Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Kell is plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, he is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila. As Red London prepares for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic – a certain pirate ship draws closer. But another London is coming back to life, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning. Black London has risen again – and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall. (Blurb taken from Amazon, link below)

Today’s review is about a book from what is quickly becoming one of my favourite fantasy series. So fair warning I will be gushing in this review. When I read the first book of the series this blog wasn’t about books so that review will have to wait for another day. I have recently finished the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, and am now reading the third and final book, A Conjuring of Light. 

First off, as usual, the basics.

a gathering of shadows

Genre: Fantasy

Length: 513 pages

Published: 23rd February 2016 (Titan Books)

Available formats: Hardback, Paperback and Kindle

Amazon Buylink

v e schwab
(Source) Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”
She is represented by Holly Root at Root Literary and Jon Cassir at CAA.

My Thoughts

When I started this book I felt like it was going to be quite different from the first in the series, the plot was completely different and the characters I had grown to love were in a different situation. There was no rushing about trying to save the world(s), it was much more relaxed (for a while) and I didn’t know if I was going to like it as much as the first. But I needn’t of worried so much, it was just as enjoyable as the first in the series, if not more enjoyable.

In this instalment you get to see Rhy and Kell in their more natural setting, although they are dealing with the fallout from the climax of the first instalment so all is not quite well. Their relationship has changed drastically and they don’t know how to deal with it, until Rhy comes up with a dramatic plan and Kell agrees to go along with it. Their conversations are entertaining to read and I have loved seeing how their relationship adapts to their new connection. Also the relationship developments between Kell and Rhy’s parents, the King and Queen, are intriguing to read. It swings from a good relationship to a strained one and back again! I have no idea how it will change again by the end of the series.

At the start of this novel we see the other main character, Lila, working on a ship and finding it very different to what she had dreamed of in the previous book. She’s finding her place in this new world and has lost none of her confidence along the way. We don’t see her meet up with Kell until much later in the book and even then drama isn’t far off!

I think overall the writing style is brilliant,  it just gets you coming back for more. You can easily find yourself sinking into the book, picturing yourself in Red London as the story unfolds.

I can only recommend this book so often, but if you love a good fantasy story involving magic, alternate worlds and unconventional romances with a decent LGBTQIA+ representation then give this series a go!

five stars


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