destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]'s Reviews > A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
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#1 A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★★
#2 A Gathering of Shadows ★★★★★
#3 A Conjuring of Light ★★★★★

I cannot believe that I waited nearly a year between the first book and this one, but here we are, and now I’m convinced that Victoria sacrificed an unhealthy number of virgins for her writing skills, because this series is absolute magnificence. I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so much that I was nervous to see if the second book would hold up, but let me tell you, it absolutely did, and now I am both horrified and desperately in need of seeing how it all ends up.

“I am Delilah Bard,” she thought, as the ropes cut into her skin. “I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands.”

I only thought that I loved the characters of this series in the first book, but that was nothing compared to the feelings that I have for them by this point. There’s Lila, who took me a little bit of time to be won over by in ADSOM, but who has me utterly captivated in this installment. Her brash, headstrong, clever nature is only magnified even further as she comes into her own in the world of Red London, and while she still feels this evident need to prove herself and to come out on top, her entire attitude has been tempered—if only slightly—by the pains that her previous actions have caused. She’s also still determined to avoid dealing with her feelings towards a certain redheaded Antari, which lends beautifully to the incredible slow burn of the brief romantic undertones to these books.

“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 stars divide you.”

Precious Kell, on the other hand, is still my favorite; I’m constantly torn between being amazed by his skills and abilities, and wanting to jump in and protect him from the cruelty he faces, not only as one of the last remaining Antari, but as the neglected adopted son of the King and Queen. My years of reading fantasy novels have taught me that it’s difficult for me to relate to “lawful good” characters who rely so heavily on their virtues and honor, as Kell does, but Victoria writes him so flawlessly that it never grows stale or predictable. On top of everything else, his relationship with his brother, Rhy, is one of the most wholesome, pure, and precious things I have ever seen in my entire life.

Rhy held Kell’s pain in his hands, while Kell held Rhy’s life in his.

Rhy Maresh is, I think, one of the most lovable fictional characters who has ever been written. I don’t know if I have ever met a fan of this series who does not adore him at least a little bit, especially upon getting to know the quiet self-loathing that resides under his charisma and charm. He broke my heart so many times during his struggles with the lengths Kell has gone to in order to save him, and the fact that he values his own presence in the world so little is crushing, yet nevertheless, Rhy is a constant source of drama, amusement, and sweet brotherly love in a world full of violence and fear. The fact that both of these princes would so readily give up everything for one another is perhaps my single favorite aspect to this gorgeous series thus far.

“Fix your crown, my prince,” he called back as he reached the door. “It’s crooked.”

Of course, this review would be wholly incomplete without taking a moment to talk about the utterly fantastic addition to the cast: Alucard Emery, privateer, playboy, magical aficionado, and captain of the Night Spire crew. He is hilarious, delightful in every way, and an absolute deviant who never fails to keep you guessing. I love his entire presence in the story, and though I am left with a million and one questions about his past and how it relates to the lives of the Maresh family, it is easily one of the things that I am most excited about tying up in A Conjuring of Light.

“Magic is tangled, so you must be smooth.
Magic is wild, so you must be tame.
Magic is chaos, so you must be calm.
Are you calm, Kell?”

Besides the wonderful cast of characters (including one special individual who I’m not going to mention here for fear of spoiling anyone, but let me say that I am absolutely ecstatic to see things through his perspective on occasion, and terrified to see what he will do next), there’s also the fact that, once again, Victoria proves her writing prowess through incredible action scenes and magical world-building. There is a tournament featured in this installment that never grows stale or dull; despite its potential for repetition, as is frequent with “trials” in books, not once did I lose the feeling of gripping the edge of my seat.

“I gave him my life, but you cannot ask me to stop living.”

This sequel also delves much further into the history of Red London and its surrounding lands, as well as the political climate between the kingdom of Arnes and its allies and potential enemies. It was such a fantastic buildup of information, but I can’t help but wonder how it can all possibly be addressed in the finale. That said, I have no doubts that I will be pleased with how everything turns out (and it doesn’t hurt that I know there are further books coming along in the future, too!).

They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn’t know which one of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding.

I don’t think I can say too much more without spoiling any of the twists and turns in this installment, so I’ll end this review on this note: if you enjoy fantasy worlds with lovable characters, a brilliant (yet never overdone) magic system, world-building and history for days, and enough twists and turns to never let you find a moment’s rest, I cannot recommend this series highly enough—and I cannot wait to read the final piece to the story!

---

Buddy read with Terry and Julie! ♥♥♥

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
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Reading Progress

April 14, 2017 – Shelved
April 14, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
March 3, 2018 – Shelved as: audio
April 4, 2018 – Started Reading
April 4, 2018 –
page 62
12.11%
April 5, 2018 –
page 62
12.11% "The UK paperbacks of these books are some of the most gorgeous books I've ever seen, so I don't regret buying them, but the font is so small and the spine is so hard not to crack that I'm putting this on hold until my hardback edition delivers. 😭"
April 7, 2018 –
page 173
33.79%
April 8, 2018 –
page 231
45.12%
April 9, 2018 –
page 300
58.59%
April 10, 2018 –
page 360
70.31%
April 13, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites
April 13, 2018 – Shelved as: fantasy
April 13, 2018 – Shelved as: diverse-reads
April 13, 2018 – Shelved as: lgbtqiap
April 13, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 19, 2018 – Shelved as: adult
July 8, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-digital
July 8, 2018 – Shelved as: owned-physical
September 9, 2018 – Shelved as: otp

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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Sol ~ TheBookishKing Good O’le Pain 😵😭😭😵


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Solomon S. wrote: "Good O’le Pain 😵😭😭😵"

I can't handle this right now tbh 😭😭😭


Marissa Jager I literally had to start the third book immediately because I couldn't even handle it!


Sol ~ TheBookishKing it is so unexpected and the Pain Levels were HIGH, the only cure is ACOL😍🙌🏽


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Solomon S. wrote: "it is so unexpected and the Pain Levels were HIGH, the only cure is ACOL😍🙌🏽"

Marissa wrote: "I literally had to start the third book immediately because I couldn't even handle it!"

I'm buddy reading ACOL next month, but I literally RAN across my house to my shelves and grabbed it to see what the first page said because I couldn't stand not knowing! Like... (view spoiler)


Sol ~ TheBookishKing RIGHT OMG!!! like could you imagine having to wait a year if we read it when it came out 😱 i woulda died !!! thank God ACOL is there thooo


Misty That cliffhanger gutted me💔


Faith (BookSelf ~ You Are What You Read) That ending ended me


Elise (TheBookishActress) :) glad you liked it :)


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Solomon S. wrote: "RIGHT OMG!!! like could you imagine having to wait a year if we read it when it came out 😱 i woulda died !!! thank God ACOL is there thooo"

I legit COULD NOT IMAGINE. Nope. No.


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Elise wrote: ":) glad you liked it :)"

Misty wrote: "That cliffhanger gutted me💔"

SAME!


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Elise wrote: ":) glad you liked it :)"

Thanks love! <3


Reynita Maharani ★ The Night Reader ★ I loved the first book but I didn't love it as much as the first book, which made me sad. I wish I liked it more. ☹️
And I'm looking forward to read your review! 😊


destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries] Reynita wrote: "I loved the first book but I didn't love it as much as the first book, which made me sad. I wish I liked it more. ☹️
And I'm looking forward to read your review! 😊"


Oh no, I'm sorry! And thank you! <3 Hopefully I'll get it posted this weekend or early next week - I'm so behind on reviews lol!


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