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

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Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 509
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Release Date: February 23, 2016

This review will contain spoiler for the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic.

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5 Stars

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Man, I love this book. A part of me wonders if I should but… Man, I love this book.

You see, this is another bridge book and is basically setting pieces into place for the third and final book, A Conjuring of Light. And while most bridge books aren’t great, this one definitely was. In fact, I could travel along this bridge all day without even wondering about what’s across. Until I reach the end of course, then I’ll have to get to the other side because, holy shit, that ending was just plain cruel. How could you leave us hanging like that, Schwab?!

But before the hanging part, we’re once again a part of the fascinating, and wonderfully written, world of the many Londons. At the end of book 1, Kell managed to get rid of the evil twins of White London, Holland and the evil stone. Lila left Grey London for good and is off travelling the seas while Kell is in Red London with Rhy’s life bound to his and a bad reputation.

That reputation, and the fact that he’s wracked with guilt over the events of the previous book, give Kell a melancholy arc. Not to worry though, Rhy is always there to cheer him up and get him in trouble. Seriously, Rhy and Kell are, hands down, the best part of the novel. Individually, I adore them both, but together, they’re perfection. They have such a strong relationship and the fact that it’s constantly being tested just makes things better. Kell and Rhy made this book for me.

As for the other protagonist, Lila… we’ve always had a strained relationship. I’m not a huge fan of hers thanks to the lack of conscience and consideration.

She’s always been reckless, and while that’s not something that bothers me (my favourite character is Percy Jackson, for heaven’s sake), I dislike recklessness that has no point or that’s for all the wrong reasons. Delila is so afraid of losing something good that she never lets herself have it in the first place. She runs from anything that matters by putting herself in danger and by being stupid. I hate stupid.

But when she’s not being a cowardly idiot, when she actually has a purpose, she’s a completely badass. She’s such a bold character, and I can’t wait for her to stop running so that she can finally become the strong and brilliant person she’s more capable of becoming.

As for the pace and the story, at first it felt like they were both slow going because there wasn’t much action. But this book isn’t about action, it’s about the characters and the right plot pieces, preparing them for the third book, which is going to be so epic. Also, I forgot to mention, there is a magic tournament in this book! And it’s so cool!

And between the old characters, the new characters, the tournament and the sense of upcoming doom, this book was impossible to put down. Serious, I was up until 5 am reading it and then I couldn’t sleep for an hour because that ending … Oh my God!

Honestly, even though there only about a month left until the third book comes out, the wait is going to be torture. I am very much looking forward to reading how the series will conclude. I really hope it’s awesome.

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