This work is just ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICO FANTASTICO
I LOVE IT SO MUCH that I’m willing to finish the review at 2:35am (hi dad)
Ok so if you haven’t read book one I suggest you do, or at least read my review/synopsis to get the idea of what is going on. This review is written on the basis that you have an understanding of what went on, and the synopsis and ending of the review is spoilers for book one :)
Name: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 23, 2016
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-and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall…
Book Cover Comments
So we get a little outfit/costume reference thrown in here, and you might just see Kell wearing whatever he’s wearing on the cover. Ooooooo. And those hands, oh those hands, they are definitely not literal, but they could totally mean so many things metaphorically.
The Actual Review
Wow I definitely underwrote in my review for the first book (link HERE) because this series is simply fantastic and amazing. Even from the first book onward with the amazing world building and the use of elemental magic within the writing, with the ideas of multiple Londons existing: Grey London, Red London, White London, Black London, and the closer to the core of magic, the darker the shade of magic gets.
This book had a great pacing, definitely better than the previous book and had done an extremely good job in keeping the readers hooked from beginning till the end as we revisit our two favorite characters from the previous books… except, after saving the world, there are more burdens to come.
Rhy, our mildly spoiled prince who, as you might have read from the synopsis, now with his life resurrected and bound to Kell’s, gets tangled up even more as his emotions grow more unstable due to his tied life force. Rhy has definitely grown up so much; I mean, he went through some traumatic stuff in book one. Exactly how will he move forward with his brotherhood with Kell? When he is a prince, when he was resurrected and tied down to Kell, becoming a burden, will Rhy have the freedom that he needs in order to keep going as a prince, heir and brother?
Lila Bard, originally from Grey London, has finally been given the freedom to start anew as a pirate on a ship that she has stowed upon. But the captain she meets is fairly charming and has more ties and secrets than you can ever imagine. Exploring this certain captain character is honestly so intriguing and as his and Lila’s friendship grows, as well as his mentorship personality towards Lila. You might see other characters talk about him way more often.
But back to Lila, the freedom of ending the previous White London and starting anew in Red London gives her new opportunities: a world full of magic. Full of curiosity and only befitting to her character, Lila begins to explore what she can do with the magic that she is willing to learn without really considering the boundaries of magic, and what that might mean to other people. Exactly what will she discover about what she wants, about magic, about freedom, and about those around her? Desiring and want becomes more apparent in her storyline as Schwab explores the concept of freedom among the different characters.
And oh, Kell, oh, Kell. This boy’s storyline simply makes me speechless. The burdens of his tied life force and the shadows of what he and Lila had ended in White London (that took place in book one) is starting to take a toll upon him. His character development is definitely the richest and he’s our precious protagonist of the story. Learning what love is, what it’s like to miss someone and think about they and night, as well as the chains and cage that he has been locked in, mentally and physically, all while the person who’s constantly on his mind is roaming the sea on her own. All factors begin to go against him as Kell’s freedom is held even more at stake, from non-existent to a near-point of hopeless. Will Kell be able to resist the temptations of the devil offered to him, to not let the shadows devour him?
Did I mention TeMPtaTiON oF tHe DeViL?
Because I can tell you. White London’s story is not over.
And neither is Black London.
As each of the characters struggles with finding their own freedom within this world of binding chains and cages, Kell and Lila once again cross paths in A Gathering of Shadows, only to find danger looming ahead… and the chance of losing everything once and for all.