A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows

Book - 2016
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"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 extravagent 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-and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Tom Doherty Associates, LLC,, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765376473
0765376474
Characteristics: 509 pages ; 22 cm

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r
rapunzel454
Jul 31, 2018

I enjoyed the first book, but this second one was a disappointment. It was completely filler. A magical tournament is not an original idea, and she should have just skipped to the third book where the plot goes back to dark magic. I couldn't stand Lila's character, mostly due to how she was written. The author over-emphasized her badass thieving abilities which was unbelievable. Lila was a mediocre con artist, an annoying character and apparently an amazing magician despite having only 4 months of training. The author's writing style almost made me quit the series. She would italicize at least two words per page for emphasis. A good writer does not need to tell her readers where to look. And some of the words she chose to italicize did not even make sense. (This does not include other languages or inner thoughts.) The idea of multiple Londons was intriguing and half the characters were interesting (although the author tried to share too many perspectives, which lost focus on the protagonists). Overall, I would not recommend this book.

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RebelBelle13
Jun 30, 2018

I really had high hopes for this book after finishing A Darker Shade of Magic. Lila had left, and I was looking forward to more Kell, Rhy, and hopefully, Holland. I was disappointed immediately when the first chapter, and the bulk of the novel following, was from Lila's perspective. She was no better than she was in the first novel of the series, and if anything, she was more aggravating. She literally says several times, "I'm not like other girls." We get it. She hates dresses and loves knives. Also, apparently, she's amazing at magic and can wield at least two elements, because of course she can. To be honest, this story would have been miles better without Lila in it- and we actually wouldn't be missing much if her part was excised completely. Sure, we would have lost some insight on Alucard, but that's a sacrifice I'd be more than willing to make. Not only is she ridiculously overpowered and given too much spotlight, but she beats out 30 some other magicians with her newfound skills. I was eye-rolling so hard it hurt.
Besides Miss Thief With Godlike Powers, there is the issue of the first half of the novel dragging nowhere into the mud. The second half went by much more quickly, since it contained the magic tournament, Essen-Tash. The book could have been reduced by at least a hundred pages if you take out all the nonsense filler, and focused more on the magic battles, which is really what everyone wants to read about anyway.
I was really reading this for Holland. He's by far the most intriguing of all the characters in the novel. He really does seem like a good person, but keeps getting dragged down by evil beings. I am really hoping that he gets his freedom in the last novel of the trilogy. If not, it is a lost opportunity on Schwab's part and a damn shame.
Kell and Rhy had a much better showing here, and I was happy to see them try to work out their life bond while Kell competed in the Essen-Tash. Rhy is another interesting character that we saw far too little of in ADSoM. Also, kudos to Schwab for not letting Lila or Kell win the tournament. That would have been just a little too on-the-nose.
Will I be reading the last in the trilogy? Most likely, even though I have a strong suspicion how it will play out. I love the idea of multiple Londons and magicians being able to travel between them. The magic system and battles are also portrayed and explained well. Again, it's Schwab's main characters that fall flat for me, and kill an otherwise promising series.

MegH_OshLib May 25, 2018

Better than the first, this book was an absolute joy to read! Delilah Bard is an incredible character and I adored everything about her arc in 'A Gathering of Shadows'. I'm glad that I put off reading this series so that I don't have to wait after that brutal cliffhanger at the end.

I think Delilah shone brilliantly in this book, her chapters held some of my favourite moments throughout the story, but Kell and Rhy are close behind her in terms of their development, both together and separately.

Just a wonderful character-driven story, with one of my favourite (more urban) fantasy settings!

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faithmurri99
Apr 22, 2018

While I found many a typo (at least in my copy, idk about all of them), I was still very pulled in by Schwab's writing style, and she has definitely solidified a permanent place in my favorite authors list.

The plot was slower, a lot slower than A Darker Shade of Magic was, and that was kind of disappointing and annoying at times, because the scenes I wanted weren't always the scenes I got, and the scenes I got likewise weren't always the scenes I wanted. However, the last part—and that cliffhanger!!!!!!!!!—really saved this book, as it brought together all the plot threads and reinvigorated me, definitely ensuring I will be continuing this series.

Kell: As usual, he was my favorite character. His alterego as Kamerov was exciting and explored a whole new side of his character. The injustices against him by the king and queen, as well as Arnesian society as a whole, were very upsetting and I really empathized with him. It gave me some serious Jace in City of Ashes vibes.

Lila: I actually liked her in the first book, but she was just so dang annoying in this one. She was constantly doing things only for herself, without any regard for others (specifically Kell), and her recklessness and narcissism really got on my bad side. She did, however, get more interesting abilities and a more important role in the plot.

Alucard: Basically everything that was wrong with Lila was partially learned from him, and in case it isn't clear, I really don't like this guy. He's a douchebag.

Rhy: I loved getting to learn more about Rhy, with him finally playing an important role in the story. His struggle with the effects of the soul-seal was very well-executed and effective.

Holland: I had a dream while reading this book that I fell in love with him and he brought me to White London, so I think that explains how much I love this character. Everything that was effective in the last book was ten-times as effective in this one, and I lived for his perspective/the White London scenes!!! They kept me reading, honestly, when so much of the book was just Lila being a brat.

Osaron: Heck yeah, big bad's back and he's better than ever, this time with the name Osaron and even more magical schemes, as well as an entire burnt-out parallel universe he calls home sweet home, but he wants more! And he's gonna do whatever it takes to get it!

Ojka: She was so interesting to read. From the moment she appeared, I was totally invested in her. I'm so very excited to see what she does/becomes of her in the next book!

Hastra: My baby Hastra was so sweet and I just loved him so much. Kell needed him. Everyone needs a Hastra (an Hastra? idk English is weird).

It was a somewhat stormy ride, but I'm very glad I read it, because that last chapter was fantastic! This book really felt more like the first book in a series, with ADSoM its prequel, because of the pacing, the characters, and the conflicts. While I didn't like it nearly as much as I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, I still really enjoyed it and highly recommend it!

d
dnk
Feb 02, 2018

I finished this book in two days because I was so excited to read more of Kell and Lila's story. They've been apart for four months when this installment opens, and the trouble that's found Lila is Captain Alucard Emery, a dashing privateer who takes her on as his ship's thief. He's teacher, ally and possibly crush, but throughout she can't stop thinking about Kell, who can't stop thinking about her. As for the other Antari, Holland did not die in Black London as Kell had thought, but revived to find the source of the black magic that plagued Kell's Red London. Holland makes a terrible choice, but does so in order to revive his nearly dead White London.

Prince Rhy, meanwhile, can't stand to see his foster brother Kell punished by their parents for what happened with the black magic (and his near death) because he knows that he's just as much to blame. To make it up to him, he secretly enrolls him in the magic tournament between their empire Arnes and their neighbors, Vesk and Arnes. It's unfair for an Antari to compete against ordinary magicians, but Rhy knows that Kell needs to step out of the royal shadow, if only for a few hours. And Kell isn't the only one who's bending the rules: Lila decides that she'll be in the contest too, even if that means that she has to assume an identity (how hard can that be for a thief?). And while Alucard qualified fair and square, his return to London is a violation of a royal order--Kell's--and his family isn't happy to see him back either. But why is Rhy keen to see him back?

While Kell and Lila keep missing each other in Red London, Holland and his new knight Ojka are trying to find a way to free him from the black magic entity he took on while in Black London. Too bad the only bodies strong enough to hold it are Antari, but how convenient that Holland knows just where to find one...

It's hard to introduce a major character mid-series, but Alucard becomes a favorite almost immediately. And while we've met Holland in the last book, his motivations become clearer and more sympathetic. I enjoyed the magical duels, but admittedly some of the setup around the tournament felt like an extended device to keep Lila and Kell apart until their dramatic reunion. The ending was breath taking, and I couldn't wait to begin reading the final installment right after.

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capnmustard
Jul 19, 2017

I loved this book and it is now one of my all time favorites! Kell and Lila are such great characters. But with the and holland. The book is just so much better😀

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morganameridius
May 08, 2017

WELL THAT HAPPENED. I have to admit, the games made me think of Goblet of Fire and basically every fantasy book ever but they were still exciting and I love seeing other lands and people and magic. Otherwise, this was a stressful DELIGHT and TORMENT all at once and naturally Alucard Emery is my favorite. Because obviously. I super love his friendship with Lila and all the pirateyness and I loved all the Kell and Rhys time together and I loved all the ACTUAL SHIPPY SHIPPINESS (mix those pairs lol) and every time someone's path would cross. Yep. Also the mystery of Lila and I want to know more about Kell's childhood.

ArapahoeKayla Mar 28, 2017

An excellent continuation of the Shades of Magic series. Kept it's fast adventurous pace as much as the first book with more character details and development. And reminiscent of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire I couldn't help but love the inclusion of the magic tournament that was at the heart of this book's plot.

MissMellissa Feb 03, 2017

This book was fantastic! It's like the tri-wizard tournament in Harry Potter mixed with the action of the Pro Bending Arena scenes in the Legend of Korra.
The only part I had trouble with was the ending. I felt it was a little abrupt, but that just could be because she's gearing up to really finish the series off with the third installment.

VaughanPLRachelP Feb 01, 2017

Book 3 is out end of February!

The sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. There are real consequences to decisions made in the first book. There's also a magic tournament! In some ways, this book seemed more grown up than the first one. Non-stop action, but also takes the time for character development and ensuring that everything that happens, happens for reasons that make sense.

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ladymeag
Jul 06, 2016

As life moves on in Red and Grey London, we find what has become of Lila, Kell, Rhy and get more background and deeper development on previously mentioned Alucard, Ned, and Holland. Will other Londons return to the landscape? Be warned, there is a cliffhanger!

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faithmurri99
Apr 22, 2018

I am in everything. I am as old as creation itself. I am life and death and power. I am inevitable.

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