In the second installment of the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, Delilah Bard is aboard the Night Spire as its best thief, while Kell is being closely watched by the King of Red London. It’s been four months since the fateful night where Kell tied his life with Rhy’s, defeated Holland and the Danes, and returned the black stone to Black London, and the urge to run grows stronger in him every day. But he is not alone. Prince Rhy’s mood has turned dark, and to avoid the thoughts that haunt him at night, the prince focuses all of his time and energy into the Essen Tasch, a magical tournament held between London and its surrounding countries. But unbeknownst to most, this year’s tournament will hold many secrets and surprises for all involved.
I’ve said it before and I will say it until the day I die: Victoria Schwab knows how to tell a story. One aspect of her writing that I will always admire is the pacing. Schwab has a way of telling a story quickly, but not too quickly. She doesn’t bog the reader down with recapping what had happened in the previous book, and instead weaves it throughout the new story, placing nuggets at the right spot where the reader will say, “Ah, yes! I remember now.” She also weaves in new characters with the old. Although Delilah Bard is still my favorite character, Alucard Emery has become a close second with his charm and wit.
Out of all of Schwab’s story, A Gathering of Shadows pays the closest homage to Harry Potter with the Essen Tasch. However, it still tells a story all of its own. There are a few unanswered questions by the end, as well as a cliff hanger that will make your heart drop, but all of that makes me even more excited to pick up the final installment in the trilogy, A Conjuring of Light. Seriously, if you haven’t started this trilogy yet, what are you waiting for?