How to capture readers’ hearts A Darker Shades of Magic style

A Conjuring of Light is OUT!! Ahhhhh so many people have already started reading it, and I am DYING to read it, guys. UGH. I’m currently in the middle of my re-read of the the second book, A Gathering of Shadows, which is the only reason I haven’t picked up ACOL yet. #bookwormstruggles And I absolutely LOVE IT but I am so ready for the third book. I can’t wait to read it so I can do a joint review (… more like fangirling post, probably…) of books 2 and 3!

THAT ASIDE. I wanted to do something V.E. Schwab/Shades of Magic series related, which is why we’re here, as you can tell from the title of the post. I recently finished re-reading the first book of the series (and I loved it so much akskjfjkgnjchskkkansr) which is what this post is based on, essentially. Reading A Darker Shade of Magic was absolutely amazing, I loved it even more than I already did if that’s even possible. Pretty much none of my feelings changed except I loved Lila a lot more than I did the first time haha.

But I digress! I’m terrible at staying on track, oh my god. I suppose you can call this a review of sorts–although I already wrote one the first time I read this–but simply put: A Darker Shades of Magic is a lovely, torturous device of a book designed to crush and capture your hearts. I’m warning you. But also pushing you to read it immediately if you haven’t already because what bookworm doesn’t want their heart crushed? Psh, brb as I try to repair my fragile heart…

So alas, finally, let’s get into how to capture readers’ hearts A Darker Shade of Magic style! And don’t worry, this is fully SPOILER-FREE. You’re welcome, to the belated readers who have not read this yet. 😉


1. Create multiple worlds with vivid descriptions and magic.

It is an absolute given, if a book has multiple worlds and magic that you have captured at least one poor bookworm heart. (Mine, obviously.) Not to mention having vivid descriptions that make me feel as if I’m IN the book without having any threat of dying and other mild inconveniences?? SOLD. Who wouldn’t love that, honestly.

ADSOM reference: MULTIPLE LONDONS. Is that genius or what? Okay, so Grey London (‘Dull London’), White London (‘Creepy London’) and Black London (‘Dead London’) are not exactly tourist destinations* but Red London is to die for (!!) and nonetheless, they’re all the sign of amazing world-building.


Even at night, the river shone red. As Kell stepped from the bank of one London onto the bank of another, the black slick of the Thames was replaced by the warm, steady glow of the Isle. It glittered like a jewel, lit from within, a ribbon of constant light unraveling through Red London. A source. A vein of power.


*I mean, if I could just stop by them all as some kind of invisible side character for a while and be able to escape at a moment’s notice, I would totally do it just because they sound so EPIC, albeit very very dangerous.

2. A subtle, but swoon-worthy ship, YES.

Slow-burn romances are one of my absolute FAVOURITES. The feeling you get, reading a book and that warm feeling you get when you know two characters like eachother but they’re dancing around their feelings and also the banter and the sweet moments that slowly develop the relationship… so many emotions ahhhh.

ADSOM reference: Not even a spoiler because everyone can see this from a mile away: Kell and Lila are such an OTP. Their banter is adorable and the fact that they both have each other’s backs and are constantly saving each other is just so awesome and they just work so well together and agh no words. Such a perfect ship. What’s even better is that it doesn’t overshadow the main story at all, and instead is the perfect addition to the rest of the story.

“He would see her again. He knew he would. Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time they were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila felt like a pin in Kell’s world. One he was sure to snag on.”

SHIP. My heart is SO attached to this.

3. Have the characters stab all the things?!

Disclaimer: I am not crazy or sadistic when I say this! LOL. It will: a) Create awesome action scenes, b) show off your character’s fighting skills, c) be lots of fun to read (aka very very stressful because your character will most likely get hurt) and d) create much tension and suspense.

ADSOM reference: Now I can’t give away too much because #spoilers but let me just say, there was A LOT OF STABBING. And magicking with the aim to kill. So. I mentioned this in my first review, but A Darker Shade of Magic is not for the squeamish people! But if you enjoy fantasy and don’t mind stabbing and fight scenes, you know how EPIC a story can be with the right battle scenes. Omg. This book had so much stabbing and fighting and aghhhhh it totally made my heart race but it was SO GOOD.

Pretty accurate depiction of my own heart tbh when I'm reading...
Pretty accurate depiction of my own heart tbh when I’m reading…

4. Much sass and banter!

This may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but trust me when I say that sass and banter can be one of the BEST things ever. Besides, it can also: a) develop character (sassy pirates and princes, yes please) b) create a deep fondness in the reader for the characters because banter = fun amidst pain and c) make Analee very very happy.

ADSOM reference: There are so many little quips from the characters that I loved and made the reading experience so much fun! I lived for the quips and lines from Rhy, Kell and Lila omg. So perfect.

“Delilah Bard,” she said. “We’ve met before. And you looked worse.”
Rhy laughed silently. “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg,” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”
Rhy broke into his perfect smile. “I like this one,” he said to Kell. “Can I borrow her?”
“You can try,” said Lila, raising a brow. “But you’ll be a prince without his fingers.”


5. Have an epic bromance.

Bromances are very very important. *nods* They can make you either a) fall in love with the characters in said bromance or b) make you love said characters even more. In both situations, a beautifully written bromance = powerful emotions rivaled only by chocolate (of course) and perhaps a romantic ship. 😉

ADSOM reference: Kell and Rhy are one of the most amazing bromances everrrrrrr!! There is just something so beautiful and so adorable and so heartwarming about brotherly ties, and theirs was no exception.

Rhy sighed (…) [before he finally said] “There is nothing I would not give you.”
Kell’s chest ached. “I know.”
“You are my brother. My closest friend.”
“I know.”
“Then put an end to this foolishness, before I do.”
Kell managed a small, tired smile. “Careful, Rhy,” he said. “You’re beginning to sound like a king.”
Rhy’s mouth quirked. “One day I will be. And I need you there beside me.”
Kell smiled back. “Believe me. There’s no place I’d rather be.” It was the truth.

MY HEART. Captured and crushed by these two. ❤

So! That’s all I have for this post aha. Let me finish this off by saying: y’all should go read the Shades of Magic series IMMEDIATELY if you haven’t already. (#nopressure psh) And let me brb, need to go piece back my heart in preparation for ACOL to break it again. Ahem.
No, but really, I hope you enjoyed this post! ❤ A Darker Shade of Magic is an amazing book, and the series only gets better from there. If you’ve read this book; what do you think on my tips on how to capture a reader’s heart ADSOM style? Have you read the rest of the series? (No spoilers for ACOL please!) If you haven’t read the series, do you plan on it? (The right answer is yes, btw.) (Jk.) Let me know your thoughts!
Happy Friday!

Until the Next Meal, Analee

22 thoughts on “How to capture readers’ hearts A Darker Shades of Magic style

  1. I absolutely love this series to death! 😍 I really want to read ACOL soon (even though it’s a giant book and it’ll probably take me sooo many days to read it because my reading game is weak at the moment). 😂 I’ve heard pretty much nothing but good things, so I’m super excited to read it. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review for this book Analee, and you’ve succeeded in making me even more excited for A Conjuring of Light which I didn’t think was humanly possible!
    The world building in this series is one of my favourite aspects. The fact that V.E Schwab has essentially created four worlds instead of one took a lot of talent but she pulled it off so well and I loved reading about Red London the most.
    Also the banter between Kell and Lila, and Kell and Rhy, and even Rhy and Lila was brilliant. I could literally read a whole book full of banter between the three of them.
    Oh I’m so excited to get started on A Conjuring of Light as soon as I possibly can. I’m sure it’s going to be an amazing book! 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! Aha I’m so glad to hear that. 😝 I can’t wait for you to read A Conjuring of Light!
      Right?? Creating one world thoroughly and with detail takes enough effort, but making 4 different worlds as she did, and making it work so well takes so much skill and talent. Red London was definitely my favourite as well! 😍 Oh my gosh yes! The banter was endless and it was so amazing. And in the later books, the banter between Lila and Alucard as well as Kell and Alucard (not sure if that’s in the second or third book, or both, but either way) was so awesome. I loved all of it SO MUCH.
      Ahhh I’m so excited for you to read A Conjuring of Light! I recently finished it and it truly is an amazing book. ❤️❤️ Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all right, I am so so excited to start A Conjuring of Light (tomorrow now!). I love world building in fantasy books, it honestly is my favourite part of reading fantasy books, and it was great to see how well done it was in this series.
        I need more banter between Kell and Rhy in the last book and Lila and Alucard, and just pretty much everyone. Just more banter.
        Ohh I’m even more excited to start it now (and I didn’t think that would even be possible!) 😀 ❤


    • Omg I’m actually going to be picking up the last book super soon, seeing how I just finished rereading AGOS a few minutes ago haha. I forgot how much of a terrible cliffhanger it was but now at least I can jump right into the third book ahhh SO EXCITED. 😍❤️❤️ And yesss same?! Anytime Lila had a blade, it was epic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to admit that I was part of the minority that didn’t like ADSoM that much but still gave it a relatively high rating because I thought it did have all the right elements that made a good book. However, A Gathering of Shadows blew me away. The world building, relationship dynamics, and character development in that one was phenomenal. I’m still working my way through ACoL but it is so good! Knowing how fast you read, I’m sure you’ve already finished it, haha. Hoped you enjoy/enjoyed book three, Analee!



    • Nooooo!! 😀 Haha in that case, I’m glad you enjoyed A Gathering of Shadows at least! It was definitely amazing, I loved it SO MUCH, even more than the first, as well haha. Yes, exactly, everything in that one was just on point!! ❤ Haha I hope you enjoy ACoL/enjoyed ACoL!! It was definitely amazing!! So many feels. 🙂


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