I started A Darker Shade of Magic on my kindle a few months ago and I’m thoroughly ashamed to admit that I didn’t finish it*.
I have no idea why. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right kind of mood? I remember recognizing that the writing was good, and the story was good, but I… wasn’t into it.
A few weeks ago I went to New York City for a (belated) birthday present, and we went to The Strand which is─wait for it─a bookstore with 18 freaking miles of books. Yes. You read that. Your eyeballs have not failed you, my friend. It was heaven. While I was there I bought an actual, physical copy of ADSoM because I have an illness that causes me to impulsively buy any book with an even remotely pretty cover and I started to read it. AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW, FRIEND. I LOVED IT.
So this is my review. Prepare your mind for caps lock and lists.
*I know, I know! I fully expect every one of you to march upon my house with flaming torches and burn it to the ground. WHATEVER, TREVOR.
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Heat Level (on scale of 0-5): What is romance? Ok, ok, there were mentions. So I’m going to give it a 2. Honestly, I love this sort of fragile, almost-there relationship that Kell and Lila have right now so much. It makes me feel like I have a wild animal dancing a jig in my stomach. You know?
Violence (on a scale of 0-5): HAHAHAHA 5. LILA IS SO INCREDIBLY STABBY. But is was just so cool you know?
Language: Yes. I’m just going to leave it at that.
This book gets 70087296 stars from me. I’m not kidding. Me from five months ago deserves to be clobbered in the face with all the copies of ADSoM that exist for not rEAdiING it and loVInG it!!! WHAT WAS I THINKING???
- So first of all, everyone bow down to the overlord of all, V.E. Schwab. I’m not kidding. This woman is my new favorite person. Her writing style is concise and so WITTY (oh my gosh the banter. GUYS. THERE WAS BANTER. Catch me, I may faint.) and, let’s face it. If one of your MCs is a girl who wants to run off and be a pirate, then you automatically have my undying devotion.
- And the characters. OHMYDEARGOODNESSTHECHARACTERS. Sit tight, folks. I have another list coming your way*.
- Kell: Ok. Ok. Ok. Breathe deep, Eden. Don’t scream at the lovelies and scare them all away. *does yoga* *meditates* *chugs a gallon of milk* ok SO KELL WAS BEAUTIFUL AND TRAGIC AND I ALMOST INCLUDED HIM IN THIS POST BUT I DIDN’T BECAUSE I HADN’T READ ALL OF THE BOOKS AND I DIDN’T THINK IT WAS FAIR. Kell is an Antari, which means that he can travel between the different Londons that he has nicknamed Red London, Grey London, Black London, and White London (and Lila has nicknamed Kell London, Dull London, Dead London, and Creepy London). He frowns all the time but he isn’t whiny, and I’m obsessed with the fact that basically the whole books exists because he made one huge, stupid mistake. He is also SO. SASSY. Those comebacks gave me whiplash. And can we talk about his coat, please? It’s magical and has multiple sides. Um. Excuse me. I want a coat with multiple sides. Then I would never have to change clothes…
- Lila: It’s official. I want to be Lila Bard when I grow up. She’s a thief and she will stab you. (Seriously. There was so much stabbing.) I just LOVE HER. She’s always so confident and nasty and also snarky─she literally can’t stand anyone. Except maybe Kell. Because she wouldn’t have kept saving his life as many times as she did if she didn’t like him a little bit. The mutual life-saving gave me life. KELL AND LILA ARE THE CUTEST, OK?? I saw somewhere that there wasn’t any romance in this book (oh yeah, on my own blog) but that isn’t really true, not REALLY. There were two kisses, and even though they were more like thanks-for-still-being-alive-and-not-tortured-to-death-kisses, THEY STILL COUNT. I’m allowed to ship this. NOBODY CAN STOP ME FROM SHIPPING THIS. Also, did anyone else pick up on the whole possible Lila eyeball plot twist? Because I did…
- Holland: Alright. What’s up with this creepy dude and why does he keep trying to kill my favorite magical coat boy? Holland needs to chill. (Which, I suppose, he has if you think about it… but somehow I doubt it.) I did feel bad for him in spite of myself, even if he WAS trying to murder Kell basically the whole time. COME ON, V.E. SCHWAB. WHY MUST YOU CONFLICT ME LIKE THIS.
- Rhy: Rhy needs more time on the page, that much is sure. He has all the promise for being an awesome, charming addition. Plus, Kell loves him so much, and adding him in would add that extra layer of feels that I really don’t need or want but at the same time DO need and want.
- This book had NO SYMPATHY FOR THE CHARACTERS. I was so scared the whole time that one of them was going to die or get kidnapped or lose their soul or something… AND THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPENED. There was stabbing and blood and possession and spells─also what the heck, I could never spill as much blood as Kell spills to travel across worlds without probably dying─and general evil. But here I am, currently reading A Gathering of Shadows, heading back in for more. HAHA I’m so smart.
- I probably should have said this first, but the WORLD BUILDING was to DIE FOR.** All of the Londons, even boring, regular old Grey London, were interesting and guess what. I could actually tell the difference between them! I didn’t get confused even once! Please send me cupcakes in the mail to tell me how proud of me you are. Thank you. The world building was simply flawless. I was so interested in every single London, I could tell which one was which, and they all FELT different.
*Omg aren’t you excited? BE EXCITED.
**Get it? To die for? Because there was so much dying? Thank you.
All right, that’s it. I’m done gushing.
Have you read ADSoM?
Do you want to be a pirate?
Do you ship Lila and Kell?
Let me know!
Read on, lovelies!