A Gathering of Shadows

A Gathering of Shadows Final

A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic #2)

By: VE Schwab

Genre: High Fantasy

Expected Publication: February 23, 2016

Bang Bang Rating: bombbombbombbomb 1/4


It is four months after Lila left Kell to explore the world but she’s back with her new crew just in time for the Elemental Games.

The Good

  • Characters. This book is completely character driven and nothing really happens until the final quarter of the book. Ordinarily, this could be considered boring but because of the brilliance of Schwab’s writing, I actually preferred the first three quarters.  This book is not about the elemental games like most books post Hunger Games; it’s about Kell, Rhy, and Lila and their desire to find out who they are.  Schwab added a new character and storyline with Alucard, the captain of Lila’s new crew. He’s very mysterious-just how I like it.
  • Multiple Conflicts. I believe it’s very important for books to have more than one storyline/conflict otherwise the story becomes one note and boring.  As I mentioned above, everyone is struggling with their identity. For Kell, he wants to know where and/or who he comes from and also how he fits in with the crown.  For Rhy it’s about his future as king and for Lila it’s about what she is.
    • There’s a new villain and I won’t go into that.
    • There’s also something going on in Grey London and once again, that’s all I’ll say.
    • Alucard, as I said above, is mysterious and he has a prominent storyline but I’ll leave it at that.
  • What an Imagination. Schwab has quite an imagination when it comes to world building and magic.  There is a mirror Lila picks up that was VERY cool and I hope it makes a comeback in books three.  It reminded me of the mirror of Erised. Kell’s coat has some new features too. I like to think that the coat is a character all by itself.  I wonder if there’s an animation of Kell’s coat somewhere.

The Bad

  • Delilah Bard.  I think I’m in the minority here but I didn’t like Lila in book 1 and dislike her even more in book 2.  She has no moral fiber.  I know she’s had a hard life and I know it’s tough for a woman and I know she’s saved Kell and Rhy but in my eyes, this doesn’t redeem her for all the shit she’s done to people who didn’t deserve it.
    • She steals from people and it’s out of sport not necessity. When she gets caught, she kills them and there are no consequences. She’s always rewarded somehow.
    • She wants to enter the Elemental Games because she wants to.  She’s got what ever the equivalence is for a Napoleon Complex in regards to being a woman.  She must always prove that she’s a strong woman but being strong doesn’t mean being a liar, a thief, and a cheater.  She prides herself on being a thief and she steals throughout the novel yet she’s NEVER punished for it.
      • I don’t think thievery makes a person strong; it makes them weak.  I understand sometimes one needs to steal out of necessity and she talks about how cold she was at one point in her life but she’s not destitute anymore.  Stealing out of sport is cowardice. If she’s so strong, why can’t she work an honest job and get herself a ship to captain? No, she’s planning to steal a ship and kill the entire crew and she never feels remorse.
        • I don’t find people like this honorable; I find them deplorable.  She’s flawed and I get that but her comeuppance is taking too long and I fear if and/or when she gets it; it’ll be too late.
    • Alucard and Kell point out her recklessness and her lack of consequences so I’m hoping this is foreshadowing for book 3.  I really hope Lila grows in book 3 because as of now, she’s the reason why the rating is lower than I would have given it.
    • She got herself into a couple of jams and I was hoping she would die. That’s how much I dislike her character.  I don’t think this is a Young Elites/Adelina situation where she’s a super villain.  I think the reader is supposed to root for her. SMH.


Schwab is a fantastic story teller, world builder, and character developer but Lila is one of the worst heroine’s I’ve ever read and she’s the reason why AGOS is not 5 stars.

Side Note: I read this as an egalley and at the end, it took me several fruitless swipes to realize that that was the ending-noooooo! 


3 thoughts on “A Gathering of Shadows

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