BOOK REVIEW: A Gathering Of Shadows – by V.E. Schwab


Title: A Gathering Of Shadows
(Shades Of Magic #2)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: February 23rd 2016
Finished reading: April 27th 2016
Pages: 512
Rating 4,5qqq

“The world is neither fair nor right, but it has a way of balancing itself. Magic teaches us that much.”


You know a book is good when you’ve been trying to write a review for the past two weeks and still can’t get anything constructive on paper that doesn’t sound like you’re just fangirling over the place. So don’t say I didn’t warn you… Because this is exactly what has been happening with the first two books in the Shades Of Magic series. Both A Darker Shade Of Magic and A Gathering Of Shadows are without doubt brilliant books and I still can’t believe it took me this long to discover V.E. Schwab‘s writing. This woman literally turns into gold anything she touches and I can’t wait to read more of her work… See, I told you this review was going to be a complete mess! Let’s see if I can finally say anything coherent about A Gathering Of Shadows…First of all, the prose and worldbuilding are just as excellent as the first book and it makes me wonder if she is able to write anything bad. If I have to pick a favorite, I think I liked the plot of the first book slightly better, but the tournament is still really entertaining to read about. And those plot twists! I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but there will be quite a few surprises waiting for you as you read this story. The ending is in one word painful; while the first book had a clearly marked ending of their adventure, A Gathering Of Shadows ends with an infamous cliffhanger. And with the expected publish date for the third book A Conjuring Of Light recently set in February 2017, it sure will be a long wait to find out what happens to my new favorite characters. The only thing I wasn’t so sure about and made me cut off half a star of the final rating was the appearance of a few romance scenes. I was kind of already expecting (read: dreading) it, but this series is no longer completely romance-free. I knew it was too good to be true… Still, this series is a must read for any fantasy fan.


WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

It has been four months since Kell met Delilah Bard, had their adventures, saved the day and last saw each other. Kell had to give up his smuggling habit and his travels are limited to Grey London since White London is still too dangerous to visit. He feels like he is trapped inside a cage… Lila on the other had has been following her dream of freedom and owning her own ship one day and disappeared from the docks those four months ago. What Kell doesn’t know she has been on board of a certain pirate ship all along, and soon they will most likely meet again… Because Red London is preparing to host the Element Games; an international competition of magic both to entertain the masses and strenghten the ties between the neighboring countries. It seems like the competition will have two ‘unknown’ participants fighting as well, but will they be able to keep their true identity a secret? And what about the fates Black and White London?


Those who follow my blog will already know how much I loved A Darker Shade Of Magic, and this sequel is just as good. The only reason I haven’t given A Gathering Of Shadows the full five stars as well is because I was slightly disappointed by the fact that the story was no longer romance free (even though I kind of wanted them to be together) and I liked the plot of the first book slightly better. The character development in A Gathering Of Shadows is a bit more complex though and the prose is just as brilliant as the first book. In short, if you enjoyed A Darker Shade Of Magic, you will love this book as well. And if you haven’t read this series yet, I strongly suggest you do!

22 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: A Gathering Of Shadows – by V.E. Schwab

  1. I have to admit to being a fan of romance so I was very excited that it finally happened in this book. That being said all of the near misses drove me slightly nuts 🙂 The reason I preferred the first book to this one was actually that there wasn’t enough Lilah and Kell scenes. I love the banter between them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Enjoying romance definitely helps! 😉 But I agree, I would have liked to see more scenes with both of them in it as well; they spend so much time apart in the sequel! Hopefully that will change in the third book…

      Liked by 1 person

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    • My thoughts exactly! After finishing ADSOM I was still ok even though I wanted to start AGOS as soon as possible, but the cliffhanger ending in AGOS will make it REALLY hard to wait until February next year…


  3. Good to know I’m far from the only one dying of impatience while waiting for February 2017. 🙂 And I didn’t think the romance felt forced, at least, although I agree with you about the plot completely. The first book had a lot more going on while this felt more like character development/conflict (which isn’t a bad thing) than an actual facts plot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess there are quite a few out there waiting impatiently for ACOL, especially after the ending. 😉 And I agree that the romance didn’t feel forced and I kind of did want them to be together; I think the main problem I had with the romance was the disappointment that the series was no longer romance-free… And I’m looking forward to the plot in ACOL! I’m hoping this series is another example of a ‘weaker’ second book and a third book that will blow us away.


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      • Guess I should say signed copies – got both books. I read The Archived series and loved it – looking forward to the next book in that series.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lucky you! I wish I had signed copies… The disadvantage of living in Argentina I guess. I haven’t read The Archived series yet, but it’s high on my list. (Although I’m going to try Vicious first)


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