REVIEW: A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E Schwab

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My rating: 

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London...

"The first thing about magic that you have to understand, Lila, is that it is not inanimate. It is alive. Alive in a different way than you or I, but still very much alive."


Holy Fucking Crap! This book is awesome!

Everyone is raving over how V.E Schwab is a fantastic author. I was curious. I haven't read anything by her. I am pretty interested with Viscious, but I didn't have a copy of that so I decided to read this first with my good buddy Camillia who luckily loved this book as much as I did. *high five*

I had low expectations going into this book because I am usually the one who end up not liking overhyped books like this one. I have a track record, like what I said to another book buddy of mine (Throne of Glass, Eleanor and Park, Since You've Been Gone, The Darkest Minds... I have a few more I think...).

But this book restored my faith in humanity... LOL. Just kidding. It just made me believe that some books are hyped up for a reason and this book is definitely one of those.


If you haven't read it, go and read it.




In Kell's world, there is three Londons: Red London, White London, and Grey London.

Grey for the magic-less city.
Red, for the healthy empire.
White for the starving world.

The different Londons are sealed and no one could cross from one to another except for the Antari.

The Antari are a lost race. There are only two other known Antaris alive and one of them is Kell. They are tasked to deliver messages between the royalties of each Londons. But that was it. No other artifacts should cross between Londons except for those letters... But Kell... he decided to do the illegal... he smuggles artifacts from one London to another.

And because of this, Kell got in to a bit of a trouble. He smuggled something that is dangerous. Something that shouldn't have existed. Something that someone would kill for to aquire.

Then, he stumbled upon a thief by the name of Lila. And Lila, stole the artifact that Kell is trying to return to its rightful place.

And from there, their adventure starts.


Kell: I actually did not like Kell during the first 1/4 of the book. He was mischievous and didn't seem to appreciate the love that his adopted family has been extending to him. But after a while, you really get to know him. Get to know why he does the smuggling and why he shuts himself out. The thing I loved most about Kell was his heart. There was a part in this book that he could have just walked away and he didn't. He could have saved himself all the trouble, but he didn't. He chose to come back because it was the right thing. He is overly protective of those important to him too. The way he takes care of his (adoptive) brother, it was so good to read about. How he was willing to give up everything for him.

Lila: Like Kell, I really didn't like her at first. But she grew on me. She was funny and determined. She knows what she wants and she is determined to get it, even if it kills her. Thank goodness for strong-willed character like Lila! I had enough of stupid, helpless female protagonists who couldn't do anything on their own without their male counterpart. Lila wasn't like that. She could hold on her own without Kell. She does have a soft side though. She had that vulnerability in her that she didn't want anyone to see, but it's there. Oh and she has quite a smart mouth too.


Thank you V.E Schwab for not making the romance part a main feature of this book. I liked Kell and Lila's chemistry. Their characters work well together. As you progress through the story though, you get to see that they start to like each other, but not in a lovey-dovey-I-can't-live-without-you bullshit. No. It was very subtle and it made me really root for them.


I wasn't a big fan at first on how this was written. I felt the first, probably, 2/4 of this book was unbelievably slow paced. Also, there were moments where you get confused on why it shifted to a different third person POV that wasn't Kell or Lila. But as you get further into the book, you realise why those are on there. Once you get used to that, it gets so much better. And it then picks up pace at around 40% of the book, or was it 50%. But yeah, all the good stuff are after the first half of the book, so if you feel that this book is slow and you want to put it down. Piece of advice. Don't. It gets so much better.


It was good, but I would have wanted more. I felt that you get to know the characters, but not really their backstory. You get a glimpse of what they were before everything has happened, but you don't really know what happened to them.

I liked the concept of Londons. How each London has their own characteristics and distinction. But I don't think it was every really explained, why there were four versions of London. If it were explained, I don't think it was really explained too much for me to realise that it was the explanation. But if you guys have read this and found that it has been, please let me know so I could revisit.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

I'm glad I finished this. I'm glad me and my buddy Camillia read this book and discussed it. I loved this book so much!

Oh and thank goodness for no cliffies! I mean it ended up in a good tone. The story in this book is finished. Done. It has a satisfying ending. It's like you know that there is a second book, but the conflict from the first book are resolved. There are still some unaswered questions, but they are only to build up your anticipation for the future books.

Will I recommend this book? Definitely.


  1. This book is everywhere! I'm hoping to pick it up soon, especially now that you enjoyed it so much :) great review!

    Most recent post on Enchanted by YA:

  2. I've been seeing this book everywhere! It looks so good, I'm excited to read it, especially now that you enjoyed it so much :) great review

    Most recent post on Enchanted by YA:

  3. Also I tagged you to do the Bedtime Book Tag! <3 You can see my post here:

  4. Awesome Review!
    I'll have to check this one out!


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