I know that I have been out of the English reviews for quite a while. But I am back! Have been missing this review and the chances to talk to the international community. I have a full first semester of the year but hopefully I will have a more tranquil second one. And what a better way to be back than by writing a review about A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab?
Before you continue reading please note that this is the second instalment in the Darker Shades of Magic Trilogy and there will be spoilers with regard to the first book. If you haven’t read the first one yet, I will recommend for you to check my review on that one by clicking here and then if you please go and read the book. Now that everyone is warned I can proceed with my review.
A gathering of shadows picks the story four months after the events of the first book and all the characters are dealing with the aftermath of what happen. Lila is adapting to a new world and learning how to function on it, and Kell and Rhy are leading with the fact that now both their lifes are tied and what happens to one it´s felt by the other. On top of that the brothers are preparing for the big magic tournament that will be taking place in Red London and in which some international guest will be hosted.
I have to say that even when I have enjoyed this second instalment I was disappointed by it. It is one of those books that suffers from the second book in a series syndrome. However, the reading was appealing and highly entertaining, mostly because the world that miss Schwab have created is marvellous and really interesting.
This book as I have mention has some flaws but also has some strengths and I am intending to discuss all of them with you in the following paragraphs.
The characters are one of the best things of this book. I particularly like Kell even when he is not what I was expecting from the first book. It´s a character that has been able to evolve according to what have been happening to him not only during the las four moths but due all that he has been enduring his entire life. True, he is in a privilege position but still he feels like he doesn’t belong, and the last events are proving that he might be more right that he will probably like.
Lila is another character that I enjoy even when I consider her to be a bit of a Mary Sue. The parts of the books that are told from her perspective are sometimes annoying because the reader is constantly reminded that she is “no-usual-girl”. I think I have mention this before, but in case someone was missing it I will repeat: I am not stupid and do not need a constant remainder of things; I don’t need the author to repeat the same to me over and over, I can retain data from one page to the following. That is something that really annoys me. Why do authors think readers are idiots and need constant reminders of things?
As for the rest of the characters I have liked that in this book we have a chance to meet more deeply some characters from the first book such as Rhy. I have also enjoyed the introduction of the new ones, particularly Allucard, even when I am not particularly fond of him. I think my dislike for the personality of Allucard is because of Kell, I am pretty sure that those who have read the book will understand me. Those who haven’t go read the book and tell me if you agree with me.
With regard to the plot I have to say that I was the biggest pet peeve of the book. The idea with the tournament was grant but, in a way, reminded me of The Goblet of Fire. However I fell that that plot line is widely misused. I mean you could have create a huge narration for the tournament, and there is only a chapter that is in fact dedicated to the tournament itself. In fact, I think to recall that set chapter was less than a 100 pages long. Seriously? The thing is that the author uses the majority of the book to settle things and to introduce a conflict for the third book and that kind of disappointed me as I have heard great things about this book and the tournament element appealed to me greatly.
I must say, however, that there is a point in the book in which you cannot stop reading. In fact, that it´s when the conflict arises, and the things are becoming really interesting. Also it´s when the author decides to end the book in a cliff-hanger that will make have a heart-attack and making you want to jump in the next book ASAP.
As far as the world building goes I have to say that in this book is non-existent. It´s incredible that when you have created a universe that is extremely interesting within the first book you will only focus on Red London. Grey London is only in about 20 pages and with the passing of the former king and the regent becoming king and hunger for power a wilder narration about this London would have been freely appreciated. White London is really interesting, but we see mere glimpses; whereas Black London is completely neglected. I hope this is something that will be corrected in the next instalment.
Overall, I thought that the book was highly entertaining in spite all its flaws and therefore I gave it 4 out of 5 stars and I am highly looking forward reading the next book.
See you all in my next post!