A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

Hi everyone! Does anyone happen to have some chocolate on hand? Because we must celebrate!! Why, you ask? THIS BOOK, is why. (!!!!!!!!!—yes, let us put ALL the exclamation points) This book is so amazingly amazing and I’m asking myself why I waited so long to read it??! So many people have been screeching in my ear to read this, and I’m so thankful I finally did!! If I had missed out on this book… I don’t even want to think about that because it would be too terrible.

Alright, for further rambling fangirling nonsense detail, read on!

A Darker Shade of MagicA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

5 Stars

Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre(s): Fantasy, Adult
Series Status: Shades of Magic #1
Page Count: 398
Source & Format: Owned, ebook + Hardcover
Critical Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

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Erm, I might have to warn you here; I probably will not make any sense whatsoever—but then again, what else is new, right?? I don’t even know how to form proper words right now, ahem. So I’m going to be a list-but-not-really-type review–and hope it makes sense. Here we go!

A Darker Shade of Magic book review

Reasons why you should read ADSOM

  • So much blood. And stabbing! And many near-deaths, might I add. (Notice how this is the first thing I mention, aha I’m totally not crazy or psychotic, psh.) Though, I must say. It. Was. AWESOME. I mean, tension! Conflict! Danger! So much was going on, and then in the midst of it, of course you had to have some blood and, of course, stabbing (omg so much stabbing). I don’t think the descriptions were too graphic, though, so if you’re easily squeamish about these things, you should probably be fine.. then again, I read all of this so quickly I probably didn’t bat and eye so I guess I’m not the best consultant for that. But still. You should be fine. Point is: there was no holding back on the pain in this book! If that’s something you don’t mind, well, this is perfect.
  • The world is made of ALTERNATE LONDONS. That is Analee-approved right there. If you didn’t know already, I’m kind of mildly obsessed with London?? Or England in general, but LONDON. ❤ And so a book where we have alternate Londons is.. simply perfect? (Though tbh it could’ve been ANY country that isn’t in North America and I would’ve been fine–erm, I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of different countries so.)
  • Which brings me to how the world-building was so perfectly perfect. Or maybe that’s just me blinded by how amazing this book was, but really, apart from the few parts where I was kind of lost as to how it all worked (which was mostly my fault for being slow at grasping things, I think), the world in this book was so intricate and so finely done. Eep, my praise is endless. It was just so easy to fall into this world V.E. Schwab created, and I loved it.
  • KELL. My love. Not to mention HIS COAT, omg it’s so fabulous. XD I want one! Ah, yes, right, we were talking about Kell. Right. Kell is just as fabulous, of course! Such a great mix of the tragic, gloomy hero-yet-not, as well as very flawed, but so lovable. Oh, and his comebacks were just on point? Three cheers for sass, guys! It was so easy for me to love his character, eep.
  • Lila will most probably become one of your favourite characters? Maybe. I mean, I can’t say this was the case for me exactly (I did like her, don’t get me wrong, but it took me some time to warm up to her? More on that below.) but she had so many of the characteristics I (and most other people) love, so yay! (Erm, I doubt I’ve ever came across a thief with aspirations of being a pirate, sooo.)
  • Rhy: Charming. dashing and sassy, all in one! I loved Rhy, really. I only wish he appeared more in the story! I loved his and Kell’s brotherly relationship and his character. ❤
  • Holland was just such a well-written character! He did such terrible things and I hated him, but at the same time I found myself sympathizing with him? Ah, the conflict. Morally ambiguous characters are the best aha.
  • SO MUCH SASS. From Kell and Lila, but also from other characters too—and it was amazing. 😀 I had so much fun reading the banter and all the snarky comebacks tossed back and forth!
  • The magical coat (with lots of sides and pockets) is soo perfect. It was literally making me jealous. I want ittttttt (yes, I know I already said that before). And yes, that’s a valid reason as to why you should read this book. Because of a magical coat, yep. Why are you questioning this?
  • The writing was SO PERFECT. Concise and specific yet detailed—and not info-dumpy whatsoever (or if it was, it sure didn’t feel like it).  The descriptions, the world, everything seemed to come alive due to the fantastic writing, so I LOVE IT. Definitely making me want to pick up more of Victoria Schwab’s novels! ❤

The itty-bitty-little things you might want to be aware of

  • It takes a while to really get the story in motion. I don’t blame it, and truthfully it didn’t bother me that much because I hardly noticed, but depending on the type of reader you are, you might get impatient with the pace of the story! I assure you, it’s totally worth it to keep going with the novel, because it progresses really quickly once you get into the story.
  • Lila, although a good character, wasn’t someone I loved right away. I wasn’t the biggest fan of her at first? I mean, she’s totally a character I tend to enjoy (sass? check. stubborn? check. rebel?–well, thief, actually–check.) but it actually took me some time to actually like her? At best I tolerated her during the first few parts. The thing is, I can’t even pinpoint what made me feel this way? Argh. But like I mentioned above, I warmed up to her well enough by the end of the book. So that’s good!
  • Rhy doesn’t get as much spotlight as I wished. 😦 I loved his character and he did appear many times, but it didn’t feel like that much? Or at least not as much as I would’ve liked. I dunno. Maybe that’s just me. I just wouldn’t have minded seeing more of him, haha.

Overall…

This book is completely worth your time and commitment, I tell you. The hype around this one most definitely did not disappoint (for me, at least) and I’m 98% sure that most people would agree with me when I say this book is amazing. Great writing, great world, lots of stabbing, amazing characters and lots of sass–what more could you ask for, am I right? So better go gobble this up soon if you haven’t already! 😉


Umm, I think that’s it?? Basically, I loved this book. It was just so good. (Again, we must get chocolate to celebrate this amazing novel!) It had so many amazing components to it that I loved, and I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a fantasy novel with great world-building and amazing writing (and everything else, really)!

I’m kind of sad I didn’t read this sooner, but I’m kind of glad because now I have the chance to go straight away to A Gathering of Shadows! I would’ve started it already, but I wanted to write up my review of the first book before I read it, so now that I’ve done that, I will most definitely be continuing with AGOS. So excited!

Alright, now tell me what YOU think! Have you read this book? What did you love? What did you dislike? Am I the only one who liked the stabbing? XD And I sure hope I’m not the only one who took time warming up to Lila, aha. Oh, and would anyone like to give me a magical multi-sided coat? Seriously, someone needs to make this happen. I’d totally buy one. If you haven’t read this book yet, let me know what you think! Do you plan on reading it? What are you looking forward to the most? Is there other London-obsessed people out there? (If so, you should definitely read this book. Just sayin’.) Leave your thoughts below, I’d love to chat! ❤
Until the Next Meal, Analee
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27 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | Book Review

  1. Your review comes at the right time, ahah, I just ordered ASDOM yesterday, and I’m excited to read it, but at the same time hoping it won’t disappoint me, because, well, the hype is HUGE. I’m so glad to hear you liked it! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the different London are, in this book, because YES I am obsessed about London, too. Except from, well, home, London is the only other place I really feel at home ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • OMGOMGMGOMG yayyyyyy!! I’m so glad to here you’re planning on reading it and have ordered it! I totally understand you though. There kind of an invisible pressure now, just pushing and urging you to like the book, or else. 😂 I felt so overwhelmed by the hype before I read it! But it ended up being really good, amazing actually, so I hope you enjoy it!! ❤️
      Omg I’ve always wanted to go to London!! Ahh I do hope that the multiple London aspect satisfies you as much as it did for me. 😘

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aha yayy I’m glad you think so as well! I was scared for a second people would think I was exaggerating, haha. 😂 Eeeee I’m so excited to finish AGOS! Except worried at the same time because I have no idea how I will cope waiting for the third book to come out… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. lmao, I feel like I always have to justify myself too when I say I like things like death and gore, haha. People give me the side-eye and I’m like, ‘I swear, I’m not crazy.’ 😛 It’s nice to see someone similar.
    I totally agree with everything you said! The only negative I had about this book was that the bond between Rhy and Kell was so beautiful but it wasn’t expanded upon as much as I would have liked! I could have done with a bit more interaction between the two. It’s also incredible how Lila isn’t really a great person, but you root for her anyways! Schwab is a genius!
    So glad you liked this. I just posted my review up on my blog (because I finally gave in to the hype and read this thing!), if you want to check it out. :3

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omg yessss!! XD Let us unite in our defensiveness over our preference of deathly and lethal things such a blood and death!

      I totally agree on your point; I absolutely adored the bromance thing with Kell and Rhy, but it really didn’t get as much spotlight as I had wanted it to. Their relationship was so great and so realistic to me, it would’ve been amazing if we had gotten to see more of it.
      Aha yes! Her motives and intentions are definitely not the most innocent and she makes many questionable decisions, but I found myself liking and supporting her in the end despite that. Oh yes, definitely! ❤

      Eeeep, I'll be heading off to check that out right away! I'd love to read your thoughts on this book. 😉

      Like

  3. YES. I am so glad to hear you liked this so much! I’ve heard nothing but glowing reviews about it from around the blogosphere, so it’s great that you enjoyed it too. 🙂 And how am I to pass up a book with such great-sounding characters and world-building? Definitely going to have to give this a try ASAP. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • AHHH yes this book has gotten so much hype!! I must say I totally agree with the hype haha. Eeeeee I really hope you enjoy this book when you give it a try!! The characters and world-building are both amazing.. Though who am I kidding, this whole book is amazing. 😂
      Thank you!! 😘

      Like

    • Omg YESSSS. ❤️❤️ I could literally give it all the stars and all the chocolate and it still wouldn’t be enough, lol. 😂 I can’t wait to finish AGOS and read her other novels!! Her writing is so utterly compelling and magical, I must read more of it. 😍

      Liked by 1 person

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