5 Things About A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab

April 18, 2016 Review 24 ★★★★½

5 Things About A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab
A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 512
Release Date: February 23rd 2016
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical
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 neighboring 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.


Talk about a cliffhanger! I didn’t think the wait could get any worse but now I’ll be carving the days left until the next book into my wall. (Not really.) Clearly, I cannot wait for the next book. (Plus technically, I don’t fully own these walls.)

I do have to say it’s a cliffhanger that excites you and makes you chuckle to yourself while calling the author sneaky as opposed to cursing the heavens though. But I am getting way ahead of myself, let’s talk about the actual book.


Delilah and Kell continue to impress as characters; and we can definitely see what has changed in them to bring them to where they are now. I absolutely love these two and so should you, otherwise we are going to have a problem, because they feel so real. They both have their fair share of flaws but they learn to wield them as strengths, particularly in Lila’s case. Their dynamic with each other, and the other characters around them, is excellent.

I felt like we really got to know them better in this installment, and were able to better connect and understand them. However, this was only true for a few characters, which leads me to my next point:


One of my problems with the last book was that we didn’t fully get to know the characters, and the same is true with the side characters in A GATHERING OF SHADOWS. New faces are introduced and they had so much potential – I really wish we could have gotten to see more of them and learn about their backstories/motives/etc instead of just seeing them playing their part in the plot. View Spoiler » When it comes to the characters and how some of them ended up where they were, I definitely still have questions.


While there were twists and surprises and magic as always, the pacing felt a little off. The first half of the book involves a lot of setup, everyone in London is preparing for the Element Games, which the book doesn’t fully get into until the second half. I didn’t necessarily mind this because I’m obsessed with this series I was never bored, I just thought it was a little odd that there weren’t any big developments during this time.

I didn’t rate in romance, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any. It just means there is so much more to this book, and that’s how it should be. BUT: View Spoiler »


All that said, this installment definitely does not suffer from second book syndrome. It even improved on some of the weaker aspects of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. While I did have some minor issues, my enjoyment, love for the characters, this world (or worlds), and the writing, far surpass my worries, earning A GATHERING OF SHADOWS a five star rating in my book.


Rating Report
Overall: 4.5

24 Responses to “5 Things About A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab”

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    YAAASS!! Oh even though I still haven’t cracked open my copy, I NEEDED to read your thoughts on it. Life has simply been too busy to pick up this beast recently but after this week, things will quiet down and I WILL read it! I’ve heard a lot of people discussing how the characters really shine in this one, and considering how much I LOVE THEM, I doubt I’ll mind. I can handle minor pacing issues if a book holds my interest. Awesome review :D Eeeep, I’m excited!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Bands of Mourning

    • Alise

      It’s so great, I really loved it! A day or two after I finished I realized how much I missed the world already and wanted to go back to it. Let me know when you read this one, I want to know what you thought :D Thank you!

  2. Ali

    I haven’t read the first one yet, but it’s on my list and I am so excited to read it! It just seems like it’s going to be a great series.

  3. Kelly

    It’s been a little while since I’ve commented, but the new design is beautiful girls! I loved the last one too but this one is really dreamy.

    I’m one of the few who have yet to start the series, but have a copy of book one and can’t wait to get to it. I like a slower paced second in a series though, but as long as there’s character development and the storyline progresses, rather than just setting up the finale. I think if you loved book one, most people would probably love this one just as much just for the love of the series. Wonderful review Alise, really enjoyed it <3 <3
    Kelly recently posted…See How They Run

    • Alise

      Thank you so much! :)

      You really should check it out soon, I don’t think you will be disappointed! That’s true, I enjoyed just being in this world so the pacing didn’t bother me. Like I said, I barely noticed not much had happened because there was so much development. Thank you <3

    • Alise

      I try to keep everything spoiler free except what is under spoiler tags but I totally understand, Bec is the same way. This series definitely is making its way up to my favorite fantasy books of all time.

  4. Lonna

    That BIG of a cliffhanger, huh? I’m actually really looking forward to this series. I’v been told that I would really enjoy it b/c I love Leigh Bardugo and Schwab writes with a similar flair–lots of excitement. I’m contemplating on waiting until the whole series is released. :D
    Lonna recently posted…The Secret Fire (The Alchemist Chronicles 1)

    • Alise

      There are some improvements, definitely. Let me know what you think if you get around to reading this :)

  5. Ana Esteves

    Now I really want to read this book! Everyone thinks it’s great and I feel that I’m finally prepared to enter a new book after “Lady Midnight” by Cassandra Clare!
    Thank you for this amazing post!!!

    • Alise

      It’s definitely worth a read! I know what you mean, after I finished this book I couldn’t get into any others.

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