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A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows

4.8 17
by V. E. Schwab

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

"Addictive and immersive, A Gathering of Shadows cements this series as a must-read." —Entertainment Weekly, grade A

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


From #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

"Addictive and immersive, A Gathering of Shadows cements this series as a must-read." —Entertainment Weekly, grade A

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...in V.E. Schwab's A Gathering of Shadows.

Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/21/2015
Schwab’s fantastic follow-up to 2015’s A Darker Shade of Magic returns to the linked alternate realities of London: Grey London, our own familiar magic-free city in its Regency era; Red London, where people and magic work in concert; White London, where people struggle for control of magic; and the memory of Black London, destroyed by terrible spells. Lila Bard, a cutpurse from Grey London, has found freedom on the high seas with a privateer who’s more than he seems. Kell, a powerful magician with more than a little wanderlust, has given up smuggling between the Londons now that he’s magically bound to his brother, the Red prince Rhy. Red London is about to host the Essen Tasch, or Element Games, pitting the most talented magicians against one another; this would be the perfect place for Lila to show off her burgeoning powers, if she can get in—and she’s eager to see Kell again, in spite of herself. Meanwhile, in White London, a new king rises, and he will do anything, and sacrifice anyone, to make his London great again. Lila, Kell, and Rhy are complex, fully realized creations who challenge conventional ideas of what a hero should be made of, and the supporting characters feel just as real. New touches such as a bustling magical market enliven already-rich worldbuilding. Tensions rise steadily, culminating with the exciting Element Games, and the finale will leave readers breathless. This is how fantasy should be done. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary. (Feb.)
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RT Book Reviews Top Pick! Review

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...This is a book to treasure."—Deborah Harkeness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy

"Rich details illuminate every dimension of an extravagant city flooded with magic, and intriguing personalities evolve into complex characters...between [the characters those] the vivid setting, and the climactic cliffhanger, Schwab already has us anticipating the rest of the series." —Entertainment Weekly, Grade A, on A Gathering of Shadows

"Compulsively readable…her characters make the book. Just as Kell has layers, Lila is a satisfyingly rich invention…the stakes feel higher because Schwab takes the time to make a world worth getting lost in. Darker Shade Of Magicresolves its plot thoroughly, but still feels like it could be the seed of a lengthy series. With so many worlds on the map, there's plenty left to discover." —NPR on A Darker Shade of Magic

"Schwab is a fantastic writer, and this book moves along quickly: it’s an easy world to immerse oneself in, and the four Londons that we get to visit are a treat to behold: they’re vibrant, interesting and detailed. The worldbuilding here is spectacular, and it’s worth picking up the book for this alone. (Well, and the fantastic cover.)The series is set to be adapted into a television series, and both books will be perfect for that." —io9 on A Gathering of Shadows

"This is how fantasy should be done.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review, on A Gathering of Shadows

"Full of magic, intrigue, adventure, deception, a bit of piracy...this will engage both adult and young adult fantasy readers alike.” —Booklist on A Gathering of Shadows

Library Journal
★ 01/01/2016
Former smuggler, dimension traveler, and adopted prince of Red London, Kell struggles with his guilt over the events that resulted in his foster brother's wounds, the Grey London thief Delilah Bard's disappearance, the death of White London traveler Holland, and the dark magic stone found and lost back to its original dimension—Black London. Yet as Red London prepares for its international magic competition, the lost London is emerging from the shadows that consumed it. To keep magic in balance, the return of Black London means that another must fall. VERDICT Schwab's picturesque and fascinating follow-up to A Darker Shade of Magic takes readers back to the worlds of alternate Londons, magic alive, dead, and resurrected, and characters who shine through all of their shadows. Fans of the first book won't be able to put this one down.—KC
Kirkus Reviews
An absorbing fantasy adventure set in a world where magic can be a gift—or a weapon. It's been four months since Lila Bard, thief from another world, talked her way onto a ship called the Night Spire and sailed away from Red London with an enigmatic captain named Alucard Emery, in search of adventure. She's been absorbed in learning as much as she can about the magic that's everywhere in this new world. Meanwhile, Kell is struggling to deal with the aftermath of the battle in which he and Lila saved the world, in particular, the magical bargain he made to save his adoptive brother Rhy's life, the bargain that links their lives and means they share each other's pain—literally. Along with the rest of Red London, Rhy and Kell are getting ready for the upcoming magical tournament called the Essen Tasch. But there are deceptions lurking beneath the glittering surface of this festive event, and there are old enemies waiting for their chance to strike. This sequel to Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic (2015) expands the world beyond Red London and deepens the appealingly unconventional people that populate it. These rich, lifelike characters draw the reader in and make this well-realized fantasy impossible to put down. Fans of A Darker Shade of Magic will love its sequel, and fantasy fans who haven't yet read the first book in this series should hurry to catch up.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Shades of Magic Series , #2
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

A Gathering of Shadows

By V. E. Schwab

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2016 Victoria Schwab
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7647-3


The Arnesian Sea.

Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble.

She'd always thought it was better than letting trouble find her, but floating in the ocean in a two-person skiff with no oars, no view of land, and no real resources save the ropes binding her wrists, she was beginning to reconsider.

The night was moonless overhead, the sea and sky mirroring the starry darkness to every side; only the ripple of water beneath the rocking boat marked the difference between up and down. That infinite reflection usually made Lila feel like she was perched at the center of the universe.

Tonight, adrift, it made her want to scream.

Instead, she squinted at the twinkle of lights in the distance, the reddish hue alone setting the craft's lanterns apart from the starlight. And she watched as the ship — her ship — moved slowly but decidedly away.

Panic crawled its way up her throat, but she held her ground.

I am Delilah Bard, she thought as the ropes cut into her skin. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands. And a ship full of men cannot do what I can. I don't need any of you.

I am one of a damned kind.

Feeling suitably empowered, she set her back to the ship, and gazed out at the sprawling night ahead.

It could be worse, she reasoned, just before she felt cold water licking her boots and looked down to see that there was a hole in the boat. Not a large hole by any stretch, but the size was little comfort; a small hole could sink a boat just as effectively, if not as fast.

Lila groaned and looked down at the coarse rope cinched tight around her hands, doubly grateful that the bastards had left her legs free, even if she was trapped in an abominable dress. A full-skirted, flimsy green contraption with too much gossamer and a waist so tight she could hardly breathe and why in god's name must women do this to themselves?

The water inched higher in the skiff, and Lila forced herself to focus. She drew what little breath her outfit would allow and took stock of her meager, quickly dampening inventory: a single cask of ale (a parting gift), three knives (all concealed), half a dozen flares (bequeathed by the men who'd set her adrift), the aforementioned dress (damn it to hell), and the contents of that dress's skirts and pockets (necessary, if she was to prevail).

Lila took up one of the flares — a device like a firework that, when struck against any surface, produced a stream of colored light. Not a burst, but a steady beam strong enough to cut the darkness like a knife. Each flare was supposed to last a quarter of an hour, and the different colors had their own code on the open water: yellow for a sinking ship, green for illness aboard, white for unnamed distress, and red for pirates.

She had one of each, and her fingers danced over their ends as she considered her options. She eyed the rising water and settled on the yellow flare, taking it up with both hands and striking it against the side of the little boat.

Light burst forth, sudden and blinding. It split the world in two, the violent gold-white of the flare and the dense black nothing around it. Lila spent half a minute cursing and blinking back tears at the brightness as she angled the flare up and away from her face. And then she began to count. Just as her eyes were finally adjusting, the flare faltered, flickered, and went out. She scanned the horizon for a ship but saw none, and the water in the boat continued its slow but steady rise up the calf of her boot. She took up a second flare — white for distress — and struck it on the wood, shielding her eyes. She counted the minutes as they ticked by, scouring the night beyond the boat for signs of life.

"Come on," she whispered. "Come on, come on, come on ..." The words were lost beneath the hiss of the flare as it died, plunging her back into darkness.

Lila gritted her teeth.

Judging by the level of the water in the little boat, she had only a quarter of an hour — one flare's worth of time — before she was well and truly in danger of sinking.

Then something snaked along the skiff's wooden side. Something with teeth.

If there is a god, she thought, a celestial body, a heavenly power, or anyone above — or below — who might just like to see me live another day, for pity's or entertainment's sake, now would be a good time to intercede.

And with that, she took up the red flare — the one for pirates — and struck it, bathing the night around her in an eerie crimson light. It reminded her for an instant of the Isle River back in London. Not her London — if the dreary place had ever been hers — or the terrifyingly pale London responsible for Athos and Astrid and Holland, but his London. Kell's London.

He flashed up in her vision like a flare, auburn hair and that constant furrow between his eyes: one blue, one black. Antari. Magic boy. Prince.

Lila stared straight into the flare's red light until it burned the image out. She had more pressing concerns right now. The water was rising. The flare was dying. Shadows were slithering against the boat.

Just as the red light of the pirate's flare began to peter out, she saw it.

It began as nothing — a tendril of mist on the surface of the sea — but soon the fog drew itself into the phantom of a ship. The polished black hull and shining black sails reflected the night to every side, the lanterns aboard small and colorless enough to pass for starlight. Only when it drew close enough for the flare's dying red light to dance across the reflective surfaces did the ship come into focus. And by then, it was nearly on top of her.

By the flare's sputtering glow, Lila could make out the ship's name, streaked in shimmering paint along the hull. Is Ranes Gast.

The Copper Thief.

Lila's eyes widened in amazement and relief. She smiled a small, private smile, and then buried the look beneath something more fitting — an expression somewhere between grateful and beseeching, with a dash of wary hope.

The flare guttered and went out, but the ship was beside her now, close enough for her to see the faces of the men leaning over the rail.

"Tosa!" she called in Arnesian, getting to her feet, careful not to rock the tiny, sinking craft.

Help. Vulnerability had never come naturally, but she did her best to imitate it as the men looked down at her, huddled there in her little waterlogged boat with her bound wrists and her soggy green dress. She felt ridiculous.

"Kers la?" asked one, more to the others than to her. What is this?

"A gift?" said another.

"You'd have to share," muttered a third.

A few of the other men said less pleasant things, and Lila tensed, glad that their accents were too full of mud and ocean spray for her to understand all the words, even if she gleaned their meaning.

"What are you doing down there?" asked one of them, his skin so dark his edges smudged into the night.

Her Arnesian was still far from solid, but four months at sea surrounded by people who spoke no English had certainly improved it.

"Sensan," answered Lila — sinking — which earned a laugh from the gathering crew. But they seemed in no hurry to haul her up. Lila held her hands aloft so they could see the rope. "I could use some help," she said slowly, the wording practiced.

"Can see that," said the man.

"Who throws away a pretty thing?" chimed in another.

"Maybe she's all used up."


"Hey, girl! You got all your bits and pieces?"

"Better let us see!"

"What's with all the shouting?" boomed a voice, and a moment later a rail-thin man with deep-set eyes and receding black hair came into sight at the side of the ship. The others shied away in deference as he took hold of the wooden rail and looked down at Lila. His eyes raked over her, the dress, the rope, the cask, the boat.

The captain, she wagered.

"You seem to be in trouble," he called down. He didn't raise his voice, but it carried nonetheless, his Arnesian accent clipped but clear.

"How perceptive," Lila called back before she could stop herself. The insolence was a gamble, but no matter where she was, the one thing she knew was how to read a mark. And sure enough, the thin man smiled.

"My ship's been taken," she continued, "and my new one won't last long, and as you can see —"

He cut her off. "Might be easier to talk if you come up here?"

Lila nodded with a wisp of relief. She was beginning to fear they'd sail on and leave her to drown. Which, judging by the crew's lewd tones and lewder looks, might actually be the better option, but down here she had nothing and up there she had a chance.

A rope was flung over the side; the weighted end landed in the rising water near her feet. She took hold and used it to guide her craft against the ship's side, where a ladder had been lowered; but before she could hoist herself up, two men came down and landed in the boat beside her, causing it to sink considerably faster. Neither of them seemed bothered. One proceeded to haul up the cask of ale, and the other, much to Lila's dismay, began to haul up her. He threw her over his shoulder, and it took every ounce of her control — which had never been plentiful — not to bury a knife in his back, especially when his hands began to wander up her skirt.

Lila dug her nails into her palms, and by the time the man finally set her down on the ship's desk beside the waiting cask ("Heavier than she looks," he muttered, "and only half as soft ...") she'd made eight small crescents in her skin.

"Bastard," growled Lila in English under her breath. He gave her a wink and murmured something about being soft where it mattered, and Lila silently vowed to kill him. Slowly.

And then she straightened and found herself standing in a circle of sailors.

No, not sailors, of course.


Grimy, sea stained and sun bleached, their skin darkened and their clothes faded, each and every one of them with a knife tattooed across his throat. The mark of the pirates of the Copper Thief. She counted seven surrounding her, five tending to the rigging and sails, and assumed another half dozen below deck. Eighteen. Round it up to twenty.

The rail-thin man broke the circle and stepped forward.

"Solase," he said, spreading his arms. "What my men have in balls, they lack in manners." He brought his hands to the shoulders of her green dress. There was blood under his nails. "You are shaking."

"I've had a bad night," said Lila, hoping, as she surveyed the rough crew, that it wasn't about to get worse.

The thin man smiled, his mouth surprisingly full of teeth. "Anesh," he said, "but you are in better hands now."

Lila knew enough about the crew of the Copper Thief to know that was a lie, but she feigned ignorance. "Whose hands would those be?" she asked, as the skeletal figure took her fingers and pressed his cracked lips to her knuckles, ignoring the rope still wound tightly around her wrists. "Baliz Kasnov," he said. "Illustrious captain of the Copper Thief."

Perfect. Kasnov was a legend on the Arnesian Sea. His crew was small but nimble, and they had a penchant for boarding ships and slitting throats in the darkest hours before dawn, slipping away with their cargo and leaving the dead behind to rot. He may have looked starved, but he was an alleged glutton for treasure, especially the consumable kind, and Lila knew that the Copper Thief was sailing for the northern coast of a city named Sol in hopes of ambushing the owners of a particularly large shipment of fine liquor. "Baliz Kasnov," she said, sounding out the name as if she'd never heard it.

"And you are?" he pressed.

"Delilah Bard," she said. "Formerly of the Golden Fish."

"Formerly?" prompted Kasnov as his men, obviously bored by the fact she was still clothed, began to tap into the cask. "Well, Miss Bard," he said, linking his arm through hers conspiratorially. "Why don't you tell me how you came to be in that little boat? The sea is no place for a fair young lady such as yourself."

"Vaskens," she said — pirates — as if she had no idea the word applied to present company. "They stole my ship. It was a gift, from my father, for my wedding. We were meant to sail toward Faro — we set out two nights ago — but they came out of nowhere, stormed the Golden Fish ..." She'd practiced this speech, not only the words but the pauses. "They ... they killed my husband. My captain. Most of my crew." Here Lila let herself lapse into English. "It happened so fast —" She caught herself, as if the slip were accidental.

But the captain's attention snagged, like a fish on a hook. "Where are you from?"

"London," said Lila, letting her accent show. A murmur went through the group. She pressed on, intent on finishing her story. "The Fish was small," she said, "but precious. Laden down with a month's supplies. Food, drink ... money. As I said, it was a gift. And now it's gone."

But it wasn't really, not yet. She looked back over the rail. The ship was a smudge of light on the far horizon. It had stopped its retreat and seemed to be waiting. The pirates followed her gaze with hungry eyes.

"How many men?" asked Kasnov.

"Enough," she said. "Seven? Eight?"

The pirates smiled greedily, and Lila knew what they were thinking. They had more than twice that number, and a ship that hid like a shadow in the dark. If they could catch the fleeing bounty ... she could feel Baliz Kasnov's deep-set eyes scrutinizing her. She stared back at him and wondered, absently, if he could do any magic. Most ships were warded with a handful of spells — things to make their lives safer and more convenient — but she had been surprised to find that most of the men she met at sea had little inclination for the elemental arts. Alucard said that magical proficiency was a valued skill, and that true affinity would usually land one gainful employment on land. Magicians at sea almost always focused on the elements of relevance — water and wind — but few hands could turn the tide, and in the end most still favored good old-fashioned steel. Which Lila could certainly appreciate, having several pieces currently hidden on her person.

"Why did they spare you?" asked Kasnov.

"Did they?" challenged Lila.

The captain licked his lips. He'd already decided what to do about the ship, she could tell; now he was deciding what to do about her. The Copper Thieves had no reputation for mercy.

"Baliz ..." said one of the pirates, a man with skin darker than the rest. He clasped the captain's shoulder and whispered in his ear. Lila could only make out a few of the muttered words. Londoners.Rich. And ransom.

A slow smile spread across the captain's lips. "Anesh," he said with a nod. And then, to the entire gathered crew, "Sails up! Course south by west! We have a golden fish to catch."

The men rumbled their approval.

"My lady," said Kasnov, leading Lila toward the steps. "You've had a hard night. Let me show you to my chamber, where you'll surely be more comfortable."

Behind her, she heard the sounds of the cask being opened and the ale being poured, and she smiled as the captain led her belowdecks.

* * *

Kasnov didn't linger, thank god.

He deposited her in his quarters, the rope still around her wrists, and vanished again, locking the door behind him. To her relief, she'd only seen three men belowdecks. That meant fifteen aboard the Copper Thief.

Lila perched on the edge of the captain's bed and counted to ten, twenty, then thirty, as the steps sounded above and the ship banked toward her own fleeing vessel. They hadn't even bothered to search her for weapons, which Lila thought a bit presumptuous as she dug a blade from her boot and, with a single practiced gesture, spun it in her grip and slashed the ropes. They fell to the floor as she rubbed her wrists, humming to herself. A shanty about the Sarows, a phantom said to haunt wayward ships at night.

How do you know when the Sarows is coming?

(Is coming is coming is coming aboard?)

Lila took the waist of her dress in two hands, and ripped; the skirt tore away, revealing close-fitting black pants — holsters pinning a knife above each knee — that tapered into her boots. She took the blade and slid it up the corset at her back, slicing the ribbons so she could breathe.

When the wind dies away but still sings in your ears,

(In your ears in your head in your blood in your bones.)

She tossed the green skirt onto the bed and slit it open from hem to tattered waist. Hidden among the gossamer were half a dozen thin sticks that passed for boning and looked like flares, but were neither. She slid her blade back into her boot and freed the tapers.

When the current goes still but the ship, it drifts along,

(Drifts on drifts away drifts alone.)


Excerpted from A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab. Copyright © 2016 Victoria Schwab. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

V. E. SCHWAB's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels, including the acclaimed The Near Witch, along with writing Middle Grade for Scholastic. The Independent calls Schwab "the natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones" and someone who has "an enviable, almost Gaiman-esque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones."

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A Gathering of Shadows (Signed Book) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author ties together the plot lines of the first book while advancing this one into a cliff hanger. Tightly written, has all the best of any book. A great read, can't wait for the next installment.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Such a great read love the authors writing style.
AvaJae More than 1 year ago
I KNEW it wasn't a good idea to read this so far away from the sequel release but I did it anyway. I have so many regrets. Nine of them, to be precise. One for each month I still have to wait before reading A CONJURING OF LIGHT. *melts into a puddle of want*
Seoling More than 1 year ago
Spoilers abound. Some from ADSOM and a few big ones from AGOS. Be forewarned! I couldn’t possibly wait more than a few hours after finishing A Darker Shade of Magic to begin A Gathering of Shadows. I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted Lila Bard to come back and to have an explosive reunion with Kell because things need to be said and done. And at the end of the day, I need my lust for the more to be satisfied. Unfortunately, I was never satisfied. And I don’t believe I will be until after I recover from A Conjuring of Light due out in 2017. I have happily put this series on a pedestal and will now measure books to the glory that is this series. There were so many unanswered questions at the end of book one and I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what Schwab could do to bring a big central plot to bring the characters back together, but she did not disappoint and brought the Essen Tasch: A badass tournament of all the epic magicians in all of the lands of Red London. It reminded me of pro-bending from Legend of Korra (great sequel to the ever greater Avatar: The Last Airbender). and when people are using the elements to be crowned awesomest, I am all for that sort of stuff. What I was not prepared for was for both Kell and Lila to enter the tournament under the guises of different competitors. HOW FREAKING IRONIC. And their real reunion was so electric and so fierce and made me want more. I was so happy to have these two back together because I had no idea what to expect. At the end of book one, it seemed like they parted on good terms, but throughout nearly half this book, they keep having these ideas that things are going to be bad when they meet again. WHY? It made me so so sad. But their reunion - GOD, their reunion was amazing. Despite all of Kell’s pain and obstacles, HUGE kudos to Schwab for making him a powerful and strong character without sacrificing the integrity of his character. I have never read about another male protagonist who has such good and unbreakable convictions without feeling like the author is changing him to follow through with those convictions. There is a scene at the end, a really powerful and painful scene with Kell in White London where he remains so resilient and strong-willed that it made my heart shake because he never gives in. Despite his desire to do so, he fights and he remains unshaken. There’s too much to say about this series and too little time to talk about it all. Oh, and THAT STEAMY MOMENT. WHEW. I know from Schwab’s twitter that there’s MORE STEAM TO COME and my easily-reddened face might not be able to handle it.
Chelsea016 More than 1 year ago
So many feelings!!! Why do we need that horrible, horrible cliffhanger? And with no clear date on when book three will make an appearance? WHY?! Alright, that mini freak out aside, I loved A Gathering of Shadows! It was filled with the humor and stubbornness that made up the last book and I loved the characters! So much happened on all kinds of fronts! Last time, I felt like the book was focused on really setting up the characters and their friendships/relationships, yet at the same time, it wasn't exactly saying "yes, there's a romantic possibility here, you really need to be shipping people" (although I was already shipping Kell/Lila, not gonna lie), yet this time, there was definite relationship set up, and I loved it! Kell and Lila are seriously good together and there's this palpable tension between the two of them that had me rooting for them. And then there's Rhy and Alucard who I also started shipping. There's clearly more to the enigmatic captain of the Night Spire than meets the eye and I want to know more about the history he shares with Rhy! AH! I loved that the book dove right into the action with Lila's POV and showed that she's doing her best to be the pirate she's always wanted. I really liked the friendship between she and Alucard. After spending some time with Lila aboard the Night Spire, we get Kell's POV and thrown into some different action. Since everything happened, Kell struggles with his guilt yet also feels restless now that he's given up smuggling. It was interesting to see him practicing in the Basin. And then there's Rhy who appears to be feeling equally guilty and is trying to do everything he can in order to drown his guilt (oftentimes to the detriment of Kell it seems). Somehow, the two of them start to come to a better understanding (agreement?) on how to deal with their new situation and it really seemed like things were starting to look up. Of course, things happened (spoiler things that I'd love to talk about with anyone who's interested BTW) and then the relationship got a little strained for an instant, but I think that it honestly came back even stronger. At least it was heading towards stronger, until things dealing with Black London showed up and ruined everything. A lot happened, having to do with Black London, White London and even ties to Red London, but so much of it is spoiler heavy so I don't want to ruin it for you! Go read this book now and see what I'm talking about!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the first one a lot better
thelonereader More than 1 year ago
What does one even say about a book like this? V.E. Schwab's books are never a disappointment, and this is no exception. What ever it is you expect for this installment, trust me when I say Schwab delivers - while leaving you begging for more, because if she didn't do that, then she wouldn't be Schwab. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but after my great experience with A Darker Shade Of Magic, I began to wonder if the only reason I enjoyed it so much was because of all the hype that was surrounding it. I hadn't been big on the Adult Fiction scene before then - I'm still not - and a part of me was left wondering whether I would have loved the novel so much if I hadn't been exposed to all the excitement and reviews beforehand. However, after reading A Gathering Of Shadows and experiencing, if possible, even more crazy love for the book, all my doubts have been put to rest, and I just want the third book goshdarnit. There's enough Kell, Lila, Rhys, and omg Alucard - he's new, and hot, and a pirate, and hot - in this to keep everyone happy, and just like in the first book, there is never a dull moment. Every single sentence that comes together to form the novel is beautiful in it's own right, and I would sticky note every page if I possessed that many. Readers get to see a much more personal side of the characters than even in the first book, and they have developed a lot from where we last left them, parting ways. There is so much tension between them all that it just about drove me crazy, but I don't regret a moment of losing my sanity. I did notice that there's a bit less action in this book, and by that I'm referring to a certain lack of direct, your life is on the line combat that we got so much of in A Darker Shade Of Magic. There's certainly a lot brewing in the background that are soon to threaten our lovely characters, and a certain return of one character that brings on a whole bunch of mixed feelings, but discussing strictly this book, it was certainly lighter. Super emotional, lots of hurt, laughter, and Lila being Lila-y, but besides the part of the novel that brings everyone together once more, all the real bad stuff is lurking in the shadows, probably to come out at readers in book three. Yay. This is only the second book this year that I've genuinely been eager/self-destructive about reading as soon as possible. I've been able to take it slow with most other books this year, but with this one, I started tearing into it as soon as possible. There are so many more ships than before, so many swoons, so many characters you want to stroke the cheeks of and make eyes at, and others you just want to put in a bag and throw far, far away. My next goal in life is definitely to acquire this for my shelf, and then sit starting at it while I wait for next year to come around. It's so far away. - Read more reviews at: the-lone-reader-blog.blogspot.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing read....cannot wait for the next book !
AmandaMilitia More than 1 year ago
Completely obsessed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really awesome book
DISNEY_THG_LOVER More than 1 year ago
I genuinely feel like 5 stars isn't enough for this novel. Brilliantly written, there is nothing like a V.E. Schwab novel honestly. Exceeds all expectations from book 1 and was easily my favorite read from the past couple of months. She has such a way of words that I couldn't explain to anyone in a simple review, so you just HAVE to pick this up and see for yourself. Do it- you most certainly will not regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Re-posted from my Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1418317188?book_show_action=false I honestly don't know how I will be able to wait an entire year for the conclusion of this series. Victoria Schwab is a master at what she does. If you have not picked up this series, you are missing out on much more than a story about magic and multiple Londons. I am constantly blown away by the sheer amount of heart that is so clearly woven into this story and, after reading that last page, I am desperate for more. I was skeptical about adding in another key player, as I am very possessive over my favorite characters, but Alucard stole my heart before I knew what was happening. Not to forget the fact that this book has my new favorite pair of brothers, ever. Kell and Rhy 5ever (not in an incest way, get your mind out of the gutter). And Lila Bard, who is golden in her own right, and just has such fantastic chemistry with literally everyone she encounters. I loved this book more than I ever thought I would, and I haven't even gotten to gush about the truly unreal level of world building Schwab has come up with. Read it, and feel my pain. It's the good kind, I promise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Gathering of Shadows was one of my most anticipated books of 2016, and much like A Darker Shade of Magic, it more than lived up to expectations. More importantly, it didn’t suffer from the dreaded Second Book Syndrome, never once feeling like a placeholder between books one and three. As always with Schwab, this book is very much character driven. While that may bother some people, I loved getting to know Kell, Lyla, and Rhy even better. They aren’t perfect, but it’s their flaws that make them so endearing. I also enjoyed seeing more of the complex magic system introduced in the first book. The first three quarters of the book are a tease, lulling the readers into a false sense of security before breaking our hearts with an epic cliffhanger. This may be a darker fantasy, but it never strays into needless violence. The only negative thing I can say about the book is that it was too short - it could have been twice as long and still would have left me desperate for more!
MirandaTryhorn More than 1 year ago
I was so nervous this book was going to have second book syndrome (when the second book isn't half as good as the first one). I am so, so happy it didn't. If anything, I enjoyed this book more than the first. (I mean, it only took me 10 hours to read it, I obviously loved it.) V.E. Schwab so effortlessly world builds and incorporates the fictional languages that it seems as though they have always been there in the back of your mind. I am so in love with this world, the multiple London's, and getting to know more about Red London was so fantastic. Even just the small details, they end up painting a big picture of hey, this is what a few months in RL is like. I love the world building so much, and I'm very happy with the way she does it so it doesn't feel overwhelming. Let me talk about these fantastic characters next. So much growth in this novel. I love that Lila is more of a prominent character in this novel and we learn a little bit more about her and her journeys since she got her ship. Not only that, but there was some subtle relationships in the making and the fact that they don't take up the whole story makes me rejoice. Everything V. E. does and writes it so effortlessly woven in it comes out perfect, or damn near it anyways. She brings back characters without it being like, what are they doing here. The character growth and backstory in the novel is more than I could ever have hoped for. The story itself was so perfect I cried when I finished. No joke, I cried. How am I supposed to wait until 2017 for the last novel? I may not last. Following ADSOM I was scared this wouldn't live up to the hype that ADSOM had created in my itty bitty heart, but it surpassed it. If you were hesitant to read the second book, thinking about second book syndrome, I can assure you this novel is no less than amazing. The series continues to become even better with every addition and I cannot wait until the third book.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
It's been four months since a smuggled stone from Black London nearly destroyed the three remaining cities that share its name. Four months since Kell tied his own life to his brother Rhy, the crown Prince of Red London, to save Rhy's life. Four months since Kell and his unlikely ally Delilah Bard had to fight their way through the Dane twins in White London to try and save both of their worlds. Four months since Kell returned the stone to Black London along with Holland's dying body. Life should be returning to normal. Rhy is recovered though the nightmare of that night four months ago still haunt him. Kell stuggles with his guilt and the aftermath of his actions but he is reformed now--a smuggler no more--and determined to make amends. Lila, meanwhile, is trying to find her way in a foreign land in a foreign world now that she has finally left Grey London behind for Red London and its magic. While Red London prepares for the Element Games, crowds gather for the spectacle and both Lila and Kell find themselves drawn to the games for different reasons. With old friends and allies converging in Red London, perhaps it only makes sense that something darker is waiting to claim its moment in White London. After all, in worlds where everything has a price and magic can never really be destroyed, alliances and purposes can become very, very, messy in A Gathering of Shadows (2016) by V. E. Schwab. A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in Schwab's Shades of Magic Series which begins with A Darker Shade of Magic. A Gathering of Shadows expands the worlds introduced in book one by delving deeper into the international (and even cross-world) politics found in Red London while also bringing other empires and lands into the story. Rich descriptions help bring all of the settings, but especially Red London, vividly to life throughout the novel. The larger story arc of the series plays out well against the backdrop of A Gathering of Shadows' more contained story centered around Element Games. Schwab's intricate plotting follows various characters in close third person perspective as the novel builds to a climax that is surprising at times but ultimately satisfying. If A Darker Shade of Magic was all about discovering that magic comes at a price, then A Gathering of Shadows explores what shapes that payment can take as characters search for redemption, validation, and even absolution in their own ways. A Gathering of Shadows is another sophisticated fantasy with high appeal in a series that seems to only get better with each installment. A must read for fans of book one. Highly recommended. Possible Pairings: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton, The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab Book Two of the A Darker Shade of Magic series Publisher: Tor Publication Date: February 23, 2016 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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—meaning that another London must fall. What I Liked: There is no part of me that is even the slightest bit of okay right now. Victoria Schwab, I loathe you! I mean, I adore you, but I also hate you FOR THAT ENDING! This book was all sorts of brilliant, masterfully written, and painfully cruel. How in the world will I last until February 2017 (let us HOPE and PRAY that that is the latest book three will be published). It has been four months since the ending of A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila is part of the crew of a pirate - privateer - ship, and she's slowly learning about her limits and abilities. Meanwhile, in Red London, Kell struggles with the bond with Rhy. He doesn't dare take chances, not with Rhy's life at stake. Rhy, on the other hand, overdoes everything. Rhy and Red London is preparing for the Element Games, in which Faro, Arnes, and Vesk competitors engage in a tournament meant to showcase the magical abilities of the countries in a friendly way. But another London is rising from the ashes, and no one will see the threat until it's too late. I'll admit - I really struggled with the first half of this book. I think part of me just did NOT want to read it, because I was so excited to finally be reading it. If that makes sense. I got this book months ago and couldn't crack open the review copy until now! I was so excited to finally start it and... I just couldn't. BUT. I don't think it was the book's fault, although I DO think the second half is much more interesting than the first half. We see a lot of Lila on the ship, in the first half. She's her usual thieving, troublesome self, running and running and running. Part of her wonders about Kell, but mostly she's content. She's learning about magic from the ship's Captain, Alucard Emery, who has just as many secrets as she does. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)