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

“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. And once you do, it makes you realize that everything you were actually doing before wasn't actually living. It was just making do. Call me crazy, but I think we do the best living when the stakes are high.” 

Name: A Gathering of Shadows

Author: V.E. Schwab

Series: Book 2 of Shades of Magic Series

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Magic, Adventure, Family Delilah Bard, Kell, Rhy and more of our favorite magical characters are back in this thrilling sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. 4 months have passed since Lila left Kell and didn't look back, 4 months after dark magic left Kell's London almost without repair and 4 months since Kell tied his life to his brother's. As a magical tournament begins, it is the perfect opportunity for all of our characters to take a breather and relax. However, magic in other's London's are changing. And as one London begins to bloom another must fall.  I loved everything about the book just as much as I loved the first one. The magic, the adventure, the romance is all there perfectly balanced. One of my favorite things about the book is the narrator. He who sees all and explains the thoughts and ideas of all of our characters from the evil ones to the ones we loved. I was infatuated with the idea that Holland is alive, because no matter how "evil" he might be I know that deep down he is going to be of aid in upcoming books. Or I wish it because I really want Holland to redeem himself and that is so weird of me because I usually never have a soft spot for the villains. Except for him, I just feel for him in so many ways.  Rhy is incredible in this book, you can see him struggling with the fact that his life is tied with Kell's and that also means that in a way he lost his own life. Kell is also struggling as he is not seen as another son for the Queen and King but also the reason why their real son might die someday, allowing the story to add another additional theme to the plot: family trouble.  The romance is a little more present in this installation, which is another thing that I was aching to see develop in this one. It's all there, not enough for it to take away from the main story but enough that you're aware of the growing admiration and love that exists between Lila and Kell. Even more so was the incredible addition of Emery and Rhy which makes the story have another dimension.  “I am Delilah Bard, she thought, as the ropes cut into her skin. I am a thief and a pirate and a traveler. I have set foot in three different worlds, and lived. I have shed the blood of royals and held magic in my hands.”  I feel that another amazing aspect of the story was Kell's characterization. I thought I knew him in the first book, but this second book has allowed for Kell to grow as a character and for us as readers to understand his ups and downs and his love for his family and for Lila.  Another incredible magical world winding book by V. E. Schwab and yes I already started the third and last installment although it might break my heart to finish these series I know it will be an amazing finale.  --- 5 stars ---