V. E. Schwab: “A Gathering of Shadows” (c) 2016.

“A Gathering of Shadows” is book 2 of the trilogy “Shades of Magic” by V. E. Schwab.

The trilogy is a very imaginative, fascinating and captivating fantasy of magicians and four parallel Londons, existing at the same time: Red London, Grey London, White London, and Black London. The four Londons are interconnected by magic. Once any magician could travel between them but now only a few have that power.

“A Gathering of Shadows” is the story in particular of three magicians:

Lila (Delilah) Bard is from Grey London. Kell is one of the most powerful magicians, an Antari magician, who lives in Red London, but he has no memory of his family or his original home. Alucard Emery is from Red London.

The story is set at a time when magic is widespread in Red London. A devastating struggle to control magic has left White London in a chaotic state, its king and queen have been killed. Grey London was once a place of magic. Black London apparently no longer exists, and is presumed to have been destroyed by magic.

Kell is one of the few magicians who can travel between the parallel Londons. He is a royal emissary for Red London. His path crosses that of Lila Bard in Grey London.

Lila Bard speaks with a royal accent, she is a street thief, and very capable, dangerous and ferocious in defending herself. She is unstoppable when she takes on a challenge. She discovers she has a magician’s gift when she follows Kell into Red London, and ends up fighting with him to save Red London from the White London king and queen.

Lila is a restless soul, and she sails as a crew member on board Captain Alucard Emery’s ship “Night Spire”. Alucard Emery is a royal privateer for the Red London royalty, and a magician. Lila learns from him more about magic, the skills, the mindset, to control and shape magic, to see, feel, and think of magic as a living thing.

Master magicians can summon the powers from the elements air, earth, water, oil, and bone. In Red London, excitement and tension rises as the “Essen Tasch” or the Element Games approach. The Games are a competition in which magicians fight their opponents using the elements of air, water, earth and oil as weapons. Magicians from the empires of Arnes (Red London), Vesk and Faro converge to compete.

Alucard Emery is one of the competitors. Kell is an Antari magician, a powerful magician, and cannot compete. Or can he? Lila is not on the list of competitors but she is determined to find a way to compete.

The trilogy “Shades of Magic” by V. E. Schwab:

A Darker Shade of Magic (2015)

A Gathering of Shadows (2016)

A Conjuring of Light (2017)