A Gathering of Shadows, Victoria Schwab

A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab (2016)
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Pages: 508
Reading Time: 25/11/16 – 05/12/16

Goodreads Bio:

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.

I am reading this before the third book comes out in 2017 and I have to say I preferred the first, not to say that I didn’t enjoy this one though. Victoria Schwab’s books take me to a magical, world bending place that reminds me of books I read in my childhood. Her imagination knows no bounds and this is evident in her writing. I love her characters, her setting and her plots, I think perhaps the reason I didn’t enjoy this book as much was because I needed a recap of A Darker Shade of Magic. So much happened in the first book and I have also read a lot of books since then, so I had lost some of the story in my memory bank. Kell and Lila are going in totally different directions when this book opens and thus the narrative runs along two separate lines. I enjoyed seeing Lila’s character development in this new world that she is not used to, particularly her manipulation of magic.

The Element Games are a very exciting part of this novel and I was really intrigued to see what all of the players used as their element. I love this kind of magic, always have, so this definitely sparked my interest. I think if I was to control an element I would either want it to be earth or water, what about you? I enjoyed the way certain characters could control more than one element and of course the unanswered questions we have about Lila in this department at the end of the book. I did think this part of the story was fairly predictable though, there weren’t many surprises in terms of who got through the rounds of the Element Games.

I would love to visit the shops in Red London, there are some really cool places that Lila walks through and it is here that I think Victoria’s writing shines through it’s strongest. The writing allows the reader to explore this little nooks and crannies of the world and see all the unique qualities it has to offer. She is such a good writer because of her attention to detail in these new worlds she creates.

This is such a messy review (again), but it is Christmas eve and I read the book a couple of weeks ago and a lot has happened since then. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Let me know what you thought of this one in the comments!

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