For the ones who fight their way forward


A Gathering of Shadows is an adult fantasy book by V.E. Schwab. It is the second installment of the Shades of Magic trilogy.


Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—and so to keep magic's balance, another London must fall.


Magic and magician must between them balance. Magic itself is chaos. The magician must be calm. The fractured self must be a pure vessel for power, spilling power without focus measure from every crack.

Tieren Serense

Part I: Thief at SeaEdit

Lila Bard is floating in a small boat in the Arnesian sea, bound and with only three knives, a barrel of ale, and six flares. Water is slowly filling the boat, and Lila struggles to light a yellow flare which indicates a sinking ship. After it goes out and no help arrives, she lights a white flare, standing for distress, next. Again, no ship approaches her, and Lila lights a red flare for pirates. This time, the Copper Thief arrives and takes her aboard.

On the Copper Thief, Lila tells the ship's captain, Baliz Kasnov, that her ship, the Golden Fish, was attacked by pirates who killed her husband and almost everyone else who was aboard the Golden Fish. After entrusting the members of the Copper Thief that she is from Red London and that her ship carries many valuables, Kasnov brings Lila to his cabin where he locks her in.

There, Lila counts to thirty before freeing herself from the ropes around her wrists, and while humming the Sarows' song, she prepares herself to attack: getting rid of her dress' skirt, readying her weapons, creating a makeshift mask.

Lila lights a candle which produces drugged smoke, and when two of Kasnov's men come and open the door, she throws the candle into the cabin and watches the two men being brought down by the candle's smoke. Then, she fights her way to the deck, taking down four more. On deck, she sees that it is covered by the bodies of those who had drunken too much of her drugged ale. Lila counts them and finds out that only two crew members were left.

She quickly finds one of the remaining two. He is heavily affected by the drug and is, thus, unable to stop Lila's attack. This makes it easier for her to kick him from the ship and into the water. Shortly afterward, Kasnov, who is still sober, arrives, but before he is able to attack her, Lila manages to sink her knuckle knife into his throat.

Lila retrieves her knife from Kasnov's corpse while the Night Spire arrives, its members looking at her accomplishment in either awe, disbelief, or shock. Happily, Lila presents the Copper Thief to her captain, Alucard Emery, before returning to the Night Spire. On it, she tells Lenos to pay her as he and Stross had bet with her that she could not single-handedly take over the Copper Thief. Reluctantly, Stross hands her his purse, and Lenos gives Lila his twin knives. Later, Lila and Alucard retreat to Alucard's cabin and toast to the best thief of the Night Spire.

Part II: Prince at LargeEdit

Part III: Changing TidesEdit

Part IV: Londons CallingEdit

Part V: Royal WelcomeEdit

Part VI: ImpostorsEdit

Part VII: IntersectionsEdit

Part VIII: The Essen TaschEdit

Part IX: Collision CourseEdit

Part X: CatastropheEdit


Spoiler warning: This section contains plot details and spoilers. (Skip section)

Red LondonEdit

  • Kell Maresh — The adopted Antari Prince of Arnes. Kell was the only one who got blamed for the Black Night and is now under constant surveillance.
  • Rhy Maresh — The Crown Prince of Arnes. While most have forgiven him for his actions during the Black Night, Rhy has not forgiven himself.
  • Lila Bard — The Greyworlder thief. After parting ways with Kell, Lila has become the thief aboard the Night Spire.
  • Alucard Emery — The Captain of the Night Spire. A royal from the House of Emery who is now a privateer under the Arnesian crown after being disgraced.
  • Maxim Maresh — The King of Arnes.
  • Emira Maresh — The Queen of Arnes.
  • Calla — A vendor at the Night Market.
  • Kisimyr Vasrin — The champion of last year's Essen Tasch.
  • Cora Taskon — A Veskan princess and guest in Red London for the tournament's duration. Cora has cast an eye at Kell.
  • Col Taskon — A Veskan prince and guest in Red London for the tournament's duration.
  • Sol-in-Ar — Brother of the King of Faro. Sol-in-Ar, just like the Taskon siblings, came to London for the Essen Tasch.

Grey LondonEdit

White LondonEdit

  • Holland Vosijk — The Antari King of Makt. Holland returned to White London after making a deal with Osaron.
  • Osaron — The sentient magic which brought about Black London's fall.
  • Ojka — The messenger. Ojka is an "Antari," artificially created with Osaron's power.
more characters

Collector's EditionEdit

Main article: A Gathering of Shadows (Collector's Edition)

On March 12, 2019,[1] a special collector's edition of A Gathering of Shadows will be released.[2]



Bonus cardsEdit


  • The plot of the second part, Prince at Large, was originally going to be used for a short story before V.E. Schwab realised that it would be a good way to reintroduce Kell and Rhy Maresh.[3]
  • Originally, A Gathering of Shadows was supposed to have three more chapters and end with the rooftop scene in A Conjuring of Light.[3][4]
  • Prior to the publication of A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab shared a few snippets from some of her multiple WIPs. One of them (Number 3) seemingly belonged to A Gathering of Shadows.
Alucard slumped into his high-backed chair, the stolen crown slouched forward against his brow. The bounty glittered in the firelight, and his eyes shone, dark with drink, and in that moment he reminded her of Rhy, and of Kell, and yet of no one she'd ever met. A trickster god, face shifting in turns of light. He was dangerously charming, and Lila suspected he knew it.
"Tell me something." His words had a slight drawl.
Lila raised a brow.
"Who was Delilah Bard before she came aboard my ship?"