The second book in Schwab's "Shades of Magic" series, A Gathering of Shadows, was published in late February, and I was finally able to check it out last week.
But for all the players (and some delightfully complex and slightly weird new ones), the primary focus is the upcoming Essen Tasch, or Element Games, an international competition of magic being hosted this year by the Arnesians, designed to maintain a healthy relationship devoid of war between their country and two others. Rhy is in charge of designing the games and the venue, while Kell and Lila eventually play their own complicated (and surprising) roles. Meanwhile, as the book's synopsis mysteriously says, "A shadow that was gone in the night will reappear at morning." Something sinister is in the works...
Don't you love it when the sequel completely fulfills the promise of the first book, which you already loved?
This series has great characters, both from the previous book (Kell, Delilah, Rhy) and from the current one (most notably the pirate Alucard Emery!). Lila is still one of the best heroines out there--smart, fierce, and funny.
Schwab's language is beautiful, with detailed and evocative descriptions, and the dialogue is sharp and snappy, with wonderfully snarky repartee. The world-building and spectacle continue. Things are happening behind the scenes that set us up for the next book. And hey, you can't go wrong with pirates, nor with a magical tournament! This book was definitely worth the wait!
Editor's note: Burbank Public Library owns the first book in hardcover, audio, and e-book. The second book we have only as hardcover.