relationship more complicated, but no less strong. I really like the main trio (Kell, Lila, and Rhy), but Rhy is definitely my favorite! I think the potential for development in the next book is really exciting.

So far as a series, the pacing seems a little weird to me. A Darker Shade of Magic can be a self-contained story, so I feel like the transition from that book into this one is a little awkward. Also, Black London is a serious part of the marketing of this series, like I feel like I’ve seen so many things that are trying to get you to read it because of this mysterious dead world, but it is just barely addressed in this book. If that is a selling point of the series, it should be way more heavily featured overall in my opinion.

I also feel like for me, both books so far have been pretty slow in the beginning, but then I’ll hit a certain part and get hooked. As I do plan on reading A Conjuring of Light, I hope that won’t be the case for that book. I have heard that the series gets better as it progresses, so hopefully I’ll really enjoy the last book! I do think the concept is really original, so I am motivated to read it.

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