book review // A Darker Shade of Magic + an announcement!

Monday, February 20, 2017
hey guys! i'm just got back from New York visiting my grandparents. i'm saw Phantom of the Opera this weekend, and it was so good!
i would just like to say that V.E. Schwab is now officially on my favorite authors of all time list. i mean, i was impressed by This Savage Song, but i have to say that i like the Shades of Magic Series just a little better. as you may or may not know, the third book in this series is coming out in TOMORROW. I AM SO NOT READY AHHHH. *anguished screaming* i just don't want this series to end :((

i thought it would be a good idea to review the first in this series and explain my deep love for it. like, this definitely makes my favorite books of all time list. there's no question about it. i just read the second in this series (A Gathering of Shadows), and it was so. darn. good. i don't know if i'll be reviewing it on this blog though because there would probably be some major spoilers from the first book... anyway, i'm just going to get into this review...

by V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last travelers--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 traveler, 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.

honestly, i love the covers of all three of this series!

i love the color scheme and the simplicity of the covers! one of my greatest pet peeves with books is covers that are too busy, but i think that these really nailed it! A+ for the cover designers.

V.E. Schwab is fabulous at world-building. this is one of the richest-written worlds i have read, and that's saying something. 

i adore the concept of the alternate Londons. it wasn't just another fantasy world; it was something alive and really well developedV.E. Schwab freaking created another language?!? i would just like to point out her thoroughness with world-building. 

and it wasn't confusing either! one thing i kinda hate is an info-dump, but THIS BOOK DID NOT DO THAT! it was so dimensional and complex without being annoying with dumping history on us.

at this point, i will also address the fact that I LOVE HER WRITING STYLE. it's not overly fluffy/ornamental if you know what i mean. so well done!

the characters really did it for me in this book. let me introduce them to you:

kell is one of the two remaining antari (magicians that can travel from london to london). HE WAS SO PERFECT i could cry. like brooding and longing but also super sassy. i love that he has a dark side. he was practically the best ever. his past is so mysterious and i really want to find out more about it!?

lila bard is the living incarnation of sarcasm. she was awful but so snarky and i just love her to death. i love her friendship with kell and how they just had to keep saving each other after their initial face-off. 

rhy is the crown prince of arnesia (red london) and really has the potential to be a great character. (actually i've already read A Gathering of Shadows and he is a great character!) unfortunately, he didn't show up much in ADSOM.

holland. i feel like i need to give him an honorable mention because he is the other of the two antari. he was sort of like a tragic villain. i couldn't bring myself to hate him because of his circumstances.

the dane twins. ok, so they aren't a huge part of the book, but i still like them as characters. they are absolutely horrible to kell and holland but pretty great antagonists!

my one teensy problem with this book was the fact that it was predictable at times. the plot twists were definitely not as strong as the rest of aspects of the book.

nonetheless, i still immensely enjoyed seeing kell and lila get to know each other, become friends, and see a flicker of romance between them! it was a fabulous adventure.

rating: ★★★★★ *

*actually, if i could, i would give this book about 5.5 stars for being so awesome.

ok. i'm done with my rantiness now. ya know, sometimes i lose my enthusiasm to rant about a book after awhile, but i don't think that i will ever stop ranting about ADSOM. everything about it is so awesome.

brb. gotta go cry in a corner until A Conjuring of Light comes out. the good news is that i asked for it for my bday which is in less than a week.

the announcement!
i'm being featured as the Blogger of the Month on Teenage Blogger Central! woohoo! so go check out the post on their blog if you want! (i'm fairly sure that post is going up today) they have a truly awesome blog going on.

have any of you out there read this book and/or loved it?? are you excited for the release of A Conjuring of Light? tell me your thoughts!

xoxo, madeline


  1. Ooh, I totally get you with the plot twists. I haven't read this particular book, but I have read quite a few others with amazing writing but the twists were lacking! I guess I just base books on how much I liked them in the end, and usually the writing really does it for me. As long as the character and stories aren't just a complete rehash of things that have been done before!

    Fleur @ FranklyBooks just posted her top ten as well, BOOK BREAKUPS 01 :(

    1. yeah i agree! usually as long as the characters and story are great, i'm happy with the book!

  2. AGH ALL THESE PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT ADSOM AND BECAUSE I'M #BROKE AND MY LIBRARY DOESN'T HAVE IT, I CAN'T READ IT. *wails* If someone sends it to me in the mail, they will be my savior. No kidding.

    1. I'M SO SORRY :(( but if your library does get it, please please read it!


  4. YAY! Glad you loved it! I just started A Darker Shade of Magic and are LOVING the concept behind it, it's told in a voice that is fresh, and interesting, and I'm LOVING Kell and all of the characters being introduced. Good post, I love how you split your reviews under different categories!

    1. i absolutely love the voice also! the characters are probably my favorite part!

  5. I LOVE PHANTOM, AHHH. It's so awesome that you got to see it in New York?

    A Darker Shade of Magic is a book I NEED to read, along with Vicious. The cover does really confuse me, though....what are those black stick-looking things poking out of the red coat-looking thing? Are they legs? Preying mantis whiskers? Lobster claws???

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. ahh i want to read Vicious so baddd. lol i'm pretty sure that's his legs sticking out of his coat, but i might be wrong?

  6. I haven't read this book yet but I own it and seriously need to! I've heard such amazing things about this series. Glad to hear it lived up to the hype for you!

  7. Which template are you using? Your blog looks amazing and I love the books you review (well, most of them)! Check my blog out when you're free if you're in for a laugh and maybe some insignificant debates some time :)


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