Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows / AKA the book that destroyed me

A Gathering of Shadows Book Cover A Gathering of Shadows
V. E. Schwab
23rd February 2016

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.

WHERE TO BEGIN EVEN. Jeez. Talk about #STRESSFUL. And I mean it. I was legit almost biting my nails again (a bad habit I kicked when I was 14-ish. Yikes). I can honestly say I loved this book. I finished it in 4 days sooo yeah. And that is wit me only reading on the tram, in my breaks and during stolen moments at home. IN OTHER WORDS I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN. There is so. Much. Magic. It is the fairy tale that sings to my heart with just the right amount of stabbiness and blood, with just a touch of romance and poofy dresses. Because, come on, there has to be at least one poofy dress.


As we all know, I love lists. Lists are everything. So, without further ado…


  • ALL THE MAGIC. The magic is literally everywhere. In everyone and everything. And yet, it doesn’t feel random or halfway thought out. It has limits, and it has rules (not stuffy rules that make you want to fall asleep. The right kind of rules). The Rules don’t take away from the magic, don’t take away from anyone’s power, which I think is cool. There was no oh you have the potential to be so powerful but…the limits say no! crap.
  • One word: Pirates. Excuse me…privateers. Alucard and the crew are delightful. TBH I kind of hated and loved Alucard, which was probably the whole point, so kudos to that Schwab! I would have liked more of the pirating, because pirates are the coolest, duh, but the way the book starts out is perfect, if you ask me. I was stressed from the get go.
  • Calla. Calla, even though she doesn’t have a very large role in the book, holds a special place in my heart. Every time we run into her, I can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy inside, and wish that she would hug me and give me chocolate (which she would, if I were friends with Kell…)
  • The SHIPPING. And this time I’m not talking about pirate ships. I am talking about Lila and Kell. Oh. Em. Gee. GAH. Throughout the book, there is not much of them together. And that’s what’s so FREAKING GENIUS. I was shipping them even when they were apart because… Lila: oh I’m not thinking about him, but is he thinking about me? Kell: she probably isn’t thinking about me, but I can’t stop thinking about her. Calla: YOU TWO ARE IDIOTS JUST KISS ALREADY.
  • This may sound strange, but I loved that I HATED THE KING. Just thinking about him right now makes me want to scratch my eyes out. He loves Rhy, his son and heir, and I can respect that. But he barely even treats Kell like a human being AND I AM MAD LKJIWJELRFIEWHLIFJFDLIWLDIJLEIJWL. Because all Kell wants is to protect Rhy, and that’s all the King wants. So that should make them ALLIES, you say? No.
  • The Tournament. This was an aspect of the book that really surprised me. And honestly, I was thinking “NOOO NOT ANOTHER HUNGER GAMES ONLY WITH MAGIC. But that wasn’t it at all. There were actual rules, and it was friendly (no killing for show and others entertainment) and the
  • COSTUMES ACK I CAN’T SOMEONE HELP ME I AM FLAILING AND I CAN’T STOP. Masks and helmets and capes and coats and knives and jewels and dresses where does it even end? I am SO MAD RIGHT NOW that I have to wait until February to read the next one. Because….I can’t I’m crying right now.


  • I know what you’re thinking. I am raving so much I’m frothing at the mouth, there can’t possibly be anything that I didn’t like. Well. WRONG. There were certain chapters that, while I knew they were necessary, I didn’t really want to read. These were the ones that took place in White London. They weren’t boring, per se, but there was just SO MUCH going on in Red London that I was like NOOOOOO don’t rip me away!!
  • AND THAT’S IT. SO you were almost right. Almost.


Who else is WAITING WITH BATED BREATH for A Conjuring of Light to come out besides me who is dying?



2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Gathering of Shadows / AKA the book that destroyed me

    1. YASS I’m so glad I’m not alone ?
      Also YES WE CAN RAVE ABOUT THE COVER ALL DAY! I love all of the coVers and am especially keen on completIng my collection *rubs hands together excitedly*

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