A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Synopsis from GoodReads:
Four 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.
Another excellent addition to the ADSOM trilogy. Some parts of it were definitely better than the first book, although I wasn’t sure about others. I’ll try to keep this review spoiler-free, although names will be dropped and some information can’t be avoided in reference to book one, but I tried.
First off, yes, more information about elemental magic! Yay! That was one of the few things i wished for from the first book, was an explanation of how non-blood magic worked, especially in Red London, and we got it and it was great.
I still love the world, especially now that we get to see more of it, with different cultures from the world of Red London plus several trips to White London and Gray London, both revealing more of what’s happening in their worlds. Schwab is very good about creating these places, making them feel different and distinct, but still showing that they do fit together in a way that makes sense.
Still loving the characters, new and old. Alucard and Ojka are two of my favorite new characters, although I wish Alucard’s crew was a little more fleshed out. We really only learn names and maybe one or two things to attach to each name, and then we barely see them. But I loved getting to see so much of Alucard and Ojka, I loved seeing them and their relationships with returning characters. Although I still have a couple of questions about Alucard’s past with Rhy and Kell…
With the old characters, I love getting to see more of Rhy and see how he’s changed after the events of the first book, and same with Kell. And Lila… Oh, Lila, what are we going to do with you? I felt she was making a lot of stupid mistakes in this book, a lot of reckless decisions, but as we got to see through her eyes enough, I’d say what she did made sense for her. But boy did I want to shake her a couple of times.
Speaking of wanting to shake people. The king and queen of Red London. I mean, the way they’re treating Kell now is very disturbing, and, while it helps contribute to the decisions Kell made, I’m not sure if there’s a good reason for it. They went to a lot of trouble to acquire him into their family, and now it seems as if they’re throwing all that away with how they treat him in this book. I’m not sure if they’re making smart decisions, and I have to assume they’re smart people since they’re running an empire that isn’t at war or financially in trouble (although there is that profligate use of magic… which someone lampshades, thank you!).
Despite a couple of complaints, however, I still loved the story, I loved the worlds, and I couldn’t put the book down – except for when I was forced to do so by the person who actually had the book and was sharing it with me. Never ever try to read the same copy of a book at the same time as someone else. It never works out. Never.
5 stars, would highly recommend – but maybe wait for the third book to come out, because I’m already finding the wait incredibly painful and I only just finished this book four days ago.