A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: 23 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 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 obtained a 154-page preview (the first third!) of this novel via NetGalley whilst on holidays, which made for very excellent London reading. I’ve read everything by V. E. Schwab (also known as Victoria Schwab) so far (even her books for middle-grade, that’s how good she is – anything is very readable no matter what age it’s aimed at) and each book somehow keeps getting better than the last – even if the last book is easily one of my favourites for that year.
As I said in my write-up of the first book in this series, A Darker Shade of Magic, this book really reminds me of Scott Lynch’s style in The Lies of Locke Lamora – Schwab has said she’d a fan of his work previously, and here you can see the beauty of descriptions of the places visited, the richness of the items that dominate the rooms.
A Gathering of Shadows starts with Lila, a thief and pirate and all kinds of awesome. The feats she manages to pull off are pretty awe-inspiring, and it makes me wonder how the heck Schwab manages to come up with them in the first place. We also meet with Kell again, along with his brother Rhy, and we’re introduced to the Element Games. We see the after effects for the connection between Kell and Rhy, which makes you wonder what else could be to come in the rest of the book…
This is easily the most anticipated book for 2016 (unless we get the new Scott Lynch book, then it’s pretty even!) I’ve pre-ordered four copies – paperback, hardback (it’s just too pretty not to!), kindle and iBook versions. Because this is a book I’ll need on every platform, it’s printed in such a beautiful way (the title and chapter page illustrations are just wow, just look at the artwork!) that I’ll need it in hardback, and then I’ll need a paperback to fling at people so I can get as many people as possible to read it.
Check this one out. It’s going to be so dang excellent. And also read the first A Darker Shade of Magic so you get to experience just how amazing these characters and worlds are.