Review: A Gathering of Shadows

My Review of A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

My summary: (Spoilers for Book 1) Kell and Rhy deal with the fallout of the now infamous Black Night, for which not only the country, but even Kell’s adoptive parents blame him. Lila, now in Red London, manages to get herself hired on a pirate *cough* privateer ship in order to run from …well everything.

Why I picked up this book: Word of mouth. The series is hailed as amazing. I’m just catching up.

What I knew going in: It had actually been long enough since I read the first book that I sort of had forgotten what happened. I knew Kell could go between worlds with rare magic, that Lila reluctantly helped him, and then things went bad.

My response: Truthfully, I was not all that impressed by the first book. I thought it was alright, but while I liked Kell (he’s just my type) I didn’t much like Lila and when I got to the end of the book I don’t remember being very impressed.

Something changed between when I read that book and this. Either Schwab got a lot better at writing or I leveled up a few times in reading between the books. (Or both.) The writing was lyrical and kept impressing me. And the relationships between the characters felt so much more real in this book. I marked several conversations to go back to because I just loved the way the characters talked to each other.

And the story itself felt smooth and natural, which is some of the highest praise I give to a book. It was still a second book (ie, setting up for the third) but it gave me the payoffs I wanted, and several that I wasn’t aware I was looking for.

Do I recommend this book?: Yes.

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