We meet Kell, a mysterious wanderer in a fabulous coat, who travels between worlds as easily as stepping from one room to another. And then there is Black London, which no one travels to anymore, not even Kell. What V. Schwab did so well in Vicious, and what she does again here, is establish each of her characters, from heroes to villains, as fully realized, fleshed-out individuals.
While Lila and Kell are both brave and charismatic, they are also criminals, and while the main antagonists — the terrifying sibling rulers of White London — are undeniably sinister, the people they use to carry out their dark deeds are in many ways conflicted and sympathetic.
Blurring that line between hero and villain is a tricky game, but Schwab accomplishes it masterfully. And once the book hits its stride, there are payoffs aplenty as the story builds in intensity all the way through to its twisting, bloody conclusion. A Darker Shade of Magic will have a sequel, but this first installment ends on a perfectly satisfying note. There are no cliffhangers here, only the graceful bow of one adventure while another waits in the wings, peeking around the corner.
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Log in now or Create an account. Four Londons and a magic coat?! I'm in! February 29, Updated: April 29, There are so many instances of foreshadowing that made me squeal with absolute delight!! Now I walk on them to tea. This entire series is a little treasure, I'd recommend it to anyone!! Annamaria Top Reviewer 29 reviews. Powered by JReviews.
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Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Rules for Vanishing. In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project Lety Out Loud. I really enjoyed the start to this series! Schwab had such a unique idea - with the four Londons and their varying degrees of magic - and executed it extremely well.
I loved all the details she included - it really made the story come alive. As for the characters Lila at times a bit over the top really balanced out the seriousness and coldness of Kell. The two of them working together had a really natural feel - as evidenced by their free-flowing banter. I was not myself. Audiobook Comments Read by Steven Crossley - and he did a great job. This was a rather well-read audiobook. I do wish he would've had more emotion when it came to his characters but then again, Kell is supposed to be a little stand-offish.
Blog Instagram Twitter View all 28 comments. Dec 23, C. Drews rated it it was amazing Shelves: read , read , 5-star , young-adult , best-of , audio-books , epic-fantasy , reread. I love Kell. I love his frown. I love his love for his brother. I love his smol fragile beginnings of a relationship with Lila.
I love his bloody magic. I love his dark side. I may need to go lie down or else faceplant into A Gathering of Shadows for the second time. I over-hyped to myself??? Despite already having read and adored Vicious. So clearly I am the most pathetic of grapefruit fiends. It was violent and magicy and bloody and incredibly written Like seriously, I want one. I told you Also I absolutely adore VE Schwab's writing style!! Like it's brisk and too the point. It doesn't fluff around.
Gah, I am in love with the world building skills. I actually never had any "Huh, I don't get it? Which is a big deal for me. I don't get it. And the characters?! Shriek loudly, I tell you. Like, literally perfect. A little bit tragic and lost and longing She's a thief and so snarky She really would. And she's wondrous. My favourite thing of ever. I mean, I DID love him. My favourite kind of character, tbh For this I am sad. But tragic? Like I felt really bad for him even as he was doing terrible evil things. He was enough of a villain to be hated, and enough of a victim to make me whisper a small "oh dear" and feel sad for him.
One thing wasn't perfect. But this is purely me? And I dare say most people wouldn't have this problem: but I found the book very predictable. It was really weird. I have this slight suspicion that it's sort of how I would put together a story? I am like a toddler with a crayon compared to her. I would choose all the plot directions she went in, which made me sort of know they were going down? Also pleeeeeeeeeeease tell me I'm not alone in catching the potential-plot-twist-about-Lila?!?!? She is so totally an Antari. Clearly someone cut out her eye as a kid, right???
There was a kiss. That's ship material there. I also really liked how it didn't spare the characters. And like everyone's moral compasses were soooo twisted. I'm like such a violent little squid. I know. But omg, so much blood. Also it gives me the shivers when they cut themselves for spells.
So basically this book is perfect. And I'm actually glad I only read it just now?? Because I can go buy A Gathering of Shadows straight away! I love the characters, I am so sucked in by the writing, and I can't get enough of the epic dialogue and the perfect plot twists and the bloody spectacular brilliantness.
You can all say "I told you so" but I will smush cake in your face and glare. Also the part where Lila knocks Kell out with a book is basically the best part of the entire book and gives me life quite frankly. View all 55 comments. Feb 26, Darth J rated it it was ok Shelves: disappointing , slow. Further, I felt like there was a lot of pandering going on here.
Currently, YA books are trying their darnedest to be inclusive, which I personally think is a great step in modern storytelling. This book took me longer to finish than I would have thought, simply because the writing is so dry and flat.
On nearly every page I pendulated from interested to bored and back again like a metronome. The story itself is captivating in parts, but the actual prose has no life. There's no heart in it at all, and you don't care about the characters so when they die it's no big deal. It sits there listless and says, Our main character is Kell, and he is oh so original. Wait though, he has a completely black eye and does blood magic and there is only one other blood magician in the story so of course they have to face off.
The other half of this stone belongs to the villain! By the end, she has a pirate coat and is seen looking at a bunch of ships deciding which one to steal. Especially, trying to remember the differences between the 4 Londons. Yes, there are 4. If you just want a mindless popcorn book made up of ideas seen elsewhere and are clueless enough to think that one-note tertiary characters are progressive, then you'll probably love it.
View all 8 comments. May 15, Raeleen Lemay rated it liked it Shelves: adult-fiction. I sort of flew through this book. Or rather, I listened to the audiobook extremely quickly. I found the story interesting at first but it rapidly lost steam for me The writing was great, but I didn't care much for the plot which seems to be a pattern with Schwab's books for me, with Vicious being the exception. The concept of parallel Londons was really cool, but aside from that I didn't find it very interesting. I was also left wanting more character development.
All I could think during th I sort of flew through this book. I'm not even completely sure why, but there it is. They didn't feel like new characters to me at all. Also, I wouldn't recommend this audiobook.
A Darker Shade of Magic
The narrator does wacky, over-the-top accents that lessened my enjoyment of the book and took away from the story. Victoria even told me she didn't like that about the audiobook. All of that being said, I didn't hate the book, so I feel like 3 stars is a good rating to represent how I feel.
View all 31 comments. Jan 06, Elise TheBookishActress rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorite-relationships , books-read , that-disability-representation , 5-star , marked-as-new-genres , that-gay-genre-fiction-content , that-lgbtq-rep-tho , what-kind-of-hype-hype-hype , genre-series-books , faves-of So you may notice this book is kind of polarizing within the adult sff community; a little bit And for me personally it is Red London, a land of magic and peace. White London, a land of turmoil and war and an overuse of magic.
And Black London, the land where magic went wrong and burnt out. Only a few people can travel between worlds, and when one of the only two left, Kell, discovers a magic stone that could destroy his world, he and non-magical Lila go on a journey to put it back. Let's get the problems out of the way - the plotting is a mixed bag.
Pro: fast-paced and never boring. This book is a page wild ride. Con: literally no driving force behind the plot. The characters don't even have a quest until around page , and it makes the entire book feel just a bit messy. Her smile only sharpened. It was nigh-impossible for me to not be engaged in this story.
The writing style is SO GOOD, lyrical and gorgeous and with a really nice flow to it; one of my good blogger friends discussed her sentence structure, and it is so fantastic. The worldbuilding is creative and intriguing and perhaps best of all, makes a surprising amount of sense for such a wild concept. Also, I would die for these characters. Oddly, they didn't totally grow on me until like While I could recognize from the beginning that the leads were well-developed and interesting, it took me a while to feel as if I had a concrete concept of who they are. And then we got to the ending and I was screaming in agony at the thought of these characters dying, and I was like "oh shit" and realized how much I love Kell and Lila and Rhy and how much I care about their relationships.
Schwab does a lot of showing, not telling, which makes the character development a bit more subtle; these characters are based off their motivations perhaps even more than their actual traits.
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Slow start, flawless payoff. I actually want to talk a little more specifically about these characters because when I think back on this series, they are always what come to mind. Kell is a grumpy child who we love anyway. Lila is a fucking badass genderfluid thief with a soft side and I love her. Rhy is a bisexual prince [literally] who spends half his time dragging people. Even Holland, the sort-of-villain, is a super dynamic and intriguing character. I love them. They are perhaps two of the most different people ever and they love each other so much it's beautiful.
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Super highly recommended for fans of creative, engaging fantasy. Blog Goodreads Twitter Youtube View all 32 comments. Reviewed by: Rabid Reads 4. As far as I can tell this happens to me for one of two reasons: 1. This was a 2 situati Reviewed by: Rabid Reads 4. This was a 2 situation. And even though it's been over a month, I'm still kind of at odds about what to say. Firstly, it is a fact universally acknowledged that I am a character-driven reader.
I was not more than mildly invested in these characters until I was more than halfway through it. Yet there was very little romance in this book. We have: 1. Characters I didn't immediately connect with. Little to no swoons. And still. Do you see why I needed time to traverse the dark and twisty paths of my mind? But ultimately, it comes down to this: Victoria Schwab is a bloodydamn genius. No really. She is.
A Darker Shade of Magic on Apple Books
She created a world so vastly different from others I've encountered, with hinted at conundrums for a later date, and characters who are. They are also broken. In remarkably similar ways despite the disparity of their situations. Kell is a member of the royal family. A prince. Brother to the heir. Except he isn't. And he knows it, they know it, everyone knows it. But everyone pretends. Just like Kell pretends not to be consumed with questions about what came before.
She is astonishingly intelligent. She is independent. If she had a middle name, it would almost certainly be Hubris. And yet, she is bitterly fragile. She wants nothing from no one, and accepts nothing she cannot immediately repay, negating any debt she feels is owed. She's painful to watch. But I had to watch. Had to. But Lila knew there were no good parts. Only smart parts and stupid parts, and she was quick enough to know which one to play. And honestly, I have no idea what my problem was. I've already said that, yes, eventually, they began to tug my heartstrings, but why it took so long.
It shall remain a mystery. But things like this: "I'm not going to die," she said. As for world-building, take the things you think you know about magic systems and toss them out the window. When I first learned that one of the rulers of Red London had a special talent for controlling the will of others, I was like, "Well, that sucks," and when Kell walked up the fortress steps that were guarded by ten soldiers who were indeed controlled, I thought, "That is such a waste of power.
How many people could this guy possibly control at once, and how could he have any power left over to defend against a direct magical attack? Arthos can control as many people as he wants. All he has to do is brand them with his particular kind of magic. And that, my friends, is terrifying. You will laugh at drunk men stumbling groggily on stairs HA! Highly recommended. May 27, Cece ProblemsOfaBookNerd rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in , fantasy , signed , favorites , reread , my-books , split-pov , read-in I love it so much. I can't believe I actually get to move on to book 2 this time.
My thoughts: "Now, think critically. There were one or two things you maybe didn't love quite as much as everything else. View all 7 comments. Jan 19, Hannah rated it really liked it Shelves: favorites. My spoiler free video review is now up!! That was incredible!! Schwab is truly a master when it comes to crafting multidimensional, well rounded, and flawed characters.
A Darker Shade of Magic
Rhy is so pure and precious. Kell deserves love and happiness. And Lila. Lila Bard is my new queen. This was truly one of the most realistic fantasy worlds I've ever read about. I mean that in the sense that the world seemed like My spoiler free video review is now up!! I mean that in the sense that the world seemed like something that could actually exist. The world was complex and intricate, but just grounded enough that the concept of 4 parallel London's is something I can truly conceptualize.
In other words, it made me believe that the magic was real. As always, Schwab's writing was absolutely engaging.
It's concise and simplistic, yet still full of warmth and depth. This book was a bit slower paced but I thought that it matched the world perfectly. It was fast-paced and action-packed where it needed to be and still took its time to develop the world and characters completely.
Needless to say, I loved it. And I can't wait to continue on in the series! T who arrives in London. This is my sixth month on Goodreads and throughout that period, there are three series that always appeared on my feeds and probably everyone else. E Schwab. Endless arrow pinned me to a wall. Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. Shades of Magic Volume 3 V. Witness the fate of beloved heroes and notorious foes in the heart-stopping conclusion to V.
Shades of Magic Volume 2 V.