Home / Book Review / A Darker Shade of Magic Sequel | Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic Sequel | Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows was just the BEST.

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

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A Gathering of Shadows Final

Title & Author: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Genre: Young Adult – High Fantasy

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Series: Shades of Magic #2

Publisher: Tor

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.”

Stellar Sequel

Over the past year, I’ve struggled with sequels. Either my standards have creeped higher, or my attention span has shortened. Either way, it takes a lot for me to 1. Even pick up a sequel and 2. Find it just as good if not better than the original story.

You can’t imagine my immense relief and joy to find that A Gathering of Shadows was INCREDIBLE. It added more to this rich fantasy world that I desperately wish I could jump into myself.

The book picks up right were A Darker Shade of Magic left off: Lila has departed from Kell in Red London and he and Rhy are left to cope with their new irrevocable bond…

What you will find in A Gathering of Shadows: Lila and Kell. YASSSSS. Only….they’re apart for about 50 percent of the book. The other 50 percent MORE THAN makes up for their absence, let me tell you.

Lila is just as kick-ass as ever. I love how she’s so unlike a lot of heroines in books – she’s got a very unique and distinct personality and its quirky and self-protective and bold and rash.

We’ve also got some NEW characters this time around – one is a pirate captain. WELL PLAYED, SCHWAB. Well-played. (You’ll see.)

Meanwhile back at the ranch palace, Kell is helping his brother Rhy prepare for the Element Games – where the best magicians in the known world compete for the title of best/most powerful.

I loved that there was a new central event to focus on, while the untied threads from the previous book wove together in this new book.

Schwab has a way with character development that is beyond magical. I loved each character – Rhy even more than ever – and how they all interacted with each other. It’s joyfully dysfunctional.

The pace was slow at times, but it gave me the chance to savor the build-up to the Games, which take place in the last half of the story.

Schwab doesn’t waste a minute of the story though, showing readers where she’s taking us next.

There are surprises and delights every chapter, and I sunk into the high fantasy world that was created. I appreciated that there’s still so many secrets being kept and that the slow reveal of them is done for the greatest dramatic effect.

This is a fantasy series not to be missed!


This is a well-though out, expertly executed sequel. New characters and plots are added to add freshness to the story, while old problems resurface for maximum drama. The characters are fully fleshed out and some of my favorite to read. A Gathering of Shadows is a stand out sequel to one fantasy series I beg you all to read – highly recommended.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Stephanie

    Aaah, I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Lisa! I didn’t really have any doubts that this sequel would be good (the first book was just that good) but it’s nice to hear it confirmed. I can’t wait to read it!!