Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of MagicIs it bad that the only thought running through my head right now is how lovely these books will look on my shelves? I mean, once I actually get enough money to buy the hardcovers… But, imagination is a beautiful thing, is it not?

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  • Pages: 401
  • Genre: YA, Fantasy
  • Series: Shades of Magic
  • Author: V. E. Schwab
  • Release Date: 24 February 2014
  • Rating: 5 stars

Kell is one of the last travellers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveller, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

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Books like a Darker Shade of Magic


  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
  3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor 
  4. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch 

All are amazing books, and you can expect reviews on all of them in the upcoming month.

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My thoughs

My heart exploded. Oh look! Blood and muscle is everywhere! I love my new wall decorations.

Heart explosion

I have exploded, but I exploded happily (or as happily as one would expect). I have no wish right now, other than the fact that I NEED TO READ A GATHERING OF SHADOWS! I had maybe one or two issues with this novel, but otherwise, IT WAS AMAZING!

(Lots of capitals there, dear readers. Do take note.)


These are many, and are all covered in the subcategories below! However, a summary can be found here:

Kell and Lila are amazing, but so are Holland and Rhy. London is quadrupled, which just makes it better, and V. E. Schwab’s mind annoys me in it’s perfection. 

More detail is below.


These were amazing. The characters in ADSOM were in depth, satisfying, and freaking incredible!

Now, let’s talk boys. *leans across table and assumes a position that reminds all of a gossiping teenager.*

Kell and Holland and Rhy and eugh were all so amazing as male characters! Kell is now my book boyfriend, and you can argue with me, but he is.


For all who don’t know, Lila is a thief. A very very skilled and kinda scary thief.



FOUR LONDONS! How awesome is that?? I can’t believe V.E. Schwab has created a world that is so deep and INCREDIBLE! I adore London—it’s one of my favourite cities in the world—and reading about four of them, all with different characteristics and people and magic, is surreal, and I loved every second of it.


Gah what do I say? I loved it. I will always love it. Antari, Londons, Kell, Lila, Holland, Rhy, etc. I loved it all and they all made up the plot, ergo, I loved the plot.

But seriously. V. E. Schwab’s mind annoys me sometimes. She—is—so—damn—brilliant!


One thing. Only one! PROGRESSION! This book moved too fast for my liking. Far too fast. I mean, I feel as if one page I was in Grey London with just Lila, and then suddenly I was in Red London with Kell and Lila. And I know that it was not my reading pace! I understand that travelling between worlds is instantaneous, however, this was ridiculous. Kell and Lila’s meeting was too rushed I found, but that might just be me. (And this is only one measly bad thing!)

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Reading Progress

February 22, 2017 – Started Reading

February 22, 2017 – 2.0% “Well. Two series [Shades of Magic and Mistborn]. Both reasonably similar. (Why must both the protagonists be named Kell? Or nicknamed Kell…)
But this is amazing… *swoons*”

February 22, 2017 – 8.0% “I kind of don’t want to finish this… Part 2 already… I mean… slow but amazingly well thought out and explained intro… but, the end is near… or seems to be. 😢
Red Royal… That part title reminds me SO MUCH of Red Queen… What’s next? Silver King?
Nah. It’s actually Grey Thief… But I am counting this one as a win! Silver, grey, what’s the difference?!”

February 22, 2017 – 13.0% “O_o. I am loving this book! Kell, and Rhy, and… absolutely no one else. I reeeeaaally want to meet Delila/ Lila… She sounds cool. Just… Grey Thief. O_o indeed… Ahhhh. Will continue with pleasure.”

February 22, 2017 – 13.0% “Turned the page over and oh look! we met Lila!
Well. Lila. Must get back to her.”

February 22, 2017 – 16.0% “”Dead. Dead … and making a mess.””

February 22, 2017 – 23.0% “Astrid and Athos are so… ruthless. Just… Beloc… He really shouldn’t have done that.”

February 28, 2017 – 41.0% “I am reading this so slowly… stupid school!”

March 2, 2017 – 52.0% “Omg. I am in love with this book… 😱”

March 2, 2017 – 65.0% “I am in awe. 😱”

March 2, 2017 – 67.0% “I thought that it was Rhy and I swear my heart stopped! ❤️”

March 3, 2017 – 77.0% “I really hate Astrid. Rhy… I mean. Why?”

March 3, 2017 – 85.0% “15% left… I can’t do this.”

March 9, 2017 – 88.0% “Almost finished! Downloaded A Gathering of Shadows onto my phone… I just really want to finish this tonight!”

March 11, 2017 – Finished Reading

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Favourite Quotes

Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

Dead. Dead… and making a mess.

“Goodness, no,” said Rhy with a crooked grin. “But who knows what fun I’ll find while failing.”

The city, once glorious, fell to chaos and conquering. Blood and ash.

“The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.”

“I want to keep him, brother,” said Astrid. 

Bad magic, Kell had called it. 

No, thought Lila now. Clever magic. 

And clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week. 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”

“Seen what?”

Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Kell frowned deeply. It is amazing, thought Lila, that he didn’t have more wrinkles. 

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I hope that I have managed to convince you to read this book. It is amazing and you would only be missing out on something if you did not read it. (Ally, Melia, somehow I have already convinced Claudia to read it, now you guys need to read it too. It is too good to miss out on. [See above for more reasons why!])

Expect a review from me (Laurena) on Carry On, Vicious, a Conjuring of Light, and a Gathering of Shadows. I am going to be busy…

Every Thursday, at 19:00 Australian time, you can expect a post from me—be it a review, tag, or other.

Thank you so much for everything, guys.

Laurena xx

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