Author: V. E. Schwab
Title: "A gathering of shadows"
Book 2 in series Shades of magic
Main characters: Kell, Lila, Rhy and Alucard
This is the sequel in Shades of magic trilogy and you definitely have to read the first book before this one :) it's not one of those series when they are just loosely connected and you can read them however you like... nope, you have to read them in order to understand everything :) and every time something like that happens it always makes writing my review that much more difficult... because there needs to be a completely spoiler free section for the people who are completely new to those books, as well as a part where I warn you that spoilers from previous books are coming :) so prepare thyselves... :) the next paragraph will be about the series / world / characters in general, so all of you are safe to read it :) then the next one will be my thoughts and opinions about this second book, spoiler free when it comes to the actual book I'm reviewing, but absolutely full of spoilers about the previous one, because I cannot do it otherwise :) so all of you not caught up on it should skip it :) and then the last one will be just gushes and praises in general about the awesomeness of this author and series, again, safe for everyone :) so let's begin, shall we? ;)
You may or may not already heard about this series, but in case it's brand new to you, here's what you need to know :) it's a fantasy story, because of magic, set in an alternate version of our world some years ago... think historical setting, but with parallel Londons :) there are four of them: Grey London, which is the one where we live, where magic is basically nonexistent, then there is Red London, where magic is thriving, White London, where it's dying and slowly killing that world with it and once there was also Black London... but magic got out of control there, consuming everything and everyone in its path... all the doors and ways of traveling were cut off, so this... disease won't spread to other Londons... interested yet? :) in that first book we have two main characters... Kell is an Antari, one of the very last ones, and that means he is able to travel between different Londons... he's a messenger for the royal family of the Red London, but his relationship with them is much more complicated than that :) the other main character of that first part of the story is Lila, who is a thief from Grey London... one day she steals something dangerous from Kell and everything changes after that :) it was an amazing start to a series, it introduced the world, rules and characters phenomenally and the writing style was absolutely fantastic :) I highly recommend it to you guys :) now that we have this completely spoiler free part out of the way, we can proceed to the paragraph when I will be talking about very spoilery things, events and people from that first story, so be prepared :)
Ok, last warning people :) SPOILERS from the first book after this :) I loved the first book... the hype surrounding it is definitely well deserved :) you have no idea how happy I was that I had the sequel already waiting on my shelf, cause I dived right into it ;) it's been four months since the Dane twins from White London were killed and sooo much has happened... :) and don't think that since they are dead, we are not gonna go back there... oh, we will... and I was surprised about what we found there... but to be honest, surprised is my main reaction while I am reading this trilogy... seriously, I stopped trying to guess where the plot is going long ago, because I was always wrong :) but back to the book :) we skipped those four months, but along the way we learn what our main characters did during that time... Lila made her dream of becoming a part of the crew on a ship come true... by joining captain's Alucard Emery's crew... *sighs dreamily* I absolutely love him :) he's a brand new character and so interesting... and complex, don't think you have him all figured out... :) but since he is new to the series I won't say anything else about him, only this: prepared to be amazed ;) when it comes to Kell... he is struggling... both him and Rhy, who are now connected because of the bond Kell created to basically bring him back from the dead... each of them deals with that differently... but both of them are restless and all over the place... it was intriguing to see how all of them are dealing with all the traumatic things that happened in the previous story, and if you think that that was intense, just wait for this installment... :) with new characters, even more surprising twists you did not see coming, it's a crazy ride... did I mention that there is also a magical tournament? yep, you read that correctly :) and it includes magicians from other countries, so we get to know a bit more about the rest of the world and their relationship with magic... in fact, there will be another series set in this world, but I have zero knowledge about it... basically, I'm afraid to read what it will be about, because I don't want to spoil myself about certain events or fate of some people... I will do it after finishing the third book :) but I am already excited to explore this world even more ;) now that I shared with you all what's the second book is about, let me tell you why I loved it :) and don't worry, that last paragraph won't contain any spoilers about the story whatsoever :)
Ok, if you skipped this previous paragraph to avoid spoilers, you can read this one safely :) I will tell you all about why I loved this book, but once again, it will be completely spoiler free for every one :) I loved the first book... even though it took me what feels like forever to read, but it's only because I wanted it to last, cause it was soooo good :) so my expectations were high when I started the sequel... and man oh man... this one was even better :) we learned more about the characters we already loved and met new ones, that charmed their way into our hearts... we saw character development and growth... it was a great balance between exploring what we already know, with lots of action :) I was once again blown again... but be prepred... this one ends on a cliffhanger, so be sure you have that last book ready to go ;) I was yet again so impressed with the phenomenal writing style... so much so, that I have several other books by her on my immediate wishlist :) and by that I mean I will get them after christmas ;) the sequel was so different from the first book, and yet just as amazing... if not slightly better :) if you haven't read this book, or this series in general, definitely go do it immediately... you have no idea what you're missing out on ;)