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

Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Tor
Reading Level: Adult
Pages: 509 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Prepare yourself for a long review because I HAVE WORDS AND THOUGHTS AND FEELS GALORE.

I have been anticipating this book for so long, so I literally celebrated when an advanced copy fell into my hands. KELL! LILA! RHYS! My babies would all be back in the palm of my hands! Magic! Traveling! Fun coats and boys with two different colored eyes! I was so ready for it. I picked up this book and blew through it with a smile permanently fixated on my face...you know, when Schwab wasn't making me freak the frick out like she loves to do.

Now that I've got that out of the way, it's time to be realistic for a moment. This book is a filler book. While Schwab advances the plot and has us on the edge of our seat, it is also obvious that Schwab is slowly moving all of the pieces together to have the most ridiculous climax of a series ever occur in book three. This climax begins at the very end of book two, promising a crazy amount of awesomeness in book three. My one complaint is that while there was a lot of interesting sub-plot happening in this book, Schwab has us on the edge of our seat waiting...and waiting...and waiting. Eventually something crazy is going to happen, we know that in our gut, but that craziness is holding off until book two. On a positive note, that craziness is going to be LITERALLY THE BEST EVER BECAUSE OF HOW AWESOME EVERYTHING ELSE WAS IN THIS BOOK.
 
However, there are some positives for this to be a filler book. There isn't crazy advances in the world-building, but there are enough to make you realize just how crazy book three is going to get. There are, however, ridiculous advances in character growth. I feel like I know Kell, Rhys, and Lila ten times better than I did in book one. Each is ridiculously different than they were before, Kell and Rhys for obvious reasons after how book one ended and because Rhys is more of a central character in book two (yassssss, Schwab, yaassss), but Lila because she has grown so much as a person and learned a bit about herself on her pirating adventures. She is the same old Lila we loved before, but with an even larger flare for the dramatic, more backstory, and knowledge of who she is as a person that didn't exist prior. She's beginning to understand her role in this crazy magical place, and I loved it. Even though her character development took her far from Kell, any time they were even in the same sphere I was waiting with baited breath for their eventual reuniting.

A few kickass new characters are also introduced. I am not going to tell you much about them so that you can discover them for yourself, but I have one name that will forever be imprinted in your mind: Alucard Emery. I am thanking Schwab for his mere existence everyday because, whew, do I love this character.

Some of the questions we had after reading book one are answered, but are gently touched upon in a way that promises chaos to come. I had a lot of concerns upon closing ADSOM about several of the London's, what their futures hold, certain characters, and I got some form of an answer for every single one with the promise of more to come. One particular sub-plot horrified me and intruiged me so much I found myself rereading the small chapters taking place there whenever I was able to stumble into them. And it's the tiny subplots that rear their ugly heads and throw the entire world upside down when everyone least expects it and leaves you begging for more as a reader because this has one of the worst cliff-hangers I have ever encountered. I mean, holy smokes, Batman, you were on a roll and things were heating up and--oh, I don't know what happens next. I have to wait another year to figure it out and maybe I can piece myself back together before then. No promises though.

As always, Schwab delivers a dark, delicious, twisty tale with magic, revenge, passion, fun antics, and a stolen kiss here or there that was not at all expected. I couldn't ask for anything else...oh, wait. I lied. Book three now please?

 4.5 stars

~*~Links~*~

FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for an honest review.

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