Petrik's Reviews > A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
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did not like it

It’s unbelievable how I started this book with the lowest possible expectation and it still managed to disappoint me. I know this is a beloved book in the YA community, you might wanna stay away from reading this review if you’re easily offended. Seriously stay away.

I think it’s better for me to start off with the parts I like about the book first, there’s only a few anyway. First, Holland, every single appearance from him made the plot and the book so much better, despite his appearance being rarer than the amount of Hinduism in my city. Second, the last 50 pages of the book were actually quite good, with some flaws but at least it’s captivating. Finally, VE Schwab's prose remained great to read as always. Holland is literally the only character that pushed me into finishing this trilogy cause I need to know more about him and his fate.

Now, for all the shit, A Gathering of Shadows, where do I even begin with the problem in this one? Let’s start with an easy one first. This book is majorly afflicted with the infamous 2nd book syndrome, the first 350 pages are painful to read, pretty much a pointless filler. A cow’s opinion is better than these 350 pages and for god sake a cow’s dialogue is literally only “moo” “moo” “moo”, see how pointless that sounds? Well, that’s how the first 350 pages are. It’s about preparing for a magical arena tournament, which ended up being a huge copycat of Avatar: The Legend of Korra.

The battles in the arena itself are okay at best which made reading the 350 pages of nothing completely a worthless experience. Don't get me wrong, I love slow paced books, most adult fantasy books I read are slow paced and trust me, the books I love used these pages carefully. Building character developments, slowly building relationship, explain more on the world-building aspect etc. Not spending time brooding, doing insta-love, random making out and obsessing over Delilah fucking Bard, which I’ll get into in a moment.

I’m also very disappointed with how much time the characters spent on Red London, seriously there are 4 London, make use of them please. What’s the point of creating 4 London if the story is going to take place almost all the time in Red London?? What are you doing? Trying to make us see the color of apple in London? Every time the story shifted to White London (scarcely) it’s actually so much better. However, the most significant problem I had with the book lies in one and one factor only. The damn characters, especially Lila fucking Bard or Lila fucking bad or Lila fucking Bald, whatever her special damned kind is.

Kell and Rhy spent all their time here fighting and whining over being saved? “WAHHH WAHHHHH YOU SAVED MEEEEE LET ME DIEEEEE BUT I WANNA LIVE AND I’M SAD WAHHH WAHHH YOU PISSED ME OFF”

Dude….. kill yourself… bite your tongue, chop your head off, climb the Big Ben like you belong in the Assassin Creed and jump yourself to death, I don’t care just… stop whining over being saved. Seriously I can’t stress this enough, other than Holland I seriously just want all these characters to die. BUT none of them can compare to the ultimate Mary Sue, Delilah fucking bard, the Wonder Woman, the alien, the predator, whatever she is cause she doesn’t know too.

I was led to believe the main character of this series is Kell, I was wrong. It was Lila, the narrative treated the reader as if we’re brain damaged or have short term memory. It will remind us countless times during everyone’s POV that Lila is unlike most girls. I liked her in the first book and I can’t believe how much I hated her in this installment. She’s an ultimate Mary Sue, apparently 4 months is enough to become a fluent speaker in a new language, and become a magician, from a thief. In the first book she was just a thief. In this one she’s a female Voldemort but wait… I shouldn’t call her a female because she’s one of a damned kind.

Here's most dialogues around Lila in the book, featuring me

Me: Hi Lila
“I am one of a damned kind”

Me: urmm okay? So how are yo--
“I am not most girls.”

Me: ….
“I am not most girls.”

Me: Okay I get it you’re not most girl, you just said—
“I am one of a damned kind”

Me: Okay you fucking E.T I get--
“I am not most girls.”

Me: Hey-
“I am not most girls.”

Kell walking towards me with his endless angst and frown but then, seems like a random thought appeared in his head and he said:
“Lila is unlike most girls.”

Me: STTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA-
“I am not most girls.”

Me: HHHHHHHHHPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!
“I am one of a damned kind”



Drew Barrymore from the movie ‘50 First Dates’ would’ve remember Delilah fucking Bard for the endless repetition in the narrative to always remind the reader that she’s one of a kind, badass, can do shit, put Lila in a Star Wars and she’ll be the ultimate Jedi oh my lord.

“She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.”

Yeah, including my brain for reading your stupidity.

Here’s one of the few trying so hard to be badass but idiotic dialogue.
“Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.”

No shit. What’s next? Everyone’s dead when they’re killed? Everyone’s alive when they have a heartbeat? You can clap if you have hands?

This is a book that should’ve been condensed by at least 300 pages and it would’ve been so much better. There’s way too many useless information that wouldn’t affect anything in the main story. Plus the ending left us in a cliffhanger just when the story FINALLY about to get interesting and now I have to continue because my momma didn’t raise a quitter and I’m not about to quit now. I’ve prepared some alcohol for my next read, I hope it could be better but my expectation for the last book is minus zero.

If you enjoy the book, I'm truly happy for you. I wish I could but I can't.. not for this one. Also, if you’re wondering why I’m reading this series, it’s because VE Schwab tricked me completely into thinking that this will be an adult oriented book like her ‘Vicious’ (which I love) and IT’S NOT! If I knew what I’m getting into, I wouldn't had spend any money I worked hard for into this trilogy.

You can find the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
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Comments Showing 1-50 of 220 (220 new)


Emma aww I'm sorry you didn't like this one, I really enjoyed this series overall but AGOS was definitely my least favorite, it does drag quite a bit. If you enjoyed the end I would recommend still trying the third book, though. it's super fast paced and has lots of Holland :)))


Petrik Emma wrote: "aww I'm sorry you didn't like this one, I really enjoyed this series overall but AGOS was definitely my least favorite, it does drag quite a bit. If you enjoyed the end I would recommend still tryi..."

"lots of Holland" GOOD! cause that's what I need!! I'm glad you enjoy the series though Emma, I wish I could but this one infuriate me so much! xD


Iryna *Book and Sword* Ohhhh I haven't read the review because I just ordered the second book ... just to learn that I might hate it? But I guess I knew this might be the case as it does have Lila on the cover 😑 I'm not a Lila fan.


Petrik Iryna (Book and Sword) wrote: "Ohhhh I haven't read the review because I just ordered the second book ... just to learn that I might hate it? But I guess I knew this might be the case as it does have Lila on the cover 😑 I'm not ..."

oh my god... if you don't like Lila from the first book, you're going to have a bad time Iryna. I like her during the first book believe it or not, now she's on her way to be one of the most annoying female character I ever read in a book


Celeste Aw, you poor thing! I'm so sorry that this book was so awful for you. You're review was hilarious, though! Great job, love.


Petrik Celeste wrote: "Aw, you poor thing! I'm so sorry that this book was so awful for you. You're review was hilarious, though! Great job, love."

It was awful love!! There are a few good thing but that's about it, hopefully ACOL will be better somehow :/


Jiana Yessss Petrik! I agree with everything you've said!! Especially that part on Lila. I literally can't stand her at all omfg I wanted to punch her when I was reading this. I skimmed most her chapters in this one lol. Like you said, the first 60-70% were pointless and just unnecessary fillers!


message 8: by Orient (new)

Orient Great review, Petrik :) I love it when you turn your ranting mode on! :) Hope your next read is worth 5 stars ;) P.S. Awesome dialogue! :)


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Petrik I'm dying. "You can clap if you have hands." Hahahahaha I'm showing this to everyone in my life who also hates this series!! 💕


message 10: by Sana (new) - rated it 1 star

Sana omg your review is gold, esp. about lila the bitch


Hemant Kumar I agree about Lila, it was SO irritating. And I was waiting for some action in this book and just when I thought it was getting interesting it ended. And seriously there was so little of Holland in this - his backstory is the best thing about book#3 if you plan to read it


message 12: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma HOLLAND IN BOOK 3 DESTROYS ME, I get so emotional thinking about everything he's been through. Did you enjoy the first book Petrik?


Petrik Jiana wrote: "Yessss Petrik! I agree with everything you've said!! Especially that part on Lila. I literally can't stand her at all omfg I wanted to punch her when I was reading this. I skimmed most her chapters..."

I should've skimmed her chapters!! Jiana you were right, Lila was bad!! I just saw your review again, thank you so much for agreeing with me!! there are wayyy too many unnecessary parts here it was insane urghhh


Colleen Aww, sorry you didn't enjoy this! You might like book 3 better. Funnily enough, Holland was my least favorite character in this series. XD Though I agree that this book definitely had middle book syndrome.


Petrik Orient wrote: "Great review, Petrik :) I love it when you turn your ranting mode on! :) Hope your next read is worth 5 stars ;) P.S. Awesome dialogue! :)"

Thanks Orient! guess sometimes a bad book is good once in a while I guess to appreciate the good ones xD btw, the next won't be a 5 star cause I'm going to read the sequel so I can be done with this abomination


Petrik Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Petrik I'm dying. "You can clap if you have hands." Hahahahaha I'm showing this to everyone in my life who also hates this series!! 💕"

Please do Mary, please do, save them from this pain before it's too late!!!


Petrik Sana wrote: "omg your review is gold, esp. about lila the bitch"

I read your review again and I wanna hug you and everyone who hated Lila. My god that chick tried to hard to be a badass that I think she literally have a bad ass


message 18: by Mikheil (new)

Mikheil that was hilarious. always a pleasure to read your reviews


Petrik Hemant wrote: "I agree about Lila, it was SO irritating. And I was waiting for some action in this book and just when I thought it was getting interesting it ended. And seriously there was so little of Holland in..."

Thanks for letting me know Hemant, I'm going to continue to the third book tomorrow so I can be done with this trilogy. It's painful to see it in my shelves unread somehow. Seriously Holland is the most interesting character of the series so far and it was a shame to see him got so little screentime


message 20: by Petrik (last edited May 28, 2017 12:27PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Petrik Colleen wrote: "Aww, sorry you didn't enjoy this! You might like book 3 better. Funnily enough, Holland was my least favorite character in this series. XD Though I agree that this book definitely had middle book s..."

hahahaha thank you Colleen!! I wish I could love this book more but I just can't! the middle book syndrome is definitely real in this one! hopefully the next one would be somehow better


Petrik Mikheil wrote: "that was hilarious. always a pleasure to read your reviews"

hahaha thanks Mikheil, I appreciate it! :D


Petrik Emma wrote: "HOLLAND IN BOOK 3 DESTROYS ME, I get so emotional thinking about everything he's been through. Did you enjoy the first book Petrik?"

I gave the first book a 3 star, imo it was quite good! it doesn't infuriate me whatsoever though that's for sure! I like Holland ever since the first book and it pained me to see him getting so few screen time here :/


message 23: by Michael (new)

Michael Britt Hahahaha such a fun review to read! How can you not like that beautifully written sentence?? "Everyone's immortal until they're not." I mean, that's gold right there! Lmao


message 24: by Orient (new)

Orient Petrik wrote: "Thanks Orient! guess sometimes a bad book is good once in a while I guess to appreciate the good ones xD btw, the next won't be a 5 star cause I'm going to read the sequel so I can be done with this abomination "

Tell me when you finish reading and I'll come to root for you, when you start killing the next book in the review!




Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen) I enjoyed this book a bit more than you but OMG that Lila bit is SO ACCURATE.
It was so annoying have to constantly be reminded how 'badass' she was. I just wanted her to go away.


message 26: by Sana (new) - rated it 1 star

Sana Petrik wrote: "Sana wrote: "omg your review is gold, esp. about lila the bitch"

I read your review again and I wanna hug you and everyone who hated Lila. My god that chick tried to hard to be a badass that I thi..."


Omg petrik im crying 😂😂😂


Petrik Michael wrote: "Hahahaha such a fun review to read! How can you not like that beautifully written sentence?? "Everyone's immortal until they're not." I mean, that's gold right there! Lmao"

Hahahaah thanks man! Seriously though, that dialogue is saying "everyone's gotta shit when they have diarrhea" it was so badly written! XD


Petrik Orient wrote: "Petrik wrote: "Thanks Orient! guess sometimes a bad book is good once in a while I guess to appreciate the good ones xD btw, the next won't be a 5 star cause I'm going to read the sequel so I can b..."

Thank you my friend! Well hopefully the next book wont have me rant this much but we'll see!


Petrik Kaylin wrote: "I enjoyed this book a bit more than you but OMG that Lila bit is SO ACCURATE.
It was so annoying have to constantly be reminded how 'badass' she was. I just wanted her to go away."


The entire book wont shut up about her it was so infuriating Kaylin!! I'm happy that you enjoyed this book more than me though! 😊


message 30: by C.P. (new) - added it

C.P. Cabaniss I read the first book and remember liking it pretty well as I read. But after that I completely forgot why I had liked it. And I've had no urge to finish the series. Sorry you didn't enjoy it more though, since you did decide to read it. Haha.


Anna-Emilia haha even though I enjoyed this a bit more than you did your review was a blast to read! "I'm one of a damned kind" LOL xd Funnily enough I couldn't care less about Holland *shrugs* at least you'll get some backstory of his in the last installment, so maybe it's a bit better for you!


Johanna H. Haha this review really made me laugh out loud Petrik! You really are merciless with this book :D
But it makes me a liiiiiiittle bit depressed as well.. I had high hopes for this series because I think the concept has just so much potential.. in theory it has everything it just needs to be executed right!
Like the 4 London's.. such a great innovative idea. Why is V.E Schwab not using them?
I was fooled into thinking the series would be more adult oriented too at first.. I think everyone is tired of whiny, broody "I'm so special" YA characters and it takes so much enjoyment out of every book if you come across one..
And omg Delilah.. I mean Lady Voldemord. I liked her in book 1. What has happened? She sounds totally insufferable here
It looks like the author tried to make her more interesting/badass but ended up butchering her completely..
Do you have the urge to drop the series now?
But hey.. after seeing you praise it i really want to get Vicious too :)


message 33: by Emma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Emma Petrik wrote: "Emma wrote: "HOLLAND IN BOOK 3 DESTROYS ME, I get so emotional thinking about everything he's been through. Did you enjoy the first book Petrik?"

I gave the first book a 3 star, imo it was quite g..."


yeah, the pacing in this one is bizarre. I personally enjoyed it just because I liked the characters, but the majority of what happened was pretty much irrelevant to the rest of the series and felt kinda like random filler stuff. Also I LOVED Alucard, he made this books so much better


message 34: by Mayim (new) - rated it 1 star

Mayim de Vries whoop whoop Petrik! I love when you are with me on the untrendy side of reviews! :D


message 35: by Sasha (new)

Sasha Great review


Emily Sorry you didn't like this one Petrik. I haven't read it yet so I'm not going to read your review just yet.


Emily Oops, I thought this was the review for book three for some reason. Still sorry that you didn't like it though Petrik.


message 38: by mina reads™️ (new)

mina reads™️ "The ultimate Mary Sue" this was the best line in the entire review 😂😂😂😂😂


Margret Omg hahaha!! Now, tell me... is it true that Lila is not like most girls? Cause I wasn't sure from your review


message 40: by Twila (new) - added it

Twila Your Assassin's Creed line killed me! Lololol.
Bro, I tried this when it came out and had to quit after a chapter, I think. Lila's arrogance was already OFF THE CHARTS and I wanted to stab her in the eye so badly. I'm so glad I didn't continue, oh my gosh.
Hopefully, she gets a vicious death in book 3 eh?


message 41: by ☽Luna☾ (new)

☽Luna☾ Lol awesome review !!!! I love this "I'm not like most girls" I'm dead 😂😂😂


message 42: by ☽Luna☾ (new)

☽Luna☾ Can we stab this Lila bitch ?


message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

omg im crying this review was amazingly hilarious and i loved it ahaha!

even tho i absolutely adore this series, i very much enjoyed this, especially this "the Wonder Woman, the alien, the predator, whatever she is cause she doesn’t know too."

ITS SO PERFECT BECAUSE ITS TRUE BUT I LOVE HER ANYWAYS LOLOLOL


Victoria Rose You can clap if you have hands omg 😭incredible


message 45: by Beth The Vampire (new)

Beth The Vampire "climb the Big Ben like you belong in the Assassin Creed and jump yourself to death" LOL! I did this accidentally, and it is such a long way down.....


Nafeeza *Hehehe* Tell us how you really feel. XD I really disliked Lila in this installment, she really grated on me so much so that I wanted to throttle her and wished that in the tournament something terrible had happened to her to teach her that her actions have consequences and she can't just screw people over and get away with it! Sorry it isn't working for you but at least I get a great review out of it from you. :p


message 47: by TS (new)

TS Chan Ahahahahahahaha!! Super entertaining review, my friend! That imaginary conversation was hilarious!!


Petrik C.P. wrote: "I read the first book and remember liking it pretty well as I read. But after that I completely forgot why I had liked it. And I've had no urge to finish the series. Sorry you didn't enjoy it more ..."

Thank you Courtney! I thought the first book was good too though, I gave it a 3 I think but this one was just torture! XD


Petrik Anna-Emilia wrote: "haha even though I enjoyed this a bit more than you did your review was a blast to read! "I'm one of a damned kind" LOL xd Funnily enough I couldn't care less about Holland *shrugs* at least you'll..."

Hahaha thank you Anna! I'm happy that you enjoyed this more than me and that you find my review a blast to read! Holland is the only character I cared about so hopefully the third book will be better for me! :D


L A i N E Y Hahahaha! Well you did have good intention though my friend 'lowest expectation' ;))

I can totally see how you, the HIGH-fantasy veteran, would be disappointed with this one... We're cool though so at least there's that.. 😁

Ps. This is not YA though Petrik! No seriously she uses her name Victoria for YA books ‼️


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