Book review: A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab


Paraphrased from Goodreads

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 neighbouring 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.


4/5 stars

I really enjoyed most of this book! I definitely liked it better than the first one in the series and really like how it built more of everything really. However there were some things that just kind of bugged me and kept me from enjoying it 100%.


Things I liked

I LOVED the tournament aspect. I’m a sucker for fantasy books about tournaments, and it was so good.

I really liked all the magicians and reading about the different types of magic.

The setting is also awesome. I loved reading about Red London, as well as the places Lila visits while she’s on the sea.


Things I liked less

I have mixed feelings about the characters so bear with me while I try to explain my thoughts.

I loved that we got more of Rhy, as I wanted to see more of him in the first one. I really liked Alucard and thought he was a super interesting character. I’m excited to see more of Ned and his role in the next book. I loved reading about the other sailors, and magicians in the tournament, and side characters.

I really like Kell, but I wish he was a little less like that. You know? Idk I’m not a fan of miserable, brooding characters and think they’re boring to read about, and Kell borders on that a bit. He’s not totally brooding, but almost.

And Lila. Lila, why did you have to be like that? I loved Lila in the first book, but she was a little too much in this one. She very much tries to distance herself from being “girly” and is very much ~not like other girls~ which is one of my least favourite tropes. Like Lila, just stop it and accept that you are a girl. ALSO she gets away with everything. I loved her first scene and could believe that and it was awesome, but her entering the tournament? Her being able to beat the other magicians? PEOPLE WOULD HAVE NOTICED. I’M JUST SAYING. That was totally unbelievable to me and really annoys me. Like there’s a difference between having a really cool skill-set that you utilize in a very smart way, which she did at the very beginning of the book, and just asking the reader to believe that Lila, an unskilled, untrained magician, could go against the top magicians in the world. Honestly I would have enjoyed this more without Lila. Which sucks because she was so cool in the first one.


Okay rant done. Overall I loved the plot of the book, I loved the writing and world-building and learning more about the magic, and I loved reading about Rhy and Alucard and pirates. But Lila annoyed me so much. I’M SORRY.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts?

Thanks for reading! xx

2 thoughts on “Book review: A Gathering of Shadows

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