The sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic is more than just any sequel - its a worthy almost an epic fantasy that lives up to its name when it comes to magic. Where the first begins introducing a world of interesting deep characters, an unspoken evil and politics of tilting the balance of power in the first book, the sequel truly dug deeper into new characters, a depth of understanding of Red London, we get to know more about Kell, Lila and Rhy and the rest of the characters and building up a suspense that ends with a cliffhanger that is exciting, rich and the wanting to know more! Is it better than the first? I can say its well-balance in how the story is laid out brilliantly that never seize to amaze me.
Four months after the Black Night incident, Red London is preparing for a magic tournament. The last time we see Delilah Bard she joined a crew of sea privateers lead by the handsome and irresistible Captain Alucard Emery, sailing across the ocean for the empire. Still, a thief as always but with a new skill of magic. In Red London, Rhy is preparing for Essen Tasch, a tournament where magicians from corners of the Arnesian empire come to compete. Kell, last seen where he had bond his life with Rhy after he brought Black Night towards the Arnes Empire and even though he and Lila had saved the empire, the king and queen of Red London do not trust Rhy's life to be protected by Kell. In White London, some thing dark is stirring and a new king took over, one with a familiar face and an ancient enemy is about to spread its influences across the parallel worlds of London.
There is so much about A Gathering of Shadows but what I can say is its the same as much I would say about A Darker Shade of Magic - it still never fails me how captivating this book is as much as it was in the first book. Victoria Schwab is to this day my favorite author and she had created a world that really pulls a reader in and live the lives of each of the character, with absorbing dialogue and a read that truly keeps you going. I do find that although the sequel isn't as fast as the first book itself, it still has this holding on me that I do not want this to end even though it has to end one way or another. Its still a brilliant written work and one I love most that my reading in the early mornings is what I look forward to to keep me enthrall and mesmerized.
A Gathering of Shadows is the sequel to Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic; it picks up four months or so after the end of the first book, when Kell bound Rhy's life to his to save it and Lila danced off into the distance of Red London. Now, the thrice-yearly Element Games are approaching, a Triwizard-ish tournament in which thirty-six magicians from the three great empires of Red London's world compete for honour, glory and a large amount of cash. It's a significant political event as well as a sporting one, which means that Red London's royal family (including Kell and Rhy) is under unusual pressure to perform their parts.
And Lila is returning to London with her flamboyant privateer captain Alucard. Needless to say, Lila, Kell and Rhy get embroiled in the Games pretty quickly.
A Gathering of Shadows is deeper, I think, than its predecessor: whereas Darker Shade concentrated mainly on Lila and Kell, Gathering hops through the heads of a number of characters as they collide in various ways, although Schwab is always careful to introduce new characters properly to us before we see things from their viewpoint. This wider focus is one of the great strengths of the book, I think: Schwab releases information to us in bits and pieces, at exactly the right time to keep the tension up. Which is good, because this also gives the book the illusion of pacing. As in Darker Shade, not much actually happens here, and the book's quite happy to wander down random tangents; but it's always in the service of character, and so it serves to enrich the world of the novel without putting in pace-killing infodumps.
The characters, of course, are the book's other great strength: Kell and Lila especially escape the typical fantasy labels of "good" and "evil" and manage just to be "people", who sometimes make good decisions and sometimes questionable ones, and make them for all kinds of reasons, selfish and unselfish. I desperately wanted more of Lila, the cross-dressing piratical woman from Grey London; not that we didn't get plenty of her, but she is so fantastic that I did sort of want the whole book narrated by her. Alucard, too, a new character for this book, is larger than life and fascinating.
This is very much a Middle Book, setting up plot for the series finale; but it never felt that way when I was reading it, and I'd be quite happy to stay in the world for twice the time I got in it.
I usually write the review right after reading the book and now it’s been some time I finished but still wanted to write few things about it.
First of all, that ending was evil! And it’s so long before book 3 comes out. I just hate cliffies…
I’m still not a huge fan of Lila. She’s bit less annoying here than in the last book but still. She’s arrogant and too reckless without thinking if anyone else gets hurt. She meets the pirate captain Alucard whom I liked. Hope we see more of him in the future.
Rhy and Kell aren’t doing too well after the events in the last book. Kell is out of favor with the king and queen. I really wanted to hit them, king and queen I mean.
Rarely book 2 is as good as book 1 but this really was. Loved this and can’t wait for book 3. I need book 3!
Kell would say it was impossible. What a useless word, in a world with magic.
How is it that my heart flutters whenever I look at the cover of this book?
Although a pretty slow paced sequel, A Gathering of Darkness takes its time to go more into the world that Victoria Schwab created so amazingly in A Darker Shade of Magic. Even if the sequel was slower, I think it’s important to point out that other things weren’t lacking such as: the character relationships and a bit more development of the characters and the world.
One of the best things that happened with this book compared to A Darker Shade of Magic, was that I appreciated other characters more instead of having a focus on Kell and Lila (although, they’re pretty amazing, too)! Damn it, a shout out to Alucard and Prince Rhy, please .
The prince shrugged. “Who needs magic when you look this good?”
Another thing I want to point out is that the romance was placed in the backseat for this one, which was nice. But it also showed that Victoria Schwab knows how to make you fangirl even though she showed the romance for, like, twenty pages out of this entire book!
“Please tell me this is easier to take off than it was to put on.”
Calla raised a brow. “You do not think Master Kell knows how?”
Even though the “antagonistic” story was pretty slow because it focused on the Games for this book, I think it’s safe to say that this book was more of a filler book but I am PUMPED for the NEXT BOOK WHICH ALREADY HAS A NAME AND COVER! God, I need to get my hands on, A Conjuring of Light which it says is coming out in 2017, so I am going to suffer for a while.