A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)

agosFour months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like 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.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Publisher: Titan Books
Page Count:
 508

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. I have not written a review for the first book (A Darker Shade of Magic), so I can’t really refer you to an older post to check it out. However, I do not recommend you read this review if you haven’t read the first book yet.

I am one of the very few people who didn’t love ADSOM. I know, shocking! I just didn’t find it as engaging as many others did, but I am happy to say that I enjoyed AGOS more! I still don’t think I will ever love this series as much as some other fans, but I definitely felt more involved this time around.

Lila is a really badass girl and her POV definitely proved that, but I enjoyed Kell and Rhy’s perspectives more (as well as the one of a certain new King in White London). The new bond, that goes far beyond the brotherly one they had before is just so complicated and I love it. Neither of their lives is truly their own anymore and it is heartbreaking to see the consequences of that. It’s the push and pull of what it means to be family, but also to have the responsibility of a whole kingdom – I just loved it! Throwing charismatic Alucard in the mix was the final blow to my feels! Everyone grew so much on me during the course of these 500 pages.

I still don’t know why it didn’t exactly click with me 100% though. I am going to try and put it in words, but bear with me in hopes that I don’t just ramble on. While Schwab‘s world-building is super intriguing, I can’t help but feel like everything is really slow and not a lot is happening, at least in the first half of the book. If you think about it, the story technically covers 4 months, but it takes forever until the paths of our main characters intertwine again. It could be that I am just an incredibly impatient person and that whenever I want something to happen, I want it to happen NOW, which of course doesn’t always make for a good story.

Also, the Essen Tasch – The Element Games – were made out to be such an important part of the story for example and they truly were exhilarating once they happened, but they didn’t even occupy a third of the book. Maybe the way they played out was exactly what made this book different from others, but I couldn’t help but feel like we were shown more of the characters reminiscing about events from the past than really living in the now and dealing with what’s happening. Especially a healthy balance with the aftermath of Black London wasn’t really existing.

Now, ADSOM didn’t answer all the questions back in the day, but it sort of ended on a note where you could live with not having the next book right away. It didn’t have a happily ever after ending, but it had a conclusion just as messy as life itself. AGOS is a whole other thing though! The entire story for the next book was set up before your eyes and then you were just left with torturous feeling of not-knowing. It’s terrible! I wanted to throw the book against a wall!

I realise that I’ve sounded less than happy in some parts of this review, but don’t be fooled, I really enjoyed reading AGOS! The character development was what made up for the shortcomings in other departments. We now have a deeper understanding of our heroes and villains and I am sure that we will profit from that once we get to the final installment!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I need to have the next book – NOW!

4stars

Have you read this series? Are you interested in checking it out? Who do you like best in the books?

The Summer Book Tag

Summer is coming to its end and Cristina @MyTinyObsessions nominated me just in time to do the Summer Book Tag (not to be confused with the Summertime Madness Book Tag!) So, let’s do this before autumn sweeps over the lands!

summer2

  1. LEMONADE: PICK A BOOK THAT STARTED OFF BITTER BUT THEN GOT BETTER

1656001The Host by Stephenie Meyer just about bored me to death in the beginning. I don’t know why I had such high expectations but I read it so slowly because it just was terrible and anti-climactic. I don’t know when exactly, but somehow it picked up and turned out to be a really good book with interesting characters. I guess I just couldn’t stand Wanda all by herself. It only got interesting when there were others around.

  1. GOLDEN SUN: PICK A BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE BEYOND COMPARE

8475505Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins! That book is just so funny and I read the whole thing in that Southern Belle accent I imagine Harper having – it cracked me up!

  1. TROPICAL FLOWERS: PICK A BOOK SET IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY

18775221I have very few books that are set in Austria, so it seems I have free roam here. Let me think about something vacation-y though … The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morris. It starts out in India, continues in England and then plays out somewhere in the South of France and Paris. I’d say those are some nice holiday destinations! Also, I love the movie because Manish Dayal is just a dream come true!

  1. TREE SHADE: PICK A BOOK WHERE A MYSTERIOUS OR SHADY CHARACTER IS INTRODUCED

23403402Pretty much every character from A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab seems either mysterious or shady to me.

  1. BEACH SAND: PICK A BOOK THAT WAS GRAINY AND THE PLOT BARELY DEVELOPED

17332969The 100 by Kass Morgan! I still can’t believe I got through all 3 books  … it was torture. It happens rarely, but here the TV show is a 100 times better than the book!

  1. GREEN GRASS: PICK A CHARACTER(S) THAT WAS FULL OF LIFE, MAKING YOU SMILE

18007564Mark Watney from the Martian by Andy Weir! That man has a will to live and the humour to survive anything! He was in such a dire situation, but he managed to crack me up so many times throughout the book. I never thought it would be that funny!

  1. WATERMELON: PICK A BOOK THAT HAD SOME JUICY SECRETS

16143347We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Such a good book and perfect summer read too! I can’t tell you anything about the plot though, it would ruin all the fun and emotion in the book …

  1. SUN HAT: PICK A BOOK WITH A VAST, BIG UNIVERSE/SETTING

20873804A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin definitely has a huge set-up. I don’t just get confused with all the characters, but also with the kingdoms and borders and cities. I never actually know where anyone is at the moment (except for people at the wall, that’s a pretty good landmark). But I think every book that has a map in it could be considered for this point.

  1. BBQ: PICK A BOOK IN WHICH A CHARACTER WAS PORTRAYED AS A HUNK

16096824SO many people to choose from and even though Cristina picked the same, I just finished the book and want to go with Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas as well! Deal with it!

  1. SUMMER FUN: PASS THE TAG ON

I’ve done a lot (and I really mean a lot) of tags lately and since we’re really close to summer’s end, I have no idea who did this tag and who didn’t. So, if you think this looks fun and want to do it: CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED! Also, leave a link in the comments below and I’ll be happy to check it out!