Friday, March 4, 2016

Book Review for "A Darker Shade of Magic" {by V.E. Schwab}

BOOK TITLE:    A Darker Shade of Magic
AUTHOR:    V.E. Schwab
GENRE:  Fantasy

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. 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 alive—trickier than they hoped.


3.8 Stars


V.E. Schwab aka Victoria Schwab is the author of many books including The Near Witch, The Archived, This Savage Song, and the recently released second book in Shades of Magic Series:
She is a space cadet in real life probably because she is always living in her head with her characters. She loves to wanderlust. And you can find her all over the world. She doesn't consider a day well lived unless it takes up a whole journal page. A funny fact about her is she collects narwals. She also loves the TV shows Dr. Who and Downton Abbey.

{The Book}

Let's talk about the fact that this book has four different Londons. There is Gray London for the magic less city, Red London for the healthy empire, White London for the starving world and Black London the unknown world. Lila calls them Dull London, Kell London, Scary London and Dead London, appropriate names also. Gray London is where Lila is from and it has no magic in it and is set in 1819, most people there have no idea there are other Londons. Red London is where Kell is from and is the London with the most magic. White London is closest to Black London and is constantly trying to fight it back from encroaching on their world and it is where the evil twins live who rule their. Black London is where the magic went out of control and killed all the people there. That is why the Antari had to seal off access to the other worlds from everyone except the Antari. Antari can travel between the worlds. Because their are so many worlds the book has a lot of world building in the beginning and she also has to explain the rules of the magic. So some people might think it is a little slow at first.


  • What do you think Black London is like?
  • We thought it is a powerful place where some people might still be alive. And Holland was sent there while he was barely alive. We think he will recover and will be there when Kell and Lila go there.
  • Who were your favorite characters?
  • Our favorites were Kell, Lila and Rhy. Personally I did not like Lila. I thought she was too harsh and had no feeling or emotion. She killed people without remorse. Kell was my favorite because he was almost the opposite of Lila. I thought the author did a good job making me love Kell. It was hard to connect with the characters because of all the world building. I think in book two we might get to see and love the relationships better.
  • Did you read it or listen to it?
  • We were about half and half. It seemed like the people who read it got a little different opinion on some things. Such as Holland's age. The people who listened thought he was older like 60. We were not a fan of the reader on the audio book. He did not do a good girls voice for Lila. I think I would have liked the book even more if I had read it. Wow it truly makes a difference on who you get to read your book.
  • What were the signs about Lila?
  • A couple of signs were shown throughout the book that Lilah might be an antari. First she robs Kell from his magical coat, which Kell said no one could do. Second it is revealed that she has a glass eye. We speculate that her mother had the all black eye cut out to hide her from her secret and magical power. Third she can cross between worlds and only antari can do that.
  • What was the point of the monarchs corresponding between worlds?
  • We were not sure about this. What would the point be if no one but Kell and Holland can even cross into the other worlds. So why keep each other informed on what is going on in their own Londons.
  • What did you think of Kell's coat?
  • The author said she got the idea from the TV show Pushing Daisies. The main character has a similar coat. (Not sure I haven't seen it) But we loved the idea of the coat and the many different personalities it had. Love that he could change his appearance when in different worlds. And we loved that he wasn't even sure how many different coats there were and that some coats only came out once.
  • How did you feel about Kell's family situation?
  • Sadly, Kell was feeling sorry for himself and Lila sets him straight on what she thinks is important like basic needs. Kell has everything needs wise but what he wants more than anything is family love and to feel included in the family. He gets that brotherly love with Rhy but he wants to know more about where he came from and who his parents were. Maybe because his adoptive parents won't tell him anything that keeps them at a distance.
  • Do you think Kell and Lila will get together?
  • For me that was the one thing missing from this story. I wanted a little more, even a kindling or a spark of love to come. I'm not even sure if they will get together. They shared to small quick kisses and it was totally awkward. Maybe Lila and Rhy will get together.
  • Do you think that Kell and Rhy were close enough to have a soul seal?
  • We thought that they were. They were like real brothers and had already proven to each other that they would die for each other.
  • What did you think of the magic being an entity?
    • The magic searched for a vessel to live in. One that was strong enough for him to survive in. He found that in Kell.
  • Quote 1:  “You poor thing,” said Lila coldly . . . “What do you want? Pity? You won’t find it from me.” . . . “You have a house if not a home,” she spat. “You have people who care for you if not about you. You may not have everything you want, but I’d wager you have everything you could ever need, and you have the audacity to claim it all forfeit because it is not love.” . . . “Love doesn’t keep us from freezing to death, Kell,” she continued, “or starving, or being knifed for the coins in our pocket. Love doesn’t buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need for nothing.” (pg 234-235, cut for length)
    What do you think about what Lila says?
    • Lila has never had love and she only knows how to survive. One of the most insightful revelations into her character. Kell wants to have the love and Lilah gives him a wake up call. Maybe Lila can have love after her basic needs are met. She just has never experienced love at all. She is too busy trying to survive.
  • Quote 2: “Some people steal to stay alive. Some steal to feel alive.”
    Do you think what she says is true? Is there any other reason to steal or do you think it can be broken down into those two categories?
    • Lila does both. She mainly does it to feel alive. This also made us think of the song by Selena Gomez "Can't Keep My Hands to Myself" 

  • Quote 3: "Aren't you afraid of dying?" he asks Lila now. She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. "Death comes for everyone," she said simply. "I'm not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here." She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."                                What do you think about Lila's perception of death? What do you think she mean by "live standing still?" Do you feel like you live your life more as an adventure or like you're standing still?
    • You need to put yourself out there and stretch yourself. If you don't then you will spend your life standing still. Lila spent every day of her life knowing she could die any time. She didn't have anything but herself.
  • Quote 4: “Why anyone would ever pretend to be weak was beyond her.”
    Do you think women still do this today? If so, why? What do you think about Lila dressing up as a man? Would you ever hide your femininity if it could help you get what you want?
    • It surprised most of us that Lila chose to have pants and boots instead of a fancy gown. She never once used her femininity to get what she wanted. No flirting or acting dumb. She was herself always. It made us think of other strong women in our lives who are rising up and doing the things that they always dreamed of. With social media it has actually made it easier for women to become successful in the careers and lives. 
  • Quote 5: “A life worth having is a life worth taking.” 
    What does this quote mean to you?
    • Take your own path and find what you want to do and run with it. Be brave and be strong and you can do it.
{Book Trailer}


On to book 2 because I can't wait to see what happens next.


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