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.
WHAT WAS THAT ENDING.
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.
THOSE CHARACTERS! THAT DEVELOPMENT!
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 »Also, Alucard. Especially in relation to Rhy. I’m going to need some more information there. « Hide Spoiler When it comes to the characters and how some of them ended up where they were, I definitely still have questions.
THE PLOT DIDN’T FULLY MATCH THE PACING.
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 »The wait for the two characters to FINALLY see each other again was almost agonizing. So, for me, that slowed down the pacing a little. « Hide Spoiler
EVEN BETTER THAN A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC?
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.