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A Gathering of Shadows #2 by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows #2 by V.E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy

Published 2016; 509 pages

I read the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic in 2020 and enjoyed the premise of 3 Londons co-existing but with different histories and magic connecting them all. It took me a while to get to this second book.

First Sentence(s): "Delilah Bard had a way of finding trouble. She'd always thought it was better than letting trouble find her, but floating in the ocean in a two-person skiff with no oars, no view of land, and no real resources save the ropes binding her wrists, she was beginning to reconsider."


This story picked right up where the first book left off and the main characters are all back and in fine form! Brothers Kell and Prince Rhys, Delilah (Lila) the unpredictable thief, and Holland makes a very light appearance with good reason. A new character, Alucard, made a great addition - a fallen royal, a sea captain and pirate, Lila falls in with his crew and he helps teach her a bit about how to control her magic.

"Magic is all and none. It's sight, and taste, and scent, and sound, and touch, and it's also something else entirely. It is the power in all powers, and at the same time, it is its own. And once you know how to sense its presence, you will never be without it."

Meanwhile, back in Red London, Rhys has been put in charge of the extravagant spectacle of the Element Games and conceives of a deceit that will allow Kell to participate - a disguise. The story alternates between preparation for the Games and Lila and the ship and her magic "training".

"Magic is tangled, so you must be smooth. Magic is wild, so you must be tame. Magic is chaos, so you must be calm."

The glimpse we have of Holland is as King in White London - he's been given the power to restore the country and slowly it's coming back to life - plants and animals are returning to the world. BUT, the magic he's drawing from is from a demon. The set up for the finale is going to be a classic battle between good and evil - all in magic!


Since it took me two years to get back to this series, my memories were a little vague on what happened before. Luckily the reminders were subtly scattered here and there through the story (that's the best way I think). But I'm not making that mistake again - I've already requested the next one from the library.

The magic in these stories is SO creative, so interesting, and is basically a character in the story. I like that it's all based on elements and the ability to control those elements - earth, water, fire, air. Magic pervades everything which is a fun concept. The world building is loosely medieval feeling, but the magic makes it all so much better.

Once again I found the characters strong, the dialog is well written, the situations didn't feel contrived but were consistent with the personalities of the characters. There's a really good set up for the last book - all you could ask for in a middle book. I'm ready for more!

Challenges tagged:

Library Love: 7/70+

Mt. TBR (virtual): 4/24

COYER 1st semester: 15 books read

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