skip to Main Content

Seven Reasons to Read AGOS by V. E. Schwab

15th June, 2016

Book Review : A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

This book is the second book in the series Shades of Magic. If you have not read A Darker Shade of Magic yet, here are Seven Reasons Why You Should read that first. This review may contain spoilers of Book #1.

Kell and Lila Bard have parted ways: Bard for the open seas, while Kell is now bound to his adoptive brother, Rhys. Red London is caught up in organizing the Element Games, a tournament of magical skills, to maintain friendly relations between the neighbouring countries. A pirate ship has reached the ports of Red London bringing old friends and enemies and a new competitor to the Games. Black London has risen again which means another London might be on the decline.

Why  read it?

One word review: Pirates of the Caribbean meets Harry Potter. SO what is there to hate? If you have a bit more time to spare, here are seven reasons why you should pick this up ASAP:


“If anyone could make the strange seem ordinary, the impossible look easy, it was Delilah Bard”

I cannot resist badass heroines. And I definitely cannot resist an independent lady thief who dreams of being a pirate! And who can resist her snarky banter and cheeky one-liners? She is sharp witted and loves trouble.


What I like about Schwab even if the elements in her stories are not completely new (well, which book would have everything totally new, right?) is her brilliance in providing the right setting. I loved the first one third of the book on the sea, with Lila fighting to be accepted as part of the crew of a ship, The Night Spire under the command of Captain Emery. The scenes were fast moving and reminded me of The Pirates of the Caribbean.

pirates of the caribbean


Lila is a learner (awesome!). I love how she tries to learn magic, unlike Kell who is a chosen Antari (blood magician). The training lessons given by Alucard Emery are fantastic. Well, he has secrets of his own, which is a story for another day.

Book Review : A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab


The Element games are a kind of TriWizard tournament meets bloody fights using only the elements of nature. The descriptions and rules were amazingly original and nail biting. My only complaint – they got over pretty fast.

triwizard tournament


Even though I stated one of the reasons I love ADSOM (Book #1 in Shades of Magic) as there being no romance, I would say there is a whiff of it in this one, which I loved. Nothing too corny, just enough to move your heart.


While ADSOM focused on the different parallel Londons, AGOS spreads around Red London and the neighbouring countries who are thrilled to participate in the Element Games. (Yes, I was reminded of Hogwarts and the other schools of magic).


Talk about leaving you at the edge. As soon I closed the book I had to google when the next book comes out. The Conjuring of Light is going to be released in spring. So better equip yourself with A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows if you haven’t already done so.

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

Few More Reasons:

Well, there are great intense passages on the changes in relationship between Rhy and Kell, both being bound to one another for life by Kell’s spell in the last book. There is a lot of thoughts-in-head going on inside Kell as Red London royalty begin to suspect him and he is confused on where his allegiance lies. Kell and Lila are apart and leading separate lives for a major part of the book which adds to the suspense. The villains just became more evil and magic even more appealing.

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

What I did not like?

  • The LGBTQ character seemed as if the plot was prised open and he was put there. It did not quite blend well in the narrative.
  • The Games begin only towards the end of the book.
  • Relationships were not elaborated. It was more of tell rather than show. I would have loved to read more about the bonds between Kell and his adoptive parents. Rhy and his old lover come face to face and the devastating emotions are cramped to a paragraph.
Book Review : A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab


Did it feel like Pirates of the Caribbean meets Harry Potter meets? YES

Did I like it better than ADSOM? YES

Would I recommend this? YES, read it!

Many thanks to Tangalene for this gift. 🙂

Title : A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
Author : V. E. Schwab
Publisher : Tor Books
Published : 2016
Language : English
Pages : 512
Rating : 4.5/5

Let's discuss

Did you like the Shades of Magic series by Schwab? Would you want Kell and Lila to be a couple or just friends? Which other books of Schwab have you loved? What do you think will happen in A Conjuring of Light, the next book in the series?

Show some Love!

Share this post

[easy-social-share buttons=”facebook,twitter,google,pinterest” style=”icon” template=”grey-circles-retina” twitter_user=”thebooksatchel”]

Add to your Goodreads shelf

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)

About the Author

Victoria (V. E.) Schwab is an American fantasy author best known for her 2013 novel Vicious. She describes herself as the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing with a love for wandering about. She is currently working on the third of the Shades of Magic novels.

This Post Has 38 Comments
  1. Have to say, I expected her to learn magic. And except for the “not like the other girls” portion I thoroughly loved book one. I wish the published would publish it in India though. Great post Resh.

    1. True that Vicky. You can try for a Kindle edition if you are okay with e copies. I really like Delilah Bard. I expected her to learn magic too. And the way she learns it is pretty awesome.

  2. It looks like you’ve found a new favorite fantasy series! I feel like I only recently read your review for book 1!
    Again, excellent review format. Very easy to follow and makes the book so tempting or read. Though I have to start with the first one. I’ll let you know my thoughts when I get around to it.

  3. Ahh great review! I really liked ADSOM, and I’m really excited to read that one, I heard it’s even better than the first book, and from the way you’re selling it in your review, it makes me want to buy it NOW. I love Lila’s character and I’m so, so glad we get to see her more! But that cliffhanger ending…Well, I’m impatient, but I’m also wanting to wait closer to the third book’s release date, because… well, I’m bad with cliffhangers, haha 🙂

    1. Me too! I can’t wait for the next one. And so glad you are a Lila fan too. Trust me, thus book is way better than ADSOM, so if you have liked that one you will really really enjoy this one. Go on, read it soon. Cant wait to hear your thoughts.

      And I agree! If only the release date was sooner.

  4. Oh this sounds wonderful and your photo is drool-worthy as always! I didn’t even realize this was book 2 already, so I have some catching up to do. And it’s a TOR book, I usually enjoy those. Do you have to wait long for book 3?

  5. Lila is my biggest fictional crush, she owns the keys to my heart and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
    I am glad that I was not the only person who felt a bit uncomfortable with the way that this book is portrayed as ‘diverse’ when what is there is incredibly minimal, and relegated to little more than a side plot. Hopefully we will see more of it in Book 3.

    1. Phew! Glad you think the same about the diverse part. It somehow didn’t feel blended in the plot. I was really skeptical at writing it because I thought I might face severe comments or something. But glad I went with the honest review.

      And Lila fans forever. I hope she wont be overshadowed in Book 3.

  6. I’m not a big fantasy reader, but you make this series sound irresistible. As usual, though, when it comes to fantasy, I’m mostly thinking of my daughter who loves it. Do you think it’s okay for a 15-year-old?

    1. Yes I think it is perfectly okay for a 15 year old. I dont know the reading preferences, there is a bisexual character in the book. There is a bit of blood and magic, not the violent kind that makes you shirk from it. And no explicit scenes that might make a 15 yr old uncomfortable.

  7. I ADORE THIS BOOK (AND THIS WHOLE SERIES BASICALLY) SO MUCH I COULD CRY. *hugs them forever* I actually liked ADSOM better than the sequel though, because there honestly wasn’t much plot here? Not that I minded because the characters = afjdlksafjd my darlings. And I definitely ship Kell and Lila! I actually hear a lot of people shipping Rhy and Kell and NO NO THEY ARE BROTHERS. I mean, maybe not by blood. BUT STILL BROTHERS! I think it’s important to have super strong friendships and brotherhood in books. <3 Alsooooo I loved Alcurd! And Rhy! And I'm kind of shipping them even though I'm DESPERATE for more backstory. xD
    But that cliffhanger. OMG MY HEART IS BLEEDING.

    1. Oh yess!! Rhy and Kell? NO WAY. WHy would anyone want that? They are brothers. BROTHERS. Yeah, the plot was lesser in this book. But I liked the whole experience of reading it, the Games, the pirate ship etc. And I am with you on the backstory. Which is why I thought the bi-sexual character doesn’t fit in with the plot. There was no back story. Just a few sentences that Aulcard had a history with Rhy. That was pretty weird right? I hope the next book would be super awesome.

  8. I love Schwab’s books so damn much. A Gathering of Shadows was amazing, just like I expected. It’s true that it bothered me a little that the magical tournament only happened at the end of the book, because it’s what everyone was talking about since the beginning. I think the pacing is quite slow in these series, but I don’t mind that much, as it feels like something I’m eating really slowly so I can enjoy it the best as I can, you know? I’m excited for the ships to sail, because some scenes literally made my heart stop. Have you read the teasers Schwab’s published the other day? They were all about the ships and made me scared. I LOVED books about pirates and taking place on the sea, which made me so excited when I started the book. Also, Lila’s song at the beginning was stuck in my head! 😉

    1. Yep! I didnt like how the Element games ended too. I mean after Lila and Kell got out of the rounds, the Games came to an abrupt end. I wish she had written more about how the winner fought and how he won. Of course Kell and Lila are the spotlights in the novel, but after waiting for more than half the book for the Games I felt let down that the winning round had very little descriptions. And Teasers?? WHERE? I am gonna check them out NOW. Thanks for the info. 🙂

  9. I liked A Darker of Shade of Magic but I thought A Gathering of Shadows was infinitely better for the reasons you shared. I totally agree, Lila is just so awesome. She’s totally my fictional woman crush after this book. And haha, that cliffhanger is so awful! I don’t really cope well with them so I actually like how ADSoM hinted there would be a next book but didn’t have one. Oh well. AGoS can’t be perfect… Anyway, great review! I can’t wait of A Conjuring of Light. I’m sure that finale is going to be epic!

    1. Hello, another Lila fan. I get so excited when people say they are Lila fans. I am so looking forward to A conjuring of light too. Sometimes I fear if there would be more of Kell in the book. Noooo! I hope Schwab puts in enough Lila. 😀

  10. I am really enjoying this series. I think I liked ADSOM better than AGOS, but I loved the Element Games and Alucard — especially the comparison to Pirates of the Caribbean (although no one will be able to top Captain Jack Sparrow). But all the Londons sound so fascinating, and the different types of magic! Such a great series.

  11. I’m reading ADSOM right now actually and love it, especially because of Lila so I’m so glad to hear that there’s even more of her in this book. It will definitely be going on my TBR list.

  12. Pirates of the Caribbean meets Harry Potter

    SOLD. You could have ended it there, and I would still be 1000% SOLD. I have never heard AGOS described that way before (which is weird because that’s exactly what it is from the first couple of chapters I read). Now that I have, I can’t get it out of my head and feel the need to read it ASAP. I really need to push myself out of my current reading slump because all of these reasons are amazing (more Lila? I am always here for more Lila), and I keep hearing from other bloggers that they consider this one to be better than ADSOM (which I simply HAD to give 4.5/5 stars for being so incredible). Though, I’m not sure I could deal with the cliffhanger (excellent gif choice, btw). I just might have to hold off on this until we get closer to the release date of ACOL… even though the wait will probably end me.

    Great format! Definitely got me WAY excited about this one. OH! And I kind of want Lila and Kell to remain friends; but if they were to get together, I will probably cry tears of joy. It’s all fair game for me where they are concerned because I can see them working as both. Though, I have been enjoying the lack of an overwhelmingly cheesy romance being thrown in my face.

    1. Some readers liked ADSOM more than AGOS. But if you are a Lila fan you will like AGOS more. There is so much more magic in here. I am eagerly waiting for A Conjuring of magic too. Same as you, I am okay if they remain friends or become a couple. Nah, i think I want them to be a couple because that is a happier ending for all of us who have grown up on “happily evr after Disney endings”

Leave a Reply

Back To Top
×Close search
%d bloggers like this: