A Gathering of Shadows – Book Review!

After reading A Darker Shade of Magic (review here) I was slightly nervous about reading A Gathering of Shadows. I was worried that I would encounter the same minor problem I had with the first book. That I would feel re-reading A Gathering of Shadows would be necessary in order to get a better understanding. I told myself that I wanted to read this book for longer periods of time. I knew that April was going to be a hectic month for me in terms of getting life stuff sorted. Thankfully I did manage to read this book for longer time periods and when I finished it, I was so happy. I LOVED this book! Here is my review of this fantastic second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy!

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

The Story

It has been 4 months since the events that brought Kell and Lila together. A bond that was never expected. Although reckless, this connection proved worthwhile as it saved the lives of many people, though some at a cost. It has also been 4 months since Lila left behind a life that she wanted to run away from. To start a new one in the world Kell brought her to. Kell does not know where Lila has disappeared to, and he wakes up often dreaming of her.

The story begins with a typical Delila Bard scenario. Reckless to prove a point. She is now part of a crew with her new captain, Alucard Emery. Lila “earned” her place on his ship as their thief – the “best thief“. Knowing nothing of this new world, she is willing to learn the language and other skills from Alucard, who is always curious about Lila and wanting to know what she was running from when she stumbled into their crew. She never lets on who she is and where she came from however. These new skills will prove useful to Lila later down the line, but at what cost?

The Element Games

Meanwhile, in Red London, the city is busying themselves with preparations for the Element Games, the Essen Tasch. The king has tasked Rhy to prepare everything. The games bring together the other lands, Faro and Vesk. The Essen Tasch bring magicians from each empire to show who is the best. The winner is bestowed with riches and admiration from the people. Although the king has granted Rhy the honor of setting up the Essen Tasch, he has bigger concerns that cloud his mind. His head filled with dark thoughts from a certain night 4 months ago. He will always be forever in the debt of Kell. The bond that him and Kell now share was not something Rhy asked for. Rhy also does not like how Kell goes through life now as though he is fragile. He wants Kell to live.

However, within all the preparations, parties and the reckless acts that Kell, Rhy and Lila are sure to bring, darkness is brewing. Somewhere in a world that Kell thought was dead. 4 months ago he killed the rulers of White London and left the only other Antari – Holland – for dead in a world long forgotten. Was he truly dead though? Was there some way the antari could of lived?


I want to go into some of the characters of A Gathering of Shadows and talk about what I loved about them. This is because I feel like I grew more connected with them in this book. The way that Schwab has continued to add additional information on about already existing characters was mind-blowing, and bringing in new characters that everyone is sure to like was spectacular!


I loved Kell in A Gathering of Shadows. The way that his character was writing throughout the entire story just made me super happy. There were certain points in the book that made me nip my lip thinking “OH GOD”. These moments made me continue reading until I learned more. Another thing that made me adore Kell during this book was him showing how much he cared for Lila. The way that Rhy would tease Kell about seeing Lila in everything.

“I know it’s mad, but for a second I thought it was …”
“Saints, you’re seeing her in everyone and everything now, Kell? There’s a word for that.”


The fact that this book shines the limelight on Lila made me so excited. I loved her character in A Darker Shade of Magic and I loved her even more in A Gathering of Shadows. The way that Lila grows and learns through Alucard and from her stubbornness is thrilling. The tension between her and Alucard as well as Kell was so gut wrenching and awesome. I am a huge sucker for tension building scenes. This book was FILLED with them! There was one scene that made me literally shout “WHAT” because oh my goodness… it was pretty hot.


I grew very fond of Rhy in A Gathering of Shadows. I enjoyed his character in the previous book, however in this book he grew into one of my favorites. He is ever so loyal to Kell and would do anything to allow him to live his life without restrictions (or at least, less restrictions.) The brotherly love that Rhy shares with Kell is obviously there, and he wishes that his parents would stop treating Kell like crap.


He is a new main character that is introduced in A Gathering of Shadows. At the beginning I was not sure what I thought of him, but over the course of reading, I fell in love. He’s such a cheeky character with hidden secrets tucked away behind that coy smile of his. He’s a breathe of fresh air and I look forward to seeing how his character progresses in the last book (Or at least I hope he is in the last book… I have not read A Conjuring of Lights synopsis yet!)

Overall thoughts

Everything about this book made me super happy with the decision to read it. After my worry with A Darker Shade of Magic, I was worried that this book would be the same. It was not. From the first chapter, I was gripped. From reading more about Kell and Lila, to learning more about the world that Kell lives in that is not London.

Overall, I LOVED THIS BOOK. I really do think this has been one of my favorite books this year. Just everything about it screamed “more more more!” Tension building, story progression and character developments – it had it all. I would say that I enjoyed this book more than A Darker Shade of Magic (though ADSOM was a fantastic read.) I personally think that I was able to get into this book more because the Element Games. The idea  of them really intrigued me. It made me curious to see what would happen. Originally, the Element Games sounded like they would be something similar to The Hunger Games, but I was quite happy and slightly surprised when it was not. They were more about politics and showmanship. A Gathering of Shadows was a joy to read, and I am super excited to read the final book in the trilogy – A Conjuring of Light.

Flails out of 5

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab gets a worthy 5 out of 5 flails! Read this book, you will not regret it!


One thought on “A Gathering of Shadows – Book Review!”

  1. Oh hey maybe i should give that Darker Shade book another try, i coudnt get trough it the first time i read it. It is an interesting setting but somehow a bit slow / lengthy or maybe i wasnt in the right moode )
    But nice to know that it picks up in the second one (and i only quickread this because spoilerinos ;)).
    Gues i know what to read after i finished my current book.

    Oh btw. book recomendation for you Bexy, Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, its a kind of coming-of-age / harry potter setting with warrior nuns and quite dark )

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