A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books on February 23, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Adult
“Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don’t want to die – dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn’t actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.”
Although A Darker Shade of Magic ended nice and neat, A Gathering of Shadows definitely did not. It ended abruptly in the most perfect kind of cliffhanger there is: the ones that make you think you have more pages left.
This book wasn’t as action packed as its predecessor, but every bit of information and scene was important. Most, if not all, of the action is in the second half of the book but even with mostly nothing to get your heart racing happening in the majority of it, it didn’t lull.
I was just as impressed as I was in the first one with V.E. Schwab’s writing. Each characters narration (despite it being in third person) had its own unique tone and style that shifted easily throughout the book. The last time I read a book that had such easy and natural transitions was in the Lunar Chronicles. Both Schwab and Marissa Meyer have unique talents when it comes to writing and they are well on their way to being a couple of my favorites.
Many things changed in this book since the aftermath of what happened in ADSOM. The King and Queen no longer trust Kell, Kell himself is walking on glass to protect everyone, Rhy is angrier than he used to be, and if it’s even possible Lila is even more daring. Kell is constantly torn between his love for the people he loves the most and following his own heart to leave and never come back. His internal battle leads to some very interesting developments in the book.
Lila continues to be a character that is delightfully unpredictable. Nothing is too crazy or dangerous for her to say no. As I was reading part of me was rooting her on, because let’s be honest you want to see how her half-made plans turn out, and the other half was telling her to not be so reckless. I also really loved watching her discover her magical abilities (and push them a little too far sometimes). I have multiple theories about what I think she is and none of them were answered in this book. It was a little frustrating but making me want A Conjuring of Light all that much more. Not only does she put her crazy, newfound magical abilities to the test, she follows what she always wanted to do and joined a “pirate” crew aboard the Night Spire under no other than the deliciously mysterious Alucard Emery.
Schwab kept her cards hidden about Alucard Emery for a long time. The entire time I was wondering, is he good? can I trust him? why do Rhy and Kell tense up every time they hear his name? Despite many, many betrayals in books by characters I thought I could trust but couldn’t, I felt comfortable with Alucard almost instantaneously. He was easy going, fun to read about, and I wanted to know what he was hiding.
Another character we get to explore more is Rhy. In the first book he’s happy, go-lucky, party boy prince who likes to get Kell and himself in trouble by partying a little too hard sometimes. And even though we don’t get to see him much in ADSOM, the change in his character after what Kell did to bring him back is obvious. He’s a little more short tempered and doesn’t enjoy what he used to as much as he once did. I still fell for him some more and really enjoyed the plot twists concerning him and someone from his past.
Throughout most of the book, Kell and Lila aren’t together and therefore there is hardly any romance. However, Schwab was able to show that they missed each other without it feeling shoved in your face. Instead I could feel how they missed each other and I was just as ready for a reunion as they were.
A Gathering of Shadows pulls us deeper into the world, and how a certain London is coming back to life, just to make us comfortable enough to be longing after the third one as I wait impatiently for February 2017 to come fast. The end is not kind to my patience and so any sort of clues I can get from Schwab, I’ll get my grubby hands on them.
Featured Photo retrieved from Goodreads.