Narrator: Michael Kramer, Kate Reading
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Published by Tor on February 23, 2016
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall
A Gathering of Shadows jumps right back into the world of Red London (or at least the sea in that world) with Lila trapped on a boat….and a scene that unfolds in a way that reminded me immediately why I love this series so much. Lila is still my favorite, with her murky motivations and even murkier sense of morality, and yet I feel like I get her. Kell is still tortured, perhaps eve more so now that he holds two lives in his hands. I found his relationship with Rhy and Rhy’s parents to be sad and fascinating. Lila’s months as a pirate have changed her. Her captain, Alucard, is the mentor she didn’t know she needed. And while he is very suspicious of her, I like the friendship they strike. His participation in the Element Games gives Lila what is perhaps her craziest idea, but those games (a sort of magic Olympics) were an excellent backdrop for this story. Oh, but it’s not all intrigue and murder. My Kellilah shipping heart was so happy, and there seems to be another intriguing romance afoot, which may or may not amount to anything, but it sure is fun to hope, right? (I know these books are not about the romance, but that’s how I read.) There is also a narrator and story line that grows more and more evil as the book progresses, with an ending that will make you curse the author, for sure! As before, V.E. Schwab has crafted a totally engrossing story with her beautiful writing and amazing imagination. I should have waited to listen to this because now it seems like book three is an eternity away!
The first book had one narrator, while A Gathering of Shadows has two. While the lack of English accents was annoying to me (whenever possible, have an English accent) I liked the two narrators. They weren’t amazing, but they weren’t terrible. It didn’t take away from the story and it was nice having a different narrators for Kell and Lila. It makes it easier when switching points of view. I think that I will wait for the audio of book three to continue this series. If you are on the hunt for a series on audio, you won’t go wrong with Shades of Magic!