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

Okay, I did it? I listened to the hype, even though it’s not always recommended. I listened. And all of you people were damn right. The hype didn’t lie. If it held some minor drawbacks, A Darker Shade of Magic definitely lived up to its praise, taking me on an unexpected journey.



β€œI’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

Four different London, defined by their color, separated by doors that only a few lucky, or unlucky people can cross. Magicians, heirs to the throne, power envy, darkness, fights and a little bit of blood. I won’t sum it up for you, because you certainly know the story already, and if not, Goodreads does that perfectly. But this is just to mention that this book is totally out of my comfort zone. I’ve said it a thousand times, I love contemporaries, but I do want to shake things up a bit, because you guys are making me want to read ALL the books. And erm, I’m definitely glad I did read that one, because it was SO good. I’m not sure if this is because that book is a bit outside of my usual reads, or if it was that way for a lot of people, but I did have a hard time getting into it. I found the beginning a little slow, I was eagerly waiting for the characters to meet up, the action to finally kick in, the whole hype to finally come alive before my eyes. It took some time, I’m not going to lie, but that time was taken to build an intricate world, to show us the ropes and the ways the different London work, to get accustomed to such a new universe. So I’m not really mad, I’m kind of grateful, actually, because WHAT an amazing world-building that was. And what a great idea for it. Different Londons, so many different people and worlds and abilities, magicians, possibilities… so I’m not used to it, but damn I could get used to this awesomeness -sometimes slightly terrifying world- very quickly. I wanted to see more of the different London, to KNOW more. But I get that it’s a series, and I’ll swallow my impatience silently. For now.



β€œI apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”

“I apologize for shooting you in the leg. I was myself entirely.”

A Darker Shade of Magic has so many different characters that, at first, it was hard to keep up. Like I said before, it’s probably because it took time for the world to build, and for us to understand the ropes. But let me reassure you before you panic, there aren’t THAT many POV, actually, it all comes down to the two AMAZING main characters, Kell and Lila. Where Kell wants to be discreet, Lila wants to draw blood. Where Kell wants to be careful, Lila wants to jump heads first into the mess, and just DO something. Both are pretty awesome, I’d say, especially TOGETHER. Their dialogue and endless banter brought a smile on my face more than once, and it just shows how much of a talent Schwab has for this. Separated, I missed them together. If I loved getting to know Kell, and Lila, and all of their adventures, I wished I could have known them a little better, deep inside. Sometimes, I didn’t really understand Kell, because the writing is more in a direct way of saying things, taking us directly into action, and not forever dwelling on the feelings. You know me, I’m a HUGE FEELINGS person, so, erm, I missed that quite a bit, but it was still a great change. And LILA, damn that girl is FIERCE and I loved that about her so, so, so much. Yet I wish we got a little more into her story, too, especially her past. But once again it’s a series, so I’m wishing to know more in the next installment.



β€œBattles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.”

Noticed how I already mentioned twice the next book? Well, because YES I’m going to read it. I can’t not read it after that ending, after everything that happened. The middle and the ending really made it up for the slow start, with a lot of action, bloody bad things and new elements always making me turning the pages quickly, slowly realizing just how awesome this book was.


A Darker Shade of Magic is living proof -well, okay, writing proof, well just A PROOF okay?- that the book blogging community is awesome, and venturing outside of your comfort zone is sometimes so delightful you can’t wait to get back again. If the beginning was slow, and I wished MORE from the characters a bit, there’s no denying Kell’s coat is awesome and so is this whole book. I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series, because I heard it’s even BETTER.

Final rating: Β 4 drops!

Did you read A Darker Shade of Magic? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?! Do you want to read it? If you read the sequel, is it true that it’s EVEN BETTER? Share your thoughts in comments!


V. E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic, Β Published by Tor Books, 24th February 2015.

Β goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

Kell is one of the last Travelersβ€”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 Londonβ€”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 aliveβ€”trickier than they hoped.

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

60 thoughts on “Review : A Darker Shade of Magic, V. E. Schwab

  1. Yay! I am so so glad you loved this book, now I can’t wait for you to start the second one πŸ˜€ I do agree with you it was a little slow to start but I think most of that was building up the setting and everything else. I do understand what you mean about not being sure if it was because its not your usual genre. I feel like that sometimes whereas with fantasy books I tend to immediately fall into the story and the world. But I do agree with you that venturing out your comfort zone is always a good thing πŸ˜€
    Also if you thought this one was good just wait until you start the second! I loved A Gathering of Shadows so much more than ADSoM and I did love the first book a lot. There’s so much more action, Rhy and Kell, Red London; it’s just amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, in every new world we need a bit of introduction, and time to show us the ropes and everything, so I guess that was okay, and the action picked-up afterwards, and all was great! I’m really excited for the second book, I’m glad you found it better! I really loved Rhy and Kell as well, we barely saw them together, I wanted more. Another reason to be excited for the next book! πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much Beth! ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The world-building in this series is excellent, so the time to show us the ropes and all the development was definitely worth it in my opinion. Obviously once the action started it was so much better though πŸ™‚
        I was exactly the same in the first book, I loved what little we saw of Rhy and Kell so I was thrilled they were together more in the second. I’m sure you’ll love A Gathering of Shadows!
        And that’s all right ❀️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. IT MUST BE A SIGN. I have been wanting to get my hands on this one for SO LONG and I have just been BOMBARDED with work and my monster TBR so I’ve just been pushing it back. Recently however, it exploded in my face when two wonderful bloggers completely fangirled over it MASSIVELY and presented me the fact that its turning into a TV SHOW which is WICKEDLY AWESOME πŸ™‚ And now look at this! An AMAZING AMAZING review from an ONE OF MY FAVOURITE AMAZING bloggers to show off the love and incredibleness of this book. I MUST PICK THIS UP AND I MUST PICK IT UP NOW. I mean, I think I’m already in love with this Kell and Lila. GIVE IT TO ME.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s turning into a TV SHOW?? I had NO IDEA. What would I do without you, really, I don’t know. It was a great book and I’m sure you should enjoy it, I think you should add it to your TBR and read it RIGHT NOW, so we can talk and fangirl about it together. And read the second book as well πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. HAHA *flips hair* Your superhero and your news bearer I AM AMAZING. I am almost sure that I will enjoy it! Don’t worry, I WILL BE THERE TO FANGIRL WITH YOU ONCE THE BOOK IS READ. Hehe, second book is a guaranteed read πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So this wasn’t in your normal reading genre and you enjoyed it? I have been seeing it everywhere and all the good reviews, but it’s not something I would normally pick up. Wasn’t sure if it was one of those that “everyone” will like?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not really, I mean, I have read fantasy before, but I’m more of a contemporary reader, and I wouldn’t go to that book by myself. I was really surprised to like it that much, it’s different, unusual, and there are a lot of things we definitely don’t see in contemporaries, but enjoyed this. I missed the big focus and development of characters though, but I’m hoping that’ll improve πŸ™‚ Let me know if you pick it up, I’d love to know what you think πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree with you! I love fantasy, so this isn’t really out of my comfort zone, but I did feel the start was slow. The world-building was beautiful, but I do wish it was a little quicker. I loved Kell and Lila too! They were both such interesting characters, and I really enjoyed reading about them. I think Lila was my favourite! I actually have the second book but I’m so scared to read it, because I’m worried I might not like it! Also, I can’t remember loads about ADSOM, so I’m hoping recaptians have done a recap… πŸ˜€

    Denise | The Bibliolater

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you felt the same way than I did about that book. Lila was my favorite as well, she was so great! Oh, well for now I’ve only heard good things about the sequel, so…don’t be worried, you should enjoy it, and I really want to know if you do πŸ™‚ but hm, I do hope they do some kind of recap as well, because by the time I read it, I won’t remember a thing either, ahah! πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much Denise!<3


  5. Talk a bad influence. YOU are as much of bad influence on me as I am on you hahaha ! I already wanted to pick this up, but now, I need it like YESTERDAY! GIMMEEEEEEEEE! This book sounds so unique and dark and just pure awesome sauce, so now, I just have to go and get it, bad Marie, bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad you enjoyed ADSOM so much! I definitely agree on the slow start but amazing world-building. The slowness of it all is kind of what makes me not love the whole book. I did really, really enjoy it as well, just never hyped it as much as others. A Gathering of Shadows is also very slow, but heavily relies on character development and that’s awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I already read in your AGOS review that the beginning was slow as well, and that’s the only thing making me less impatient to read the second book. Other than that, I’m really excited for all the character development and to get back into that world πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much Kat! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Marieeeeeee you read it! YOU READ IT AND I’M SO EXCITED!
    I love these so much. I’m so glad you ventured outside your comfort zone a little bit πŸ˜‰ I ADORE the world-building too! And I’m excited to see what you think about AGOS because.. It’s pretty character-driven so the action starts a bit slow too. BUT THERE’S A NEW CHARACTER IN IT WHO IS PURE AWESOMENESS OKAY?!
    *ahem* Sorry. I can control myself and discuss this book like a responsible adult. Nope. That’s a lie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OHH, a new character? I’m intrigued, like, REALLY. I can’t wait to read that second book. I heard about the slow beginning as well, but I heard that despite that, it’s even better than the first book, so I am EXCITED ! πŸ˜€
      Ahah, and I love when books are making us a bit crazy, it just means they are THAT good, right? πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much Annika! ❀


  8. As you probably know now, it’s becoming a TV show and I CAN’T WAIT I JUST CAN’T. If you thought this book was good, I’M TELLING YOU the second one is so much better!! I’m trying not to get people’s hopes up too high but the second book is what I’ve imagined. And the show’s going to be written by the author so… I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT NOR BREATHE. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I had NO IDEA until just a few days ago, and I am excited, it’s going to be awesome as a tv show! But what’s the cast going to be like…? That’s my fear, ahah. Do we have some news about it? A RELEASE DATE? πŸ˜› You’re making me even more impatient to read the second book now, I can’t wait! πŸ˜€ Thank you! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know when it’s going to be released but I CAN’T BREATHE it better be soon or else… SOMETHING is going to happen to me. And it’s nothing good. Here’s the announcement article thing:
        And her tweets just make me more excited because she promises that “A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC will be done right, or not at all.” SO I JUST UGH I NEED THIS AND KELL AND… yes, hopefully it’s soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aw thank you so much for the article! I hope it’s SOON, I really can’t wait now, I’m sure it’s going to be awesome, especially if we know that the author handle part of the show. We know at least it’s going to be respectful of her story, and that’s awesome to hear already! ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. My existence is BASED on the fact that it should be soon.
        Yeah, I love that she still has creative control over her show so I’m just going to love it all the more!! I NEED THS NOW. HONESTLY 10 REVIEWS WILL GO UP FOR IT. Okay, maybe just the one will do haha.

        Liked by 1 person

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