Tuesday, June 7, 2016


TITLE: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
AUTHOR: V.E. Schwab
GENRE: YA Fantasy
PUBLICATION DATE: February 24, 2015 by Tor Books

Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that 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 take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.


I have really got to stop reading books due to their irresistibly pretty covers.

Anyway, I was really interested in reading ADSOM not only because of the aforementioned pretty cover, but also because a lot of people have been saying it’s really awesome.

So, of course, I got myself sucked into the hype. (Not that I minded. I really was curious about it in the first place. Because Londons? WITH AN S? COUNT ME IN.)

Delilah Bard

I’ve read a lot of readers who loved Lila. They say she’s “kick-ass” and “cool” and all that badass female character characteristics. And sure, she’s cool. She knows how to steal well, I’ll give her that. And she wants an adventure, so she tailed along Kell. I mean, if I knew there was more than one London and my key to go to at least one of the different ones was right in front of me (plus I didn’t have anyone to leave behind), then WHY NOT, right?

So... yeah, she’s a bit interesting. But for me, it doesn’t go any farther than that.

In my opinion, I thought of Lila as someone who just stuck her nose in a situation that she wasn’t even supposed to be in in the first place. Some people might like those kinds of characters who like to go on adventures on their own just for fun, but I don’t really feel any sort of great fascination over them.

That being said, I did find her a bit amusing at times.


Ah, I was really interested about Kell and the “he and only one other left who are Antari” thing. I love that there’s something about his bad hobby that he just can’t control. And I also love his attachment towards Rhy. He’s honestly really kind, but the only problem about him was his undying need to smuggle stuff from all the other Londons (which, if you think about it, was honestly the cause of everything that happened in this book).

When the scene with Kell and Rhy near the end happened, I was all “WHAT. V.E. SHWAB YOU WOULD NOT.”

Apparently, she would.

So I sort of freaked out for the whole of Part Twelve. (WHO WOULDN’T?!)

Seriously, I love Rhy so much. And I also love Rhy and Kell together. Even as just brothers. They are too adorable.

The battle

I really loved reading the final battle (and the fact that Kell just knew because of the “please” thing). I honestly have no idea what to say about it using just words, so please just believe me that IT WAS AWESOME. And my heart stopped. And I was afraid because I thought V.E. Schwab would attempt kill someone again. I was honestly really afraid.

SO PLEASE DO JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. (I mean, if you trust me, of course. I don’t know. I JUST KNOW IT MADE ME FEEL AFRAID – AND IN A GOOD WAY.)

(Also, as for the other battles, IT WAS ALSO COOL. Mainly because most included Kell using magic. BECAUSE MAGIC IS COOL. ESPECIALLY WHEN USED IN BATTLE.)

The magic system

One of the things that fascinated me the most about this book was the magic system and the different Londons. Every time Kell voices a spell, I get all tingly inside because YAY MAGIC. Also, the spells sound very pretty. You can definitely expect me popping out of nowhere in my home and screaming “As Anasae” to my family every now and then.

But, well, the pacing

I think the only thing I didn’t like about this book was the pacing. I felt like there were a lot of times where the story just dragged on and on to nowhere, and that it could have been better if some scenes weren’t simply there or were shortened to speed up the pacing. This may or may not also be the reason why it took me so long to finish this book.


A Darker Shade of Magic is a YA fantasy with a writing style that I don’t think I’ve ever read before (if you know a book that’s the same as ADSOM though, PLEASE DO RECOMMEND BELOW). The magic system was great, and Kell and Lila’s adventure through all the different Londons was very fun to read. Though because of the pacing, it did bore me out every now and then. I may or may not read the next book, A Gathering of Shadows, pretty soon because the thought of reading the same kind of pacing again makes me sleepy. However, I will read it sometime. It may not be soon, but I will.

You’d want to read this if you love books with their own magic spells and if the thought of different Londons pique your interest.
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Mara @ Mara Was Here

*Pops confetti* Congratulations, you've reached 'till the end of this post! I'm Mara, 15, and I love anything bookish and graphic designing. I also spend 90% of my life fawning over fictional boyfriends and smelling books. Thanks for hanging out at my blog! (And yes, that's me sniffing Six of Crows in our car.)

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