A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

“I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler.” (Schwab, 11).

A Gathering of Shadows is incredibly addictive and will draw you in like a “moth to a flame”! As a sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, you will find a continuation of story lines surrounding the dark, mysterious Kell, the exuberant Rhy, and the stubborn, reckless Lila. You will also find more magic, danger, passion, and unforgettable twists.

The Plot: A Gathering of Shadows takes us 4 months in to the future, beyond the aftermath of The Danes and the Black Stone. Lila embarks on the adventure of a life time. Kell and Rhy are linked, now more than ever, after Kell’s forbidden spell to save Rhy’s life. Menacing things are happening beyond Red London, and all of Red London are arriving to witness the Element Games. Will the balance of the Londons become unhinged?

“People spoke of feeling magic, of smelling it, but never of seeing it.” (Schwab, 135).

A Gathering of Shadows immerses us further in to the magical realm of Red London. We are shown the emotional aftermath of The Danes and their evil plans from White London, and learn of something dark and threatening rising in the wake of that aftermath. We are also taken on an adventure as spectators of the triennial Element Games, where the competitors are not all what they seem.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, but I devoured A Gathering of Shadows! I was hooked from the beginning, and I loved what became of Lila and her adventure! I felt like A Gathering of Shadows delved deeper in to everything about the world and its characters. I finished this one in less than 10 hours and cannot wait to read A Conjuring of Light.

A Gathering of Shadows held more magic for me. I also felt more emotion and excitement. One aspect of the story was definitely predictable, but that is not always a bad thing. I felt like we learned a little more about Kell and Rhy, and I loved reading about Lila. I feel like we had more world building with Red London, and we had a better sense of how magic is weaved throughout the world. I was drawn in by the excitement of events and the interactions between the characters and was ecstatic to read about the Element Games! I enjoyed the character transformations from book 1 and was delighted to be introduced to a new character!

“…because magic isn’t just one thing. It’s everything, old and new and always changing.” (Schwab, 219).

Lila’s character really came to life in this one! She held on to her everything that I loved about her from book 1, but really emanated those qualities in book 2. Lila felt stronger, feistier, braver, and definitely more determined. She held on to her independence but seemed to open up a little more to those around her. And she definitely did not lose her knack for thievery or disorder!

“Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble.” (Schwab, 11).

Kell still held on to his mystery and intrigue, but he also showed more emotion in this one. He exhibited guilt over the happenings with the black stone and the death of his brother, and also showed regret for saving his brother. He becomes conflicted over his duty to the crown and keeping his darkness in check, but begins to desire the darkness and the thrill of magic and the fight.

“The truth was, Kell’s blood pulsed with a restless beat, while the thing that coursed within it longed for activity.” (Schwab, 58).

Rhy’s character was so mischievous, and such a major flirt! His personality was so contradictory and he was very humorous. He exuded arrogance, stubbornness, and a lack of conscious most times, and yet, he also exhibited a love for his kingdom, family, duty, and Kell. Sometimes he showed little remorse for the mayhem he caused, but he deep down he felt guilt and regret for the trouble he caused Kell.

“There was a glint of mischief in Rhy’s eyes as he bowed with a flourish.” (Schwab, 58).


Finally, we have Alucard Emery, our new character. Alucard was dashing, intriguing, and peculiar. He holds the facade of a pirate and the personality of a noble. He has quite an interesting past and holds many cards up his sleeves, including great magical ability.

“I supposed I’ve got a knack for it…Seeing magic.” (Schwab, 135).

If you have read A Darker Shade of Magic and are talking yourself out of reading A Gathering of Shadows, don’t. You don’t want to miss this one! The series is incredible so far and I am looking forward to book 3. I rate this one 5 stars!

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