Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

a darker shade of magic reviewA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books in February 2015
Pages: 398
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
a darker shade of magic

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I couldn’t be bothered to write my own synopsis this time, so you’re going to have to deal with the mile-long Goodreads one. 

First off, let me remind you how much I love Vicious. I love it so much, I read it in one single sitting and it became one of my all-time favorite books. I basically inhaled that book. I sat down and sucked it in like a dementor sucking in a soul and it was glorious. So naturally, after reading that deliciousness I couldn’t wait to start this one because people have raved and raved and raved about it. 

Magic, parallel worlds, a royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness (Victoria Schwab’s own description of him), blood magic, magic coats, pirate girls… What could go wrong? Well. Buckle up and prepare for some unpopular opinions. 

I started reading it this summer and I didn’t finish it until right now. That’s slightly more than just one sitting. Let me tell you why. 

It is SO BORING. Like literally so boring. Things happen, it’s not that, it’s just the writing. The writing in this book is bland and lifeless and not at all engaging. That’s the main problem. It doesn’t come alive or spring from the page, it’s just… there. I zoned out constantly and kept having to go back several pages because I had no idea what was going on.

It’s just incredibly hard to get into and I never got into it, no matter how hard I wanted to (because I really wanted to). Every time I put it down I didn’t want to pick it back up, so it became a chore to finish. It had some good moments here and there, usually involving Holland and/or Rhy, but other than that it was a pretty dry read, unfortunately. I know I’m blaspheming right now, but there you go.

I was glad to see I’m not the only one who felt this way. When I skimmed through a couple Goodreads reviews I found Darth J, who felt the same way about the writing as I do (high five, Darth J). They used the perfect image in their review to describe this book:

read me like one of your textbooks

The only quote that stuck with me is this one, and it’s the one I’ve seen everywhere else. 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Things I actually liked:

  • The cover
  • Holland (He gave me angsty feels. I wish he had a larger role)
  • Rhy (yay bisexual princes)
  • Rhy and Kell’s relationship (sibling dynamics is my weakness)
  • Kell’s black eye
  • It ended kind of like a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Take me to the horizon. 

Unfortunately, the things I liked didn’t make my reading more enjoyable. And I rate books mostly on my enjoyment, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give this beloved book such a low rating. It’s not that it’s a bad book necessarily, it’s just that it didn’t hit me in any way, shape, or form. 

Don’t kill me D: 

goodreads

Am I just weird or do you agree? You probably don’t but let’s discuss it anyway. 

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9 thoughts on “Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  1. ariastuckinwonderland says:

    awww too bad you didn’t like this. I have to admit that this is quite slow in the beginning, but when it picked up pace, I ended up really enjoying it. Plusss… I have to read Vicious. I really have to!

    Like

  2. peculiarb says:

    While I liked this book, I agree with the titanic-inspired image you added (it actually made me laugh for a few minutes) because it’s heavy on the exposition and world building.

    Like

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