A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

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RATING: 5/5

SYNOPSIS: Four months after Kell and Lila destroyed Vitari, stopped the rulers of White London, and prevented the total take over of Red London, Prince Rhy is gearing up Arnes for the Element Games where magicians from Arnes, Faro, and Vesk compete for the honor of being the best of the best. Of course trouble still brews as White London starts to repair itself with the help of some darker magic.

PREVIOUS: A Darker Shade of Magic

 

The best part about this book is that it feels so calm and like everything is all right, but nothing is all right and things are only going to get worse! I loved how Schwab was able to balance the fun and excitement of the Element Games with the real conflicts and doubts brought about by Kell, Rhy, and Lila’s actions in the first book. There would be moments where I was just reading and enjoying myself and then suddenly something would happen and I’d remember that there is a reason this book is a sequel! I really loved that all the over-arching plot developments happened in short bursts because it added that underlying tension and antsy-ness that all the characters were feeling throughout the book. I am also so impressed by the fact that if a character is introduced they will play some sort of larger role in the long run. There is no such thing as an unimportant figure in this series! I also loved the new characters that were introduced and am so excited to see the larger roles that they will play in the next book! Ojka is an interesting character and she almost reminds me of Lila, if Lila believed in anything other than herself. She has the quiet ferocity about her (which must be a White London thing) and while I don’t fear her the way I did Astrid and Athos, there is something frightening about her. Alucard is also fascinating because of how easily he adapts to his surroundings and I want to know more about his backstory with Rhy (but from Rhy himself since Kell repeatedly tells his side of the story). I love his relationship with Lila. It’s such an odd one because both of them aren’t really touchy-feely-sharey people and yet at the same time they are as thick as thieves. I loved reading their little games with each other as they try to get the upper hand. It’s so different from Rhy and Kell’s relationship, but at the same time so similar. I enjoyed getting to see Rhy and Kell together in this book and I also loved that their relationship was strained. You can feel just how much they love each other and how much everything that has happened pains them in every sentence and in every description. Their relationship is my favorite out of every one in the book because it is so full of love and so full of support and protection. They would literally do anything for each other and of course that is a major problem! I also liked how Kell’s relationship with the king and queen are strained, but I have a feeling that it isn’t in the way that he thinks its strained. I believe that they are hard on Kell to keep Rhy safe and that it isn’t truly a punishment for what he did, so I’ll be interested to see if he is ever given a full explanation. I’m also glad that we got to see more of Holland and everything that I thought about him in A Darker Shade of Magic was confirmed! I love how he is the villain, but he really proves the whole “each character is the hero of their own story” that people talk about when writing good villains. Holland truly believes that he is doing what is best for his London, even if it is at the expense of another. I really hate how much I love him because it would be so much simpler to just dismiss him as being crazy and power hungry like all the other White Londoners, but he isn’t. I’m so fascinated by his particular arc, but I have a feeling that it won’t end well. I am so mad about that cliff hanger of an ending! Everything is such a mess right now and the third book isn’t even finished! I don’t know how I’ll contain myself until then, but for now I am just going to force everyone to read this gem of a series!

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