A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab // more like a gathering of feels and tortured souls

YOU GUYS I read this gigantic book and am now totally caught up and ready for A Conjuring of Light. Aren’t you proud? You should be.

I liked A Gathering of Shadows more than the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic. The first book seemed…I’m not sure. Formulaic? Like it was just a piece of what it could have been. The first book was mostly just to show readers the POTENTIAL of this series.

The second book delivers.

Goodreads Description:

– The characters.
Ohh gosh can we just take a moment to talk about how fabulous all the characters are in this book? KELL. LILA. RHY. ALUCARD. Give me all of them all the time. Their conversations, their sarcasm, their banter, their thoughts, their love, their pain. I want all of it forever thank you.

I mean, every character can stand on their own as great, but they also work great together. Kell and Lila LOVE EACH OTHER but will not admit it to themselves, much less each other. (I feel like they didn’t even talk in this book? Did they even have a scene together?)

“I do not know why you two are circling each other like stars. It is not my cosmic dance. But I do know that you come asking after one another, when only a few strides and a handful of stairs divide you.”

And then there’s Kell and Rhy who are wonderful little brotherly beings that literally feel each other’s pain. And then there’s Alucard who…I’m not ure about yet but I think I like him.

– The magic.
The first book in this series focused a lot on the different Londons and how the worlds were different. This one focuses almost exclusively on the world of Red London and the three nations that inhabit it. We learn about different ideologies and magical abilities and see people doing elemental magic everywhere. So that was cool.

– The ending.
I really want to discuss the ending so this is your warning. Carry on if you don’t want to see.

– The length.
It was over 500 pages and I’m not sure much even happened? Like there were the Element Games, but those didn’t happen until about 2/3 the way through and quite honestly they weren’t that exciting. The first half of the book makes you think they’ll be like the Hunger Games but no. Nothing like that.

– The rules.
I appreciate that there was a focus on magic in this book, but I don’t understand how any of it works. Some people can manipulate elements, Kell does blood magic, most people can only control one or two elements, a few can do three. I get that. But how limited is their power? And how does this explain other things that happen–like Alucard making a glass explode, freezing the explosion, and then putting the glass back together? Because that’s not really elemental. It’s just confusing.

I’m also a huge Avatar: The Last Airbender fan so I was constantly comparing it to bending and that might be where some of my confusion came from.

This book was a great sequel, and I’m super happy I gave it a chance. I listened to the first book on audio, but I’m glad I made the switch to Kindle for this one. The audio for this series just doesn’t do it justice, in my opinion. At least in the first book, the narrator’s voice didn’t accurately portray the characters for me. It was better to have them come alive in my head from the words on the page.

I’m really looking forward to A Conjuring of Light.

Rating: 4/5 stars

–Emily
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Have you read A Gathering of Shadows? Did you like it more or less than the first book? 
Who is your favorite character?

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