Monday 21 November 2016

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Book Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: Library
Goodreads, Amazon UK

Goodreads Summary: 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.
What did I think? Just how amazing does the premise sound, right? When I first saw the plot summary for this book, I was immediately intrigued and I must say A Darker Shade of Magic delivered... somewhat.

It took me a while to get into the book. In fact I started it a few weeks ago and the book just didn't keep my interest. I forced myself to continue. One chapter at a time. About a third in, I thought, great premise, but I'm not sure I like the execution.

Then, finally, the tone changed, the plot advanced, and everything started to come together. I was excited. In fact I read the second half of the novel in one sitting. Sadly, towards the end, I felt a bit disappointed again. The resolution was too easy. Too neat.

V. E. Schwab is an excellent writer. I highly enjoy her prose. Her world-building is intricate, meticulous and clever. The premise is original and unlike anything I've read in the last few years. I just wish we could have seen more of the world.

In the end it was all a bit superficial, with great potential. I'm excited for the sequels, but for now... it didn't quite grab me the way I was hoping it would.

Nonetheless I recommend it highly, because Kell and Lila are great characters and the world Schwab created deserves every reader it can get. I'd like more books like this, please.


  1. Yay so you got down to reading this book :) I was waiting for the review! I have the whole series in my TBR! Wow, I've heard of a lot of books with an awesome starting, epic ending but a lacking mid part but I think this is the first time I'm hearing of a book that was really good in the middle with not-too-good starting and ending parts. Nevertheless, the premise IS really unique! Will definitely be picking this up soon :) Great review!
    Also how is your NaNoWriMo going on?

    1. I hope you'll enjoy it. I'll be looking forward to reading your review. It just took me a while to get into it, and the ending, well, too smooth haha, I like bumps.

      I'm very much behind in NaNoWriMo. But maybe I'll still finish. I just have to sit down and write.

  2. I really do love the description of this book and it's currently on my to-read list. I also see that it had a GR nomination which makes it even more alluring. Great review!
    Rebecca @ The Portsmouth Review
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    1. Thank you :) Yes, it's a wonderful world, I hope you'll like it.

  3. Oooh! I want to read this one so badly! I'm sorry that there were a few issues with it for you. This one has SO MUCH HYPE that it's scary - probably why I haven't picked it up yet! I'm glad that it was so enjoyable despite the issues you've had.

    Great review!

    1. I'm pretty sure if there was less hype, I would have loved it more. Sometimes hype makes you expect too much! Have fun with it, it's a good read!