REVIEW | A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab


A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Pages: 512
Tor Books
Published: February 23rd 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Goodreads Rating: 4.38/5
My Rating: 4.5/5

I’m a little embarrassed, you see.  Why? Because I finished A Gathering of Shadows less than 48 hours after I finished A Darker Shade of Magic.  I just couldn’t not read it, you know?  After I wrote my review for ADSOM (check it here) I quickly realized how much I wanted to continue on with the series. So I did. It was REALLY good.

In fact,


AGOS summed up: angsty | magic everywhere | holy crap | WOW PLOT TWIST | WOW ROMANCE HAS BLOOMED | is that a dress? | CLIFFHANGERRRRRR!!?!

That’s all for non spoilers everybody, get outta here if you haven’t read this book yet.


What I Enjoyed

  • There is still fantastic dialogue! I think it was even better than last time.  The storyline and characters were so much more interesting because we got past most of the slow world building in the first book.  Schwab really gets into the characters and we see sides of them of them that we didn’t see in the first book.

“What are you supposed to be?” he asked.

There was a glint of mischief in Rhy’s eyes as he bowed with a flourish. “A commoner, of course.”

Kell shook his head. It was a superficial ruse. Despite the clothing, Rhy’s black hair was glossy and combed, his fingers dotted with rings, his emerald coat clasped with pearlescent buttons. Everything about his registered as royal. “You still look like a prince.”

“Well, obviously,” replied Rhy. “Just because I’m in disguise, doesn’t mean I don’t want to be recognized.”

  • I absolutely LOVED the conversation Kell and King George the IV had about religion.  It’s not often you see this type of conversation in fiction and it’s not often it’s done well.  I’m not sure why this hit home for me, but I feel like there was an underlying message here.

“I didn’t say that,” answered Kell. “I suppose you could say we worship magic. That is our higher power.”

“That’s heresy.”

Kell raised a brow, his hand slipping from the tomb’s lid. “Your Majesty, you worship a thing you can neither see nor touch, whereas I worship something I engage with every moment of every day. Which is the more logical path?”

George scowled. “It isn’t a matter of logic. It is a matter of faith.”

Faith. It seemed a shallow substitution, but Kell supposed he couldn’t blame the Grey-worlders. Everyone needed to believe in something, and without magic, they had settled for a lesser god. One full of holes and mystery and made up rules.


  • I also loved the pirate privateer/thief adventure Lila was on at the beginning of the book.  I especially loved our hunky Captain Alucard Emery.  I totally envisioned him to be EXACTLY like my favorite character from Once Upon a Time, Caption Hook*.  Not only is this man captain of a ship, magical as hell, AND a Royal…


*UGGGGHHHHHH, yes please. Just look at the GIF, he’s perfect. @_@

..He’s also a past lover of Rhy Maresh (feel the fangirling below)

“You’ve come for the tournament,” said Rhy, making small talk.

Alucard pursed his lips at the attempt. “Among other things.”

Rhy hesitated, unsure what to say next. With anyone else, he would have had a flirtatious retort, but standing there, a mere stride away from Alucard, he felt short of breath, let alone words.  He turned away, fidgeting with his cuffs. He heard the shine of silver and a moment later, Alucard snaked an arm possessively around his shoulders and brought his lips to the prince’s neck, just below his ear. Rhy actually shivered.

“You are far too familiar with your prince,” he warned.

“So you confess it, then?” He brushed his lips against Rhy’s throat. “That you are mine.”


*PS this is now high competition for my highest rated SS couple, Malec.

Other Thoughts

  • KELL + LILA THOUGHHHHH. Why did it have to take so long for them to finally face each other? Also, DRESS?! LILA PUT ON A DRESS TO SEE KELL. It was so sweet and yet Kell had to have a tantrum and get all angry.
  • KELL WAS ARRESTED BY ORDER OF HIS “FATHER”. Holy fuck!  I’m not really surprised, but it added a huge nail in the Maresh+Kell family coffin. He grew up with these people and now they suddenly treat him like an outsider.  He SAVED their son from death and yet the King and Queen are PISSED about it.  It will be so interesting to see what happens in the next book.

What I Didn’t Really Like

Only one thing, but I didn’t like how Lila decided to enter the tournament with other experienced wizards.  She literally came into Red London four months ago and suddenly has all these magical abilities that were on par with experienced wizards.  Delilah is great but does she really have to be that great?  I guess it would have been worse if Schwab had her actually win the tournament*.

*thank freaking god she didn’t

So I figured instead of doing a formal review for sequels, I would just talk about things I liked/disliked.  This book was really awesome, I very much preferred it over the second. .

What did you think of AGOS?

12 thoughts on “REVIEW | A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

  1. Summer @ Xingsings says:

    A Gathering of Shadows is still one of the best sequels I’ve ever read. I didn’t have high expectations after ADSoM, which was slightly too simple of a fantasy and disappointing for me. But I loved AGoS significantly better. And I can’t agree more. The romance was so swoonworthy; I definitely ship Lila and Kell a lot more because of book two. That balcony scene though!


    • cat says:

      Damn right that balcony scene, it was so sweet! I’m way more 😍 over Alrhy though, holy crap that’s a pile of steam. AGOS was way better and I definitely think it had something to do with the fact we weren’t being introduced to the world as much. Whereas in ADSOM it was a LOT (obvs necessary but slow).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    I really love your review, and I am so so beyond thrilled you loved this book as well! You always know it’s an amazing series when you have to start the next book straight away don’t you!
    Also I was completely right about you shipping Alucard and Rhy after book two! 😀 I was the same in the beginning though; I thought there was something between Lila and Rhy at the end of the first book but after Alucard’s very first scene with Rhy I began hardcore shipping the two of them 😀 And I’ve got to say I do love Kell and Lila together as well!


    • cat says:

      Yes it was so good!! So glad I finally explored the world of Schwab.

      AND YES OMGGGGG ALRHY IS LIFE. I’m still kind of “eh” about Kell and Lila, I like it but I’m not passionate about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. snowlyramble says:

    Great review! Alucard and Kell are defintely my fave characters 🙂 Oh gosh and I definitely agree with you about Lila and the Essen Tach just 4 months after she arrives in Red London. I didn’t really understand why she felt she had to take part in it!


    • cat says:

      I feel like it was such a Lila thing to do but wtf, she legit was just getting into magic. I don’t know. I really dislike when authors make characters seem invincible and abnormally great. That’s why I was glad when she actually lost #hiss.

      Liked by 1 person

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