Compared to its predecessor, A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows is paced much more slowly, and yet provides an infinitely deeper look into the world of Red London. The descriptions of place are so vivid it's easy to become immersed, and the sheer depth of Schwab's creation - languages, geography, history - are impressive without being distracting (you know, like some fantasy books that are more vehicles to show off worlds than narratives).
I found this book more compelling than the first in the series; I think I felt closer to the characters. (Love ya, Captain Alucard.) However, while I felt A Darker Shade of Magic never lagged, I felt that this book sometimes did. The Essen Tasch (Element Games) in particular seemed to have a bit too much page time. Not way too much page time, just a bit.
Overall, A Gathering of Shadows has enabled me to fall in love with this world and its characters. Bring on the finale!
Books in the Shades of Magic trilogy
- A Darker Shade of Magic (no review available)
- A Gathering of Shadows (you are here)
- A Conjuring of Light