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A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab

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★★★★

She bent most of the rules. She broke the rest.

There are four Londons, layered on top of each other, each existing without knowing of the other.

Black London – wild, untamed magic. All-consuming madness.
White London – crippled, desperate, hungry magic. Slowly dying.
Red London – vibrant, thriving, full of magic
Grey London – the “boring” London, no magic, no spark, no nothing.

Each world is sealed though a special being(an Antari (ultra-rare, ultra-powerful magician) can travel between (like Kell, from Red London).

Years ago, Black London fell to the mad magic and was completely sealed – also sealing the fate of all those who lived there.

Four months ago, after a series of circumstances, a black stone from Black London made its way to Red London, infecting and spreading the corrosive magic.

It was thrown back into Black London, along with Holland (the Antari from White London).

Delilah Bard, a Grey Londoner, managed to finagle her way into Red London, help save the day and worm her way into Kell’s heart.

“Oh yes, your relationship with Miss Bard is positively ordinary.”
“Be quiet.”
“Crossing worlds, killing royals, saving cities. The marks of every good courtship.”

But, instead of settling down, Lila Bard decided to sail off and become a pirate (yes, really).

“I know where you sleep, Bard.”
She smirked. “Then you know I sleep with knives.”

Now that Kell has been expressly forbidden from any unnecessary travel between Londons and Lilah is who-knows-where – for the first time, Red London looks grey to him.

Rhy, Kell’s brother-in-name and prince of the land, decides to take over the Element Games (international magic competition) and smuggle Kell into it to help him blow off steam.

Everyone thinks I have a death wish, you know? But I don’t want to die – dying is easy. No, I want to live, but getting close to death is the only way to feel alive.

But what once began as a fun, innocuous romp is quickly twisting out of their control. Soon, the brothers learn that Black magic never dies…

Everyone’s immortal until they’re not.

This book was so much fun!

It truly felt more like a companion book than an actual continuation of the series and I did not mind a bit.

(Companion – because of the random tournament taking up a majority of the page space.)

It was so much fun to read about the weird, whimsical worldof Red London – the different countries and cultures were vibrant and extremely well-done.

I found myself not enjoying Delilah’s character as much as I did in round one.

Book one she was bada** and one tough cookie…but it felt like this round she just took everything over.

It felt like the book was more focused on fulfilling Lilah’s every whim rather than a realistic progression of the plot and development of the characters.

Also, anyone else starting to get annoyed with the Holland thing? The rest of the characters have almost a ridiculously over-the-top hatred of him.

It’s like, they know Holland’s every move was commanded by the White London’s rulers and he was tortured continuously for years…and yet they’re all like, “mmm…Holland, you are a garbage human.”

Doesn’t make sense to me.

All in all, I did enjoy this book and I am excited for round III!

Interested in this one from VE Schwab? Buy it here:  Amazon

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