In the second volume of the Shades of Magic series, four months have passed since Kell and Lila returned to Red London. A lot has changed, and life isn’t easy.
Now that his life and Rhy’s are tied, Kell is feeling a great deal of pressure. King Maxim and Queen Emira keep Kell on a short leash, fearful of both his power but also what would happen to Rhy if Kell were harmed. To release his frustration, Kell practices combat in the depths of the palace but the edge is ever present. Rhy, for his part, is equally frustrated at his lack of strength and dependency. But instead of practicing combat, Rhy takes to the streets and his cups.
Meanwhile, Lila has found herself employed on the Night Spire, a privateer ship captained by Alucard Emery. She’s been practicing her magic, thanks to lessons from her captain. But Lila still has no idea who – what – she is. When the Night Spire returns to Red London so that Alucard can participate in the Elemental Games, Lila suddenly finds herself wanting to join as well. The participants are already chosen, so how can she enter?
Kell and Lila’s paths will cross again, in a way they didn’t expect. Unbeknownst to them, things are changing in White London. And someone will soon come for Kell.
A Gathering of Shadows continues the story of Kell and Lila. It’s more emotional than its predecessor considering the changes – emotional and physical – that occurred in A Darker Shade of Magic. While I prefer Darker, I feel Gathering was a nice sequel. Most of the action is in the last one third of the book, when the Games actually begin. But that’s not to say he first part isn’t intense; it’s very emotionally raw as each character tries to come to terms with their new lot in life.
And of course there is a cliffhanger. It’s not a Schwab book if there isn’t a major cliffhanger. While Gathering may not be my favorite volume, I still love it. And I cannot wait for A Conjuring of Light to be released in February.
My rating: 4/5