Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab


Publication: February 23th 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages:  512 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Adult
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤

I’m in love with the Shades of Magic series.

I love Kell, I love Lila, I love Rhy, I love Alucard, I LOVE HOLLAND (please stop hurting him V.E. Schwab, please!), I love the world(s), I love how the book actually makes me laugh out loud (which is very rare). I love everything about this series.

What have you done to me V.E. Schwab?!

A Gathering of Shadows brings us back to Red London (and White London, and Grey London, and maybe another London?! But that’s all later) where Kell has given up his smuggling ways after he and his brother Rhy accidentally almost cause the annihilation of their city. Kell is getting the blunt of the blame, and grows restless over his confinement in Red London, and his worry over keeping Rhy safe, now that they share a life. Lila meanwhile has found herself aboard a pirate ship (technically a privateer, but tomAYtos tomAHtos am I right?) of the infamous Alucard Emery and has become his best thief. As Lila returns to Red London, Kell and Rhy are busy preparing for the Element Games, a Tri-wizard Tournament sort of event except their are more competitors and they aren’t teenagers, and they fight each other with magic (which is awesome!). As the three characters each prepare for the games in their own ways, shadows are lurking at the edge, and who knows what darkness they might bring?

I only just finished A Darker Shade of Magic, but I was so happy to read about these characters again. As mentioned, the book takes place four months after the first one, and it actually felt like a passage of time here. Too often in books a book will take place months, maybe even years after the previous one but it feels like it just happened. It was easy to see and feel how each of the characters had changed and grown since the first book.

I love Kell so much, I think I have a new literary crush to add to my list! I just want him to be happy! Schwab did an excellent job showing Kell’s guilt over everything that happened in the last book, his restlessness over his place in the royal family, and how he struggled to understand and be who he was. Rhy’s development was just as well-developed, but it was nice to see the different ways the brothers handled their similar feelings. Even with everything that happened, Rhy still managed to be the optimist of the situation while Kell was, I wouldn’t say a pessimist, but more realistic (with a touch of self-loathing too, which isn’t good KELL!).

Lila, as always, is a total BAMF and I love her. She makes me want to be a pirate, and want to learn how to throw knives. She makes me want to be a braver person, one who isn’t afraid to confront and conquer if necessary.

Probably my favourite thing in the novel (because I’m turning into a giant suck apparently) was the romance between Kell and Lila. It isn’t a typical romance where boy meets girl and sparks fly. No, it’s a slow burn, one where each of the characters mutually knows their feelings for the other, but are still struggling with what to do next with them, how to go further, do they want to go further (PLEASE!)?But the romance doesn’t make things awkward, because even without the romance Kell and Lila are friends who support and care for each other. Whether romantic or platonic, they love each other, and nothing can break that bond between them.

I really really wanted more Holland in this book and was disappointed that he wasn’t as present as I thought. But when Holland was present, so much information about him was given. Not everything, but enough to keep us Holland fans satisfied, enough for us as reader’s to sympathize for him. He’s a very interesting villain, if you can call him that. (also, #STOPHURTINGHOLLAND2K17!)

I can’t remember where now, but somewhere I saw a quote that compared V.E. Schwab to Diana Wynne Jones, going so far as to say that Schwab was this generations Jones, and I completely understand why. Because when I read the Shades of Magic series, I see Kell in Howl’s world and Howl is Kell’s. In a world where coats can have many sides, where castles can move, where women can be violent, where women can be clever, and where wizards and magicians can travel to different worlds, how can they not co-exist? And how can I not love both?

I am so happy to have found a book series that makes me excited and impatient to get my hands on the next book. A series where I get so involved, so emotional over how the characters are treated, where I spend way too much time thinking about the fates of these fictional people. I’ve missed this feeling. I’ve missed loving a book so much, so dearly.

Thank you V.E. Schwab.

It’s going to be torture now waiting for my turn with A Conjuring of Light from the Bookmobile (number 5 in line, which isn’t horrible, but still*), but I’ll wait and I’ll try to be patient, and will definitely be avoiding spoilers.

*here’s some math for any mathematician bookworms who read this blog.

I am fifth in line for A Conjuring of Light at the Bookmobile. Each person who checks out the book gets the book for two weeks (since it’s a high demand item, extensions will thankfully not be allowed for the book). If we assume that the book is already available at the library (which is unlikely) and the book will go out into circulation upon it’s immediate release, when will I be getting the book?

  • Person 1: February 21 – March 7
  • Person 2: March 7 – March 14
  • Person 3: March 14 – March 28
  • Person 4: March 28 – April 11
  • ME!: April 11 (maybe, more likely April 18)

This is of course assuming people will be taking the full two weeks to read the book, if they finish early (PLEASE OH PLEASE FINISH EARLY) then it could be sooner.

But wow, I’m going to have to be patient for this one!

I’m sure there’s an equation in this word problem somewhere, but I am a lowly English major and can’t create my own math problems by myself.


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