Review: A Darker Shade of Magic // Brutality, Plot Twists, and Flawless World Building

Sparkling Letters Book Blog. Review A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab (1)

RATINGS : 5 Stars

I had no idea WHY I delayed 10 gazillion months to finally read this book. After (again) hearing so many good reviews about it, the latest being Fadwa’s review, I was utterly convinced that I had to read this book. IT WAS BRILLIANT. A Darker Shade of Magic is easily one of the most awesome and epic thing I’ve ever read. I am completely and thoroughly in love with this book. It’s EVERYTHING and I couldn’t wait to write a review full of praises!

Let me tell you why 😉

The plot

The plot is so ridiculously SMART and definitely one to die for. It was slow paced AT FIRST. I spent a lot of chapters reading about our hero, Kell, and his world and it wasn’t until at least page 77 that we got to be introduced to the main heroine. Believe me, it’s not boring at all. The pacing escalates quickly once our hero and heroine’s paths crossed and there are PLOT TWISTS EVERYWHERE. Most of the time, you would’t see it coming but the other times, you COULD see it coming because the author is just seriously clever and she dropped so many hints of what’s going to happen. It’s up to us and our intelligent brain to pick up her cues and remember them for later. Everything that happened in this books is not random. It’s thoroughly planned. Five stars to that alone.

Sadly though, having an idea about what’s going to happen next DID NOT prepare you when it actually happens. This book has a crazy element of surprise and V.E. Schwab definitely is NOT scared to murder her characters, including the ones whom I’ve come to care for </3 there were a lot of stabbings and everything was brutal! I did not expect that. I’m convinced that the sequels are gonna be EVEN MORE EPIC.

world building

A Darker Shade of Magic has the most complex yet vivid world building I’ve ever read. There are four kinds of London, to put it simply. The magicless Grey London, the good magic Red London, the bad magic White London, and very, very bad magic and fallen Black London.  But believe me, no matter how simple the concept is, explaining it to a reader is not easy. V.E. Schwab  just kicked ass. She explained it but it wasn’t at all boring. We still got that sense of ‘show not tell’ and I got a clear understanding of how the four worlds work despite all of their differences. I think this book could really use a map though.

characters ADSoM

Lila and Kell are one of those heroes and heroines who could make the readers effortlessly fall in love with them. I love the fact that Kell is (sort of) royalty and Lila is the thief. It’s a bit of role reversal from the majority in which the guys are the thieves or street gangs. I also enjoyed the fact that Lila is not your usual girl. No one described her as pretty or anything, only badass. She’s so much more cold hearted than Kell. She also has that obsession with pirates and that’s 10000 points for her! ♥

Don’t even get me started on their interaction…. it’s EVERYTHING! They’re so snarky and funny and quick and instead of boring you with tons of adjectives I’d just show you some of my favorite quotes.

“You’re a smuggler.”

“Says the pickpocket,” snapped Kell defensively.

“I know I’m a thief. I’ve accepted that. It’s not my fault that you haven’t.”

and this

“Where did you get this?” he asked.

“In a pocket in your coat. What?”

“How did you know what it was for?”

“I didn’t.”

“What if it had been poison?”

“There’s really no winning with you. It smelled fine. It seemed fine. And obviously I tested it on myself first.”

“You did what?”

“I’m not repeating myself just so you can gape and glare.”

I should stop here before I got carried away even more but seriously, FUNNY! It’s also refreshing to see not a hint of romance between the two. There were good luck kisses but that’s it, there’s no blushing or flustering or anything.

The rest of the characters are also amazing. Not many authors could pull off lovable side characters but V.E. Schwab definitely could. I love Rhy, I love Gen and Parrish </3, I love the king and queen, I love Holland, and even the Danes twins are awesome. I can’t wait to see more of their stories on A Gathering of Shadows ❤ ❤ ❤

Sparkling Letters Book Blog. Review A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab (2)

the writing

This book probably has the most structured writing I’ve ever seen. The descriptions are vivid but systematic. I normally like it better when a book starts with an action, like when the main characters meet at page one while simultaneously describing the back story and the setting.Systematic writing could have easily been boring but no need to worry because once again, Victoria Schwab successfully avoided the trap. The writing was so flowy and easy reading and I know for sure easy reading is difficult to write.

It’s definitely a page turner and captivating. I couldn’t put it down it was so addictive! 😛


Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? (If you haven’t then you definitely should) What do you think about it? Even better, link me to your own review. Are Victoria Schwab’s other books as good as this one? I’d love to hear your thoughts! ❤

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18 thoughts on “Review: A Darker Shade of Magic // Brutality, Plot Twists, and Flawless World Building

  1. YEEEES I’M SO SO HAPPY YOU LIKED IT ! This series is hands down one of my favorites out there, it is so amazing and your review is on point 😍
    Thank you so much for linking my review and I’m glad it was the last little push you needed to finally pick ADSOM up 😄 Omg but wait until you read AGOS It’s even better. It killed me and I’m still not over it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. This sounds so amazing! What an awesome review! Thanks for sharing it with me. 🙂 I love the dialogue so much. I’ve heard the opening is very slow because of the complex word building, but I really think I’d like hearing all about how that works with the different versions of London. I’ll be sure to post my review when I’m done. I’m planning to read it this month. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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