Goodreads Synopsis: Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
To the die hard fans of V.E. Schwab, and this novel, I am so sorry, but I don’t understand the level of hype. Yes, the book is very well written, informative, has a handsome male protagonist, a lovable, feisty female protagonist, and an amazing primary antagonist, BUT.. I was not thrilled.
I found myself needing breaks from the book because I would get bored and my mind began to wonder. Though, there are several brilliant and strange topics/theories needed to be discussed.
Slight Spolier Warning:
Ok. Delilah Bard. She HAS to be an antari of some kind. I feel like her magic was taken away when her eye was removed. (Also, if this is true, then I say that Kell just takes his eye out and be done with all the BS. Don’t come for me).) Also super convenient that she doesn’t remember the circumstances behind losing her eye either, suspicious? I think so.
While Lila is such a badass, fearless female character, I found myself frequently annoyed with her childlike tendencies to steal things and touch things that she shouldn’t, such as magically warded items in a London she has no knowledge about. Common sense should have kicked in, but obviously it didn’t.
Kell…poor, lonely Kell. Do I feel bad for Kell for essentially being the property of the rich, sweetly enslaved for his powers? Yes. But he has MAGIC for pete’s sake. RUN AWAY. There are so many other options than staying enslaved in by a King and Queen who supposedly love you, but only use you for your abilities.
Though, I would definitely bargain with him for his coat. That thing is awesome and is a garment I would gladly add to my personal wardrobe.
Now my favorite character: Holland.
Holland is the rival Antari enslaved to the sibling rulers of White London.
Holland is the only character in this story that I truly pity and love. While he may be ruthless killer, an evil among evils, he is a true slave to his rulers. In White London, magic is scant, and any magic a person has is bound to them by seals to make sure they keep their magic rather than having it stripped from them by those more powerful.
Siblings Athos and Astrid torture Holland by forcing him to do their bidding by having his covered in seals infused with their magic so they might assume complete control. Holland was never a pleasant person, but he was made worse by the twins control.
I won;t give any more away about the story, so let me end with this.
I will be reading the second book because I can’t stand leaving a tale unfinished, and the tale is interesting enough for me to want to know what happens. All I can say is that A gathering of Shadows MUST be up to par with what Arya Stark will eventually do on her journey outside of Westeros. (Delilah and Arya are the same for wanting to adventure, therefore that comment was necessary-Thanks to Sara for that idea that I can now obsess over).
All in all: