It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as 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.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
Earlier this year, I had the great pleasure of reading and loving A Darker Shade of Magic, so of course I wanted to continue the story and the characters of both Kell and Lila.
The story picks up four months after the events of the first book and both Kell and Lila are on their separate ways. Lila is a pirate with her own crew on the Night Spire and is aided by Captain Alucard Emery, who acts as a mentor towards Lila throughout the book. Lila also begins to develop her magical abilities and Emery tries to get her to channel her new abilities.
Kell is back with Rhy and their brotherly bond is stronger, especially after being bound to him at the end of the previous book. You really see how they are bounded to one another and it makes their relationship a lot stronger and see each as brothers. But Rhys’s parents, the King and Queen still see Kell as a servant, which also affected his relationship with Rhy. The book added a lot of Rhy chapters, which really aided in his character development, and seeing the Kell/Rhy relationship from his perspective.
The main plot of the book is dealing primarily with the Essen Tach, a magical tournament, which pits magicians from different Londons against one another. Both Lila and Kell spend a majority of the book training for that tournament and both have different reasons for entering. It is because of that tournament they were finally reunited.
Both Kell and Lila spend a majority of the book apart from one another, which was one of my main gripes with it, mainly because I love both of them together, but I think it was needed to further develop them separately. But I did like the scene when Kell found out he was fighting Lila in the middle of the fight.
I also really liked the concept of the Essen Tach tournament, and you got see many of the different Londons and how magic is used in those Londons. There was also the development of Holland, while it wasn’t a huge shocker that he was still alive but he spent most of his time planning his return. even though his chapters were very brief it did explain a lot about his character. Also the climax was also really good and it had so many twists and turns. It also had a really a really good cliffhanger, that makes me so excited to read A Conjuring of Light.
It would also feel like I am repeating myself with how great the writing. But the writing was extremely well done, and VE Schwab keeps proving why she is one of my favorite authors. Every word she makes is extremely well done and she also does a good job at keeping the pace up. I was never bored when reading the book.
In the end, Gathering of Shadows was a really good sequel, and while it was not as plot driven as A Darker Shade of Magic, it did a good job at developing characters that I already love and also the world it is set in.