A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab is the second book in the Shades of Magic series. I have done a post on the first in the series, A Darker Shade of Magic, and recommend reading that post first so you are not spoiled in anyway for the series if you haven’t read the first book yet.
Four months have passed since the events in the first book; since Rhy was injured, the Dane twins defeated, and Holland sent to die in Black London with the obsidian stone.
Kell is getting bored, having given up his smuggling habit following their catastrophic consequences. Red London is preparing to host the annual international magical competition, aiming to entertain and maintain relations with neighbouring countries.
While Red London is distracted by all these games entail, another London is coming to life; beginning to thrive. However, magic is a balance, and for a new London to thrive, another must fall.
Overall, I loved this installment even more than the first, which I also gave 5 stars. Seeing more of the magic system was so interesting. The competition was an exciting element! Alucard is such an interesting additional character – I really love him.
However, I do have a few issues with it. I do wish there was a bit more plot for this to be over 500 pages. That being said, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be shorter. That probably doesn’t make sense. Just that, in terms of the series as a whole, this didn’t move things along as much as I would have hoped, because of that I do feel this book has a touch of “middle book syndrome.”
Also, this is probably very controversial, I felt that the LGBTQ+ rep was a bit forced. As if it were added as an after thought. This is my opinion based on how I felt after reading the first book where there were no obvious LGBTQ+ rep. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.