Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
A Darker Shade of Magic had been on my TBR for almost 4 years, and I was really looking forward to reading it. I’ve heard amazing things about Schwab’s books, and I did like it but I expected more I guess?
So here’s what I loved-
- Lila Bard
I LOVED her so much. She was so freaking badass and I really related to her dream of becoming a pirate. She had such a vibrant personality and you cant help but fall in love with her.
- The World
A Darker Shade of Magic is set in a unique world. It’s nothing like I’ve ever read before. The details on the parallel Londons and how magic worked was so fascinating, I really loved how Schwab described them. Also, I LOVE Kell’s coat, it was just so creative!
- Kell and Lila
I loved Kell, he was a surprisingly well-rounded character (surprising because he didn’t fall into any of the main male lead stereotype/trope I thought he would). And I absolutely loved Kell’s and Lila’s chemistry, not necessarily romantic, (even tho I do ship them a little) I just loved their interactions.
And here’s stuff I had problems with-
- Lila Bard
Yup, she makes both lists. I do love her very much, but her attitude towards women who were ‘girly’ really annoyed me. Maybe it’s because she was forced to ‘act like a lady’ throughout her life or something, but it still annoyed me a little.
Or it might be a hint to her being gender fluid? I did hear she was, but I hope it’s actually addressed in the books instead of being just a tweet.
- SOo many underused characters
There were a LOT of interesting characters I wish I got to know more.
Like Holland. There was such potential! I felt he was a great character. And if Kell, Lila and him had teamed up in the sequels, it would have been such an interesting dynamic.
Then there’s Rhy, Barron, the evil twins…and so many more!
- The Climax was underwhelming
I was a little disappointed with how ADSOM ended. I wanted more tension and drama. Throughout the book I was like ‘OMG this so exciting! I WANT to know what happens RIGHT NOW’, and then the ending made me feel like ‘That’s it?’
Anyway, A Darker Shade of Magic was really good (even tho it got a bit slow in the middle). I didn’t exactly love it, like i had hoped. But I enjoyed every bit of it.
Have you read Strange the Dreamer? Did you like it? Do you plan to read it? Have you read any other Laini Taylor books? Tell me in the comments!