Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like 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.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.
Picking up months after the ending of A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows plunges into the storyline with our favorite rule-breaking, thrill-seeking, attachment-phone thief Lila Bard tricking a shipful of pirates into capture. She is a crew-member aboard the Night Spire, a ship owned by pirate (he prefers privateer) Alucard Emery. He has a past concerning Rhy and Kell, but that would be spoiler. Meanwhile, Rhy and Kell are trying to find some balance with the bond, that tugs at them both and makes the other share one’s pain. Kell always felt like an outsider in the royal family, but since the events of the Black Night, the King and Queen are treating him like one, too. Rhy is finally feeling the burden of his life and though he keeps up the facade of the carefree prince, he also suffers under the pain of being Kell’s weakness. And over in Black London, something wicked this way comes.
All this is set against the backdrop of the approaching Elemental Games, which are quite a spectacle. Honestly I WANT an adaptation of this book primarily to see those amazing battles come alive. Schwab has written them with so much intensity and flair that they are so real while reading. And I would like to gush more about the developments in the book, but that would be too spoilery. All I’ll say is that magic is waking up in a very different way, and I’m not sure what it means for the four Londons. Also, that ending? Devastating. I honestly was startled to see the Acknowledgements on the next page, instead of an explanation of what happened next – amazing cliffhanger, yes, but it is going to be a long long wait for A Conjuring of Light from here. *sob*
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