US Cover UK CoverThis was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2016 and it did not disappoint. In fact I thought it was actually better than the first book. This book sees Lila really come into her own travelling with a pirate band throughout the kingdom she has the opportunity to prove herself and make new friends and it becomes increasingly obvious that despite her "outlaw" status she has a great deal more freedom than Kell. Meanwhile Kell along with the rest of Red London is preparing for the Element Games a sort of Olympic games for magic. However despite his defeat of the Dane twins and Holland's apparent death it seems that Black London is not finished with Kell yet. The storytelling is whip-crack smart as expected from Victoria Schwab and in this instalment we get even more world building and new and interesting characters are introduced. I would urge you to read the first book in this series A Darker Shade of Magic as A Gathering of Shadows follows on where that book left off.
A Darker Shade of Magic introduces Kell, one of the last of those who can travel between the different versions of London that overlap each other and that can only be accessed by a traveler using blood magic. Kell is a native of Red London where magic is used everyday, he frequently travels to the much duller Grey London where George III is the reigning monarch and magic has been forgotten and the much more dangerous White London ruled by the vicious Dane Twins, White London also has a traveler; Holland but can they trust each other?
While Victoria Schwab is a successful author of Young Adult novels she makes the leap to Fantasy for adults easily and these books have a great deal of appeal for teens also. I highly recommend this series if you are a fan of Deborah Harkness, Laini Taylor, Genevieve Cogman or the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.
Thanks so much to Titan Books for sending me review copies of these two titles. Both books are available in paperback and the final book in the series will be published in February 2017.