I thought I might change up the way I review books since it’s been 2 years since I’ve written one.
My thoughts tend to be scattered a lot when I’m reviewing so I think I might make it less formal and see if it helps me get things out of my head.
Also, since this book has been around a while, I feel like maybe it doesn’t really need much of a review. Most people who read a lot of fantasy have probably heard of it.
If you haven’t… A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab check it out here.
I’ve had this on my radar for a while, I’ve checked it out from the library several times, I own an ebook and an audiobook version… there’s really no reason for it to have taken me this long to read.
I think it was intimidation, it’s a very hyped book series, I don’t know many people who don’t rave about it. So I decided that 2019 was going to be the year I give it a shot.
I have read several of Victoria Schwab’s books, her YA stuff anyway. I read The Archived duology and the Monsters of Verity duology as well. Both of these were the same story, I loved the 1st books and then the sequels were disappointing. So I’m a little on the fence about this author being for me.
I wanted to give this a shot though… here’s my thoughts on the first book…
The main characters: Lila and Kell were both very interesting. They we decently developed and had interesting backstories. I did like Lila a bit more than Kell, I felt like he was a little harder to connect to and I didn’t empathize with him as much. However, I did end up liking them both a lot.
The multiple Londons: This was a cool idea, I kind of knew about this concept from hearing people talk about the book for so long but it didn’t end up being like I expected it to be. I wanted to know a little more about the white and especially black Londons and I’m hoping that if I continue with the series that we’ll get more on those. Red London felt a little more like the Gray one with magic in it which is cool but I would have liked to know more about all of them.
The magic system: This one is tricky… I don’t feel like I understand it a whole lot. The Antari we’re explained in some detail but the story didn’t really expand a lot on how some of the other magic works… there was some info dumping right in the beginning about White London and the way they’ve used up so much magic by not giving back… but I was really very interested in the idea that magic was elemental and I would love to know how that works in the world also… again, hoping there’s more about other magics in the sequels. I love Kell and he’s very powerful, but he’s not the only one with magic…
Pacing: This is a slow burn story, not a whole lot happened in the 400 or so pages of the story. There were a few action type scenes but most of the story is just following the main characters around while they walk around and talk to people… it was a little annoying.
Ending: Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it for you… I’m just going to say that the ending lacked a bit for me personally… the reason being that it wrapped up this story was too nicely. There was a tiny hint that something else might be happening but really all the ends seemed to tie themselves up in a little bow. I honesty felt like if I didn’t continue with the sequels that I could just count this as a stand-alone and not be mad about it. That’s not really how I wanted the first in a fantasy series to end… so this one is more of a personal want and not something I’d count against the story.
All in all, I ended up giving it 3.5 stars and I’m still on the fence about reading the other two books… if you’ve read this series, let me know if you think I should and if they get more interesting? I’m curious, I did love Kell and Lila but if the other two are as slow as this one I might not get through them.