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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 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
About 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."
Read an Excerpt
A Gathering of Shadows
By V. E. Schwab
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2016 Victoria Schwab
All rights reserved.
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.
Table of Contents
One: Thief at Sea,
Two: Prince at Large,
Three: Changing Tides,
Four: Londons Calling,
Five: Royal Welcome,
Eight: The Essen Tasch,
Nine: Collision Course,
About the Author,
Tor Books by V. E. Schwab,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, but A Gathering of Shadows is a big disappointment for me. I do still love Schwab’s writing. I think she’s an amazing writer and she has a way of bringing this world and these characters to life. I also like the new characters that we’re introduced to in this one – Alucard and Ojka and I need more of them. But I hate magical teen competition novels. I think it’s the most over-used plot device in fantasy and I’m disappointed that this is the best Schwab could come up with. And this tournament doesn’t even matter because this book is just 500 pages of set-up for Book 3 and that’s it. I hate when authors do this because I feel like I’ve wasted my time and I don’t think that there’s enough going on in A Gathering of Shadows that necessitates this many pages. A portion of it could have been hooked on to the end of ADSOM and another portion could have been hooked onto ACOL. And this tournament doesn’t matter because there are no stakes to it. Nothing happens to the characters if they lose and nothing happens to them if they win. It’s just an excuse to get these characters back in one place again. I also feel like Kell and Holland make some seriously stupid mistakes that feel out of character for them. And I still don’t like Lila. She is so frustrating, impulsive and she just doesn’t have a nice bone in her body. I don’t get Kell’s fascination with her and her ego is overwhelming. I know Schwab wants me to like her so much cause she’s so badass, but I just can’t with her. It’s too much. I loved the first book a lot and I expected much more out of this one and I was left really disappointed. I just finished the book wondering what was the point. If I ever re-read the series, I’m skipping this one entirely. Or just reading the last ten pages.
“‘I hope you don’t expect me to call you Master,’ she said, adjusting the knot. ‘Saints, no, that word has no place except in bed. And Lord makes my skin crawl. Captain will do.’” I loved meeting Alucard in this book, he seriously adds so much to this story. His banter made me laugh, and the surprises we learn about him as the story progresses, had me even more excited to turn each page. I also feel very attached to the brothers. Their bond is so touching. I feel like there is a lot left to learn and more depth than we have even gotten close to understanding. I very much look forward to reading more about them. But my favorite character of all was definitely Delilah Bard. She is so strong and fierce. I wanted to yell at her to stop jumping before she looked, but I also envied her ability to do so. She seems so fearless and so afraid all at the same time, and the more I read the more I loved her. “But here, if Lila practiced, she could summon fire with her fingertips, could keep it burning on nothing but magic and will. She was determined to master it, not just because fire was useful or dangerous, but because it was warm, and no matter what happened, Lila Bard never wanted to be cold again. That was why Lila favored fire.” The fact that she has overcome so much and is fighting to find a way to never suffer in the same ways again, has me so easily drawn to her. There is so much to admire about that. I really can’t wait to see what she does next. For all of these reasons, this book was easily a five star read for me.
I can't get over this book and I mean that in a good way. I did not see any of the twists that were in this book coming. I loved this book as much as I loved the first. The magic in these books is so beautifully unique. There were so many moments when I thought to myself "OMG, did that really happen?" I haven't even read the final book yet, but I can tell this is a trilogy that I will definitely reread.
I was excited to finally get to A Gathering of Shadows, the second book in V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. I was fascinated by these worlds she has created with a series of London’s that went from no magic to full magic, colorless and colorful. There were moments of brilliance, but those moments were overshadowed by a dullness, my feelings mirroring her London’s spectrum of colors. I still really liked the characters. Delilah is a fascinating mix of distrust and curious cat. In A Gathering of Shadows she expands her knowledge of the magic she holds by serving as a pirate and tutoring under the captain Alucard. Alucard was probably my favorite new character in this book, his roguishness was charming and I couldn’t quite figure him out, which held my interest. Kell, stuck in London, held captive by his own spell tying he and his brother Rhy’s lives together, a tether that was necessary but now binds his adventurous soul. Maybe it was because of that tether thet the first half of the book was really slow moving and dare I say boring? Part of the fun of the first novel were his journeys, and there were only a couple of those in A Gathering of Shadows. Kell and Lila apart also made the story lack fire, noticeably, because when her ship finally docked in Maresh even the thought of the two of them spotting each other made me sit up in my seat scanning the pages for that moment. That moment did not disappoint. The latter half of the book made up for my lackluster feelings for the first. It was vibrant, exciting, and passionate! However, I can’t forget my struggle to keep slogging through the first half so I am giving this one only ❤️❤️❤️.
Shoutout to Victoria Schwab for hitting me right in the feels again. Rich, vivid, and exciting. I really enjoyed this one, and will be reading the next book ASAP.
OH. MY. GOSH. I AM IN DEEP. I was going to write a proper review for this book, but I was just sitting there going, but I'm not sure I could even properly deal with forming sentences - especially coherent ones. To tell the truth, I knew this book was going to be good and I knew I would enjoy and I actually was enjoying it when I read it, but the beginning part was, well, slow going. You're kind of just sitting there going, oh, this is interesting but I could really just sit this down and watch like 5 episodes of Friday Night Lights and not really feel guilty or care. But once you get over that initial hump full of amazing character development, it just gets so amazing and FEELY AND OMIGOSH I CAN'T EVEN DEAL. MY HEART. MY READING SCHEDULE. MY POOR FEELS. Okay, V. E. Schwab does something amazing: I literally don't know most side characters' names or their characteristics or like anything about them, which should be a problem, but I still enjoy them. The whole Night Spire ship crew is just one mess of pirate dudes, but I LOVE THEM AND I LOVE THE SHIP AND I LOVE NEW CHARACTER CAPTAIN MAN. New captain man = so much love. And the shippppppppppppppppppppp (well, not his actual one, but the romantic one that he is a part of it). They literally had like, what, two interactions? BUT THEY ARE LIKE LITERALLY IN MY TOP FAVORITE SHIPS EVER. How does that even happen?? And Rhyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. In the first book, I always felt bad for him, because to me, he was just kind of there. I mean, Kell and Lila are so blinding that it's super hard to have much love for anyone else. But this book really lets that man shine and shine he does. I'm in so much love with him. HEART EYES HEART EYES HEART EYES. And then Lila. And Kell. Their characterization is just so brilliantly done. I love them both, and I don't think there will ever be a fiercer character than Lila Bard. The new evil dude? SO CREEPY. I have this super weird image of him in my head and I so do not approve. Ugh, I just can't even deal. I had to give a four crown rating since it did take me so long to read it and get into it. BUT WHEN YOU DO, IT TURNS OUT SO GOOD. This book has ruined me. And I have a buddy read to get to it. Oh sigh. Amazing book. Amazing author. Amazing characters. I just can't deal so I need to go put myself in a fangirling corner somewhere. Welp.
This book is amazingly written and spectacular as well as just tormenting. I need to know what happens next.
I have to admit this is my favorite series by this author. I love the Monsters of Verity but this one is a classic in my mind. I thought the competition in this book was similar to other magic books I have read but there is a wonderful, unique twist to it. I really love Lila as a character and her determination and resilience is something to be admired. She isn't one of those girls who allows her fate to be sealed by someone else: she does it on her own and it's badass. I love exploring her relationships throughout the book and how she navigates the competition and returning to the town that she left.
I finally, finally got around to reading this. And ultimately found it rather disappointing. I love Lila. I love Kell. I love Alucard and enjoyed getting to know him. Even Rhy showed more of himself in this book and really shaped himself into a character of interest. But, unfortunately, that's really all that made this book worthwhile - the characters and their growth. Because other than that, it was just one long dragged out build-up to the climactic ending. Which, honestly, wasn't all that climactic considering how long it took to get to it. Compared to the first book in the series, this one just spent too much time with the characters and setting things up, so that by the time I actually got to the Essen Tasch it was more of a relieved "oh finally" than an excited one full of anticipation. I think the worst part was just waiting for Kell and Lila to officially reunite, because they spent more than 75% of the book apart and it was just downright annoying. I loved their partnership in the first book, and while Alucard was an excellent addition to the cast, I still wanted more of Lila and Kell together. I mean, I still love these characters, and despite my constant beratement of Lila’s decisions concerning the Essen Tasch I still found myself rooting for her and getting excited each time she was just downright amazing. But, ultimately, I felt like by the halfway point I was just constantly waiting for things to actually start happening, and the wait took so long that by the time they did my excitement felt only half-hearted. I still plan on reading the third book, since this one was obviously just a long and drawn-out build-up to whatever happens in A Conjuring of Light, but sadly I was just not impressed with this sequel.
A Gathering of Shadows more than matches Darker Shade of Magic in intensity. The same amazing characters are back and a few new ones have been added. The primary new character to get my attention is Alucard, the Privateer who Lila goes to work for. There is a tournament. 12 great magicians from each of the main three countries in the world of Red London are going to compete. The battles themselves are very little of the book but the machinations behind the scenes are incredibly intriguing and exciting. The relationship between Rhy and Kell is more fully developed in this book. Alucard and Lila's relationship is also incredibly enriched because of the happenings in this book. I love this series
I loved this book (and the first in the series) and can't wait to read the next one! Fun, original story and interesting, complex characters.
Such a great read love the authors writing style.
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*
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.
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!!
Liked the first one a lot better
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
Amazing read....cannot wait for the next book !
Really awesome book
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.
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.
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!
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.