98. (98) – A Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab

The middle book in the Shades of Magic trilogy, A Gathering of Shadows is a worthy sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic. A Gathering of Shadows moves quickly and is fun throughout. It’s a universe built on an interesting magic system but a story that works largely because of the characters. The stakes often feel lower than they did in A Darker Shade of Magic, focusing largely on a magical competition in Red London.

The events of the first novel loom large throughout as Lila, one of the two main protagonists, refocuses her life in her new world and works to learn the magic she had so recently discovered while Kell, the other main protagonist, must deal with the consequences of how he saved his brother Rhy’s life. All the while a threat is looming in White London (one of the three versions of London that are the main settings for the series), a threat that is building on what happened in the previous novel.

It’s hard to find a central conflict of the novel, it’s mostly the characters dealing with their own issues with this magical contest as a backdrop and a larger threat looming on the periphery. However, getting to be in Lila Bard’s head again is well worth the read. Like many middle trilogy novels, the end left me longing to read more as the looming White London threat begins to unfold.

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

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