Thursday, October 04, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. This time the cast of characters is expanded beyond Lila (the gender-bending thief with surprisingly powerful magical abilities), Kell (the magical Antari who can travel between parallel worlds) and Rhy (the prince of Arnes and Kell’s adopted brother). The main addition is Alucard Emery, the rakish captain of The Night Spire, the pirate ship that Lila has been working on for the last several months.

The key feature of these series of books is the fact there are four versions of London (Red, Grey, White and Black), and, of course, the presence of magic (based around the elements). In this book, most of the story takes place in Red London (which is in the nation of Arnes, ruled by Rhy's father, the King. The plot revolves around the Element Games, a magic competition held every four years between contestants from the three main countries in Red London’s world: Arnes, Vesk and Faro.

Through a series of deceptions and suspiciously coincidental events Kell, Lila and Alucard all compete in the Games (but most of them not under their real names). Meanwhile the relationships between all of the competitors (and Rhy) become increasingly tangled and complex. Rhy and Alucard. Rhy and Kell. Lila and Kell. Lila and Alucard.

In the first book A Darker Shade of Magic it felt as if the stakes of the resolution of the plot were very high, as one world (White London) attempted to take over another (Red London) and one of our main characters actually died (and was then resurrected by magic). In this second book, the stakes are very different. There is the question of who will win the magic competition and the effect that will have on the characters involved and their relationships. But I didn’t feel this was as compelling a hook on which to hand the story as the first book. However, I am still curious as to how the entire story will be concluded in the third and final book.

Rating: 4 stars.

TitleA Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2).
AuthorV.E. Schwab.
Length: 512 pages.
Publisher: Tor Books.
Published: February 23, 2016.
Read: September 15, 2018.

GOODREADS RATING: ★☆  (4.0/5.0).

OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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