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It's been four months since Lila came into Kell's life, since Rhy was wounded, since the Dane twins and White London fell, and since a dying Holland and the stone were cast through the rift into Black London. Now, Kell is restless after giving up smuggling items between Londons and he can't help but think of Lila, and he's plagued by ominous dreams. Meanwhile, as Red London is getting ready for the Element Games, an international magical competition meant to strengthen the alliance between neighboring countries, another London is returning to life and for magical balance to be achieved one London will have to fall before another can truly flourish.
A Gathering of Shadows is the perfect sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, one of my favorite reads of 2015. Honestly, I'm not sure why I waited so long to dive back into one of my favorite worlds. Okay, probably nerves - how would my favorite characters fare, would it live up to the hype, would it be too painful? I don't know why I worried now because V.E. Schwab did an absolutely phenomenal job, reeling me right back into everything. Book two takes things to an entirely new level and manages to raise the stakes. The characters are back in top form - Lila, Kell, and Rhy alike. I also really loved our newest addition to the cast, Captain Alucard Emery (I couldn't help myself when it came to his first name - every single time I saw it I had a flash of Lon Chaney Jr. as Count Alucard in Son of Dracula (1943)). He always kept me guessing and he's so charismatic that I couldn't help but be swayed by his personality. He's a real lovable rogue, that's for sure. As I've come to expect from Schwab, the world-building is stunning, the action is epic, the banter is great, the story is intricately plotted, and the prose is irresistible.
Overall, V.E. Schwab's A Gathering of Shadows is a more than welcome return to the world(s) of the Shades of Magic trilogy. What are you doing with your life if you haven't tried this series (or V.E. Schwab's work) yet? At least I don't have to wait long for the release of A Conjuring of Magic, the third and final book in this series because I NEED it in my life right now.
I read this novel from January 5 - January 24, 2017 and my review is also on Goodreads.