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. 😉

how-to-capture-readers-hearts-adsom-style

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.

adsom-londons-map

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.

LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL DESCRIPTION.

*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.”

GO LILA!

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

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