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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee
Progress: 72/235pages
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
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Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
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Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
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A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic #1


A Darker Shade of Magic started off quite strongly. I was intrigued by the prospect of several cities called London and yet so different layered so closely together. The magic required to travel between worlds also seemed to work and I liked the snippet of Regency Grey London we see. Kell, when acting as the kleptomaniac magician-messenger was quite fun. I loved the fact that he walked off with the prince’s pen (so Moist von Lipwig). Holland looked to be an interesting foil. Even Lila started off okay.


But then we discover that Lila’s secret desire is to become a pirate captain (it’s 1819, by the way) and she starts acting about twelve instead of her supposed nineteen years. Things started going downhill from there.

Next we discover that Holland is actually being controlled by his king and queen, which basically robs him of the ability to be interesting.

(show spoiler)

I wasn’t impressed by White London’s king and queen, although it’s a bit hard to put my finger on why. Perhaps they were just a little over the top?


Lila recovers a bit partway through, but the damage was already done, and then we started encountering plot points that weren’t quite forced but still didn’t seem to flow. For example, Kell’s confession to Lila of the people he’d killed felt unnecessary and out of place where it was positioned. And the use of Arnesian quotes seemed pointless, for the most part.


I still like the quote (about what prince Rhy is like):

“He’s…charming and spoiled, generous and fickle and hedonistic. He would flirt with a nicely upholstered chair, and he never takes anything seriously.”

And then there were things like

-Kell defeating Athos by baiting him into trying to dispel his own magical serpent which takes offense and then eats him. Convenient much?

-Kell just knowing it wasn’t Lila.

-The random mention of Lila’s eye (I was so glad they didn’t turn out to be related after all that).

-Leaving behind the spreading black magical infection that is conveniently defeated at a distance (they were really lucky it worked like that, weren’t they?)

- Kell starting to act more like Lila.


I was really looking forward to seeing Black London and was thus very disappointed when they sent Holland through (who will most likely somehow recover from his wounds because it’s so hard to kill the Antari and come back again as a main villain) instead of visiting themselves.

(show spoiler)


Despite actually killing off people, the book felt pretty YA. I’m calling it a really average read. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not sure whether I’ll bother with the next one. Unless they visit Black London?