Name: A Gathering of Shadows
Author: V. E. Schwab
Number of Pages: 508 (Paperback)
Published: February 23 2016 by titan Books
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. – from Goodreads
A Gathering of Shadows picks up after the events of A Darker Shade of Magic, so beware potential minor spoilers below. It’s a long time since I read that book, and getting back into the world of alternate Londons was an enjoyable page-turning read.
Lila is all at sea, quite literally, as she has negotiated her way into the crew of a privateer ship, The Night Spire. The ship’s captain, Alucard Emery is intrigued by Lila’s appearance, and gives her a chance to prove herself as his ‘best thief’.
Back in Red London, Kell is adjusting to a somewhat more confined way of life after events of the last book saw his life become tied to that of Prince Rhy. Whatever befalls Kell also affects the heir to the throne, so Kell can no longer take endangering risks, or put himself in harm’s way, as he has his brother to think of too.
And whatever they encounter long the way, Lila and Kell still think of each other. It’s inevitable their paths will cross again, and I couldn’t wait to see how it happened.
There’s so much to like about this book. Alucard Emery has become one of my new favourite characters, the sea captain who is so much more than he first appears.
I also liked the magical tournament, the Essen Tasch, which brings certain characters together and allows for some great scenes of action and magic. While some characters attend through reputation and magical skill, others gain their place by various methods of subterfuge.
There’s also a dark threat from elsewhere, as White London is apparently returning to life, and someone will go to great lengths to ensure that the place thrives now.
A Darker Shade of Magic is well paced, mixing adventure, magic, danger and at least a hint of romance. This world of several Londons comes to life on the page so vividly, and as always Kell and Lila are at the heart of the tale.
That ending!! Let’s just say I’m very glad that the next book is already published, because I don’t think I’d enjoy having to wait to find out how all this is going to play out. I’m sure it won’t be long before I pick up A Conjuring of Light.