Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic

Kell lives in a unique world where more than just one London exists. First there’s non-magical Grey London, then there’s White London, which is slowly destructing due to magical war. There’s also the London Kell calls home, Red London, where magic is celebrated and cherished. And once there was a London consumed by magic: Black London…

As a blood magician, or Antari, Kell is one of the few who can still travel between the worlds, acting as an ambassador and delivering messages from throne to throne. But delivering messages isn’t Kell’s only hobby. He also has a habit for illegally smuggling goods between the Londons. When Kell is set up into smuggling a dangerous relic from Black London, he is forced to escape to Grey London. It is there Kell falls victim to a valiant pickpocket, Lila, who subsequently saves his live and then coerces Kell into taking her on the adventure she’s only ever dreamed of. With the fate of all the Londons hanging in the balance, Kell vows, with Lila’s help, to return the relic or die trying. But the relic’s power and lure are strong and danger seems to be around every corner, making this task harder and more complicated than Kell could have ever imagined.



Genre: YA fantasy
POV: Third person multiple
Read this if you like: Magic, Strong heroines, Action
Would I recommend to a friend? YES!



My Thoughts…

I waited forever to get ADSOM and since the second came out not too long ago I told myself I needed to start the first already. I wasn’t going to let it get pushed around on my TBR any longer and I am so glad I didn’t! MY LOVE FOR THIS BOOK IS VAST AND DEEP! I kid you not, I can’t think of one single complaint. I did not ever want to put this book down. I was entranced from the very first sentence! Unfortunately for me I ended up reading this on the busiest week ever, so my reading time was incredibly limited and I felt the pain! I need A Gathering of Shadows like now!


This story was so incredibly unique and I LOVED that! London is one of my favorite settings and then you add multiple versions of it along with magic?! That’s a recipe for obsession right there. Overall I felt like it was very well executed. The story progressed wonderfully and there were never any lulls for me. I was just as engrossed in the beginning as I was at the end! There were several surprises and twists that had me yelling things out loud which is a good indicator of the shock quality but can also be slightly embarrassing if you’re in public. Good thing I don’t care 🙂 I also felt like those shocking moments were very organic to the story and didn’t feel like they were thrown in there just to liven things up a bit. I hate when something crazy happens and it just feels a little too obvious or doesn’t really make sense with the flow or composition of the story. Definitely not the case here! I also loved how this novel ends. Yes there is another one, but you weren’t left with this ginormous cliffhanger that left you staring at the page willing more words to appear. I don’t mind cliffhangers but sometimes it’s nice to have a sense of resolution at the end of the novel even if there is a sequel. This book definitely delivers that.


This is my first novel by V.E. Schwab but I can safely say she has easily earned a place on my auto buy/read author list. It was that good. She is an INCREDIBLE author and her writing was nothing short of addicting! I feel like there was  a lot to introduce in this story in terms of explaining the magic and various Londons but I never felt as though I had information being thrown at me. It was all woven so intricately and naturally into the story which made it easy to comprehend and remember, all while making it interesting. That is a definite plus because a large dose of information in the beginning to explain everything is rarely enjoyable. I also thought she did a fantastic job with the descriptions for each London. She paints a picture that you can clearly see. They were definitely all unique and there was no way that you could confuse them. So basically the world building was incredible!! To sum it up, it was intricate and complex but was delivered so well that you were never bored, lost, or burdened by facts. Also, I mentioned this briefly in the plot section but I just want to mention it again…this book was paced fantastically! I was literally never bored. Not even in the beginning where you are trying to get into the story. I was into it from the very beginning. Definitely a testament to Schwab’s talent as a writer. Can you tell that I really adored her writing style? Oh one last thing. It was a nice change of pace for me that this book was written in third person. I feel like the majority of books I read are first person, so this was a refreshing change.


I LOVED KELL AND LILA! Lila was definitely a complex, strong female character. My favorite kind! I adored the fact that, despite Kell being the obvious choice for most powerful, Lila, who lacked magic, was equally as strong and capable. From early on it’s clear that Kell could not do this without Lila. Despite her obvious strength and butt kicking abilities, she is also mentally tough and at times we even get glimpses of her vulnerabilities. It’s clear that there is not just one side to Lila and we definitely get to see that. I loved Kell, too. He was equally strong and multidimensional though in different ways than Lila. Yes, he’s a powerful magician but he also has his shortcomings, just like everyone else. I also really enjoyed the secondary characters and felt that they were far from “fillers” as they can sometimes be. I felt like good or bad the characters all seemed very real. Ugh, they all were just so well developed and just plain incredible. I can’t wait to see where book 2 takes Kell and Lila!



My Thoughts in a Nutshell…

A Darker Shade of Magic introduces you to an intricate and complex world full of magic and danger that will leave you unable to stop reading. The (incredibly enjoyable) story was well written and full of impeccable world building and compelling, complex characters. I loved everything about this book and am now well on my way to becoming a V.E. Schwab addict. Bring on book two!!!



Favorite Quotes

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”


“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”


“Bad magic, Kell had called it.
No, Lila thought now. Clever Magic.
And clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week.”











Let’s chat about…


Kell and Rhy’s soul seal and a little about Holland

So I’m just wondering if anyone else thinks that something incredibly bad is going to come of this? I’m glad Rhy’s alive and everything but it just seems like there are all kinds of things that can go wrong there. My mind immediately goes to Holland. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we haven’t seen the last of Holland. So let’s say he wants revenge against Kell for sending him to Black London. If I’m Holland I’m going to try to kill Rhy. He’s without a doubt the weaker link. And if I was Kell I would be training him like crazy.

Lila’s eye

Ok so she has a glass eye. Am I the only one who thinks her other eye was probably black….? Especially after she was able to travel to red London without the stone, and that goes without mentioning what Tieren said.

Where did the magic go??

Kell said that you can’t kill magic only dispel it so where the heck did the magic from the stone go?! I have no idea but my guess is no where good.


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