Alright, alright, so I was a little letdown by my first introduction to Schwab’s writing when I read ADSOM. I found it a little boring for the first 3/4’s of the book and by the time I was finally invested in the story, the climatic ending happened and it was over. So you can imagine that I was a little nervous about reading the next installment in the series, A Gathering of Shadows, but I was soooo wrong.
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as 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.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
I was immediately hooked from page 1 in this book. There was never any dull moments where I was just waiting for something interesting to happen again, it was high paced from start to finish. It’s like Schwab knew how I felt about A Darker Shade of Magic and said, “Neh-neh-na-boo-boo!”, as she wrote this one. I was blown away by how much more in love with this story than I was with the first one. The writing was great, the pacing was fantastic, and the storyline was engrossing.
I wasn’t really a fan of Lila in ADSOM as I felt she was a try-hard character. She spent the whole book trying to be the most badass, daring, rebellious girl that was ever written and it just fell flat for me. I didn’t believe her to be all that special, just a bit annoying. Luckily, Lila has grown some since we saw her last and has finally turned into a more interesting character, and not just the one-dimensional MC that she once was. And Kell.. Well I’ve always found him pretty fascinating and now that he’s got a little bit of that darkness in him makes him even more so. He’s been changed by the events enough to affect him in multiple ways and it was fun to see that. I also enjoyed Rhy and getting to see the darkness inside of him as well. It was a really nice juxtaposition to how he came across in ADSOM. He is starting to show maturity and inner turmoil, both which always make for interesting character development.
BUT THAT CLIFFHANGER. Come on, Schwab – I’m dying over here! Do you not care how many of your readers are dead now, all because you left us banging our heads against the wall in frustration?! Evil. Pure evil. For those of you who haven’t, just read this book. Read it and then come join me in the agonizing pain of waiting to see how it all ends. Remember, misery loves company.
Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars
What are your thoughts on A Gathering of Shadows or the Shades of Magic series in general? Love it, hate it, never read it? Let’s discuss!