- A Gathering Of Shadows
- V. E. Schwab
- Tor Teen
- Released February 23rd 2016
- Book 2 of the Shades of Magic series
- 5 stars
Four months after Red London was nearly destroyed, and then saved by Kell and Lila, the world convenes again for the Element Games. Restless from his bond with Rhy and from the restrictions placed on him by the crown, Kell is haunted by ominous dreams of a decimated Red London waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. But while old enemies and friends collide among the extravagant events planned for the games, strange developments occur in the other Londons and it is all anyone can do to maintain order when Magic demands to be freed.
*Me at 1:30 in the morning having to pause my game of candy crush while listening to this book because I’m waving my arms about, silently squealing, and trying to contain my excitement because it’s 1:30 and I’m definitely not supposed to be up
^^^ That’s how good this book is
And despite disliking characters, I can’t give this book anything less than five stars. I laughed, fumed, and panicked with and at the myriad cast of characters and couldn’t stop reading this action packed delight.
I loved seeing Kell and Rhy adapt to their connection, trying – and failing – to get back to their lives before the black stone appeared and then forging new ones. I felt indignation towards the crown, towards the priest, even towards Rhy when Kell felt so and also the sincerity and passion he had towards Lila, his guards, and others he cared about.
I came to like Rhy in his own way too despite his sometimes selfish and imperious manner because he had a reason for everything. I was often annoyed with many of the characters, their brash decisions and imposing personalities, because they were so real and even the villains had thoughts and desires that were meticulously developed.
Multiple viewpoints are seamlessly woven together with gripping descriptions and witty interactions that can practically be felt by all the senses. The grandeur of the stadiums, the palace next to the seedy clubs and bars and the magic that runs through all of Red London is palpable through the writing. The tension and tenderness in the various interactions between characters are palpable and the characters evolve in ways that are realistic and sympathizable.
And the story is brought together masterfully. The Element Games, though technically the centerpiece of the book, was a clever way for the necessary characters to be united, for the feeling of a masquerade dance to develop with characters showing bits and pieces of themselves to the world only to lie and backstab when opportune. There are no perfect people in this book, I mean with so many powerful personalities, how could there be? Everyone is out to get what they want creating excitement along the way.
All the while, the interspersed chapters describing the other Londons have an ominous feel to them giving way to a nail biting conclusion with a nasty cliffhanger. The last few chapters bring out every emotion and I went from hysterically (but quietly – see above) laughing to flapping my arms out of nervousness to melting with awwws to making shocked faces in horror in the space of a couple minutes. The best of each and every character is brought out by the chaos of the end and I was reeling so much from it that it took me forever to fall asleep, never mind that it was already close to 2 in the morning and I should have been exhausted by then.
Honestly, I can’t believe why I didn’t finish this book on the first try. I had it back in February when it first came out but I must have been seriously distracted by school work or something because this wonderful book somehow ended up on my to be continued shelf. That we have to wait so long for the next book is horrifying but I have no doubt that it will be just as good as the first two books of the series!