I’ve recently converted to the fandom that is A Darker Shade of Magic and I’m officially a fan of Schwab’s writing. In A Gathering of Shadows we follow Lila, Kell, and Rhys in a new adventure that turns from fun, to competitive, to dangerous, to outright chaos. This book has been such a whirlwind of events (and ships mmm the ships) and it kept me on the edge the entire time.
Again I’ve fallen more in love with Lila and Kell. Not them together–well, yes them together who am I kidding BUT also separately. They both kind of fighting their own shortcomings and doubts.
Lila is finally out at sea fulfilling her dreams of becoming a pirate while also working with magic. There’s definitely something brewing underneath it. Back in my Raven Boys review I spoke about how there’s always this sense of something bigger and that’s exactly the feeling I get from Lila. She can wield magic, that’s pretty obvious, but I feel like there’s something swelling under the surface that’s ready to burst out (Alien style–maybe not as messy. More cool and magic-y), especially with all the mystery shrouding it. What are you Lila? WE MUST KNOW.
Kell on the other hand is feeling the full consequence of his actions for bringing the stone into Red London. It’s really upsetting seeing where he finds tension in a place that used to love him and welcome him. Even more so that him and Rhys are fighting each other and putting tension in between them. The entire time I read they’re interactions I totally understood being an older sister, but at the same time I’m over here saying that they need to be a team. They can’t win by being opposed to each other (WHICH I MEAN UGH SPOILERS).
I don’t want to leave my boy Rhys in the dust either. He’s fighting a lot of demons and a lot of misgivings. I mean you don’t just have stuff like that happen to you and come out of it okay. All the while he’s trying to be the prince/future king that everyone wants him to be and they don’t really want to help him recover at all which is really heartbreaking. The silver lining of this is that Rhys is really hella gay. So gay.
Alucard Emery. Our shiny new pirate boy. Ever since he stepped onto the stage I was like, “Um hi. Yes hello.” I definitely want to see more of him in the last book of this series (cue the tears). I won’t say too much about him because I feel like he’s a WALKING SPOILER. But he’s great. I want more of him. A lot more of him.
In terms of story, Schwab knows how to keep you on the edge especially the last part of the novel. The entire book is just one steep climb on a rollercoaster and it ends right before the drop. I’m still tense. I probably will be until February when the third book comes out. Aside from that, Schwab knows how to weave a story that you can follow but also be completely engrossed in. The action scenes were really great to watch and even though we kind of get a make over scene for Lila, she’s still very much the Lila Bard we know and love. I think Lila Bard and Deryn Sharp (Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld) would be really good friends.
Overall A Gathering of Shadows is a really great sequel. It creates great buildup in the disguise of competition and then when the wave crashes hard, your scrambling to stay standing. I will be waiting to see where the pieces fall on the board. There are so many ways this can go but I really hope we get an even bigger bravado from Lila because Lila is queen.