A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 10 on My Book List 2019

”Magic was a truly beautiful disease.”

And it was such a pleasure to read about it! XD I can’t say how much I loved and adored this book! Alone the magic in this was everything and it was so dark and twisted that it was a delight to read about it. In “A Darker Shade of Magic” magic is a living and breathing thing and it can help and heal at least as much as it can corrupt and destroy. In my opinion this was a really great concept and I lived and breathed for the execution of it.

”The words themselves were less important than the focus they brought to the speaker’s mind, the connection they helped to form, the power they tapped into. In short, the language did not matter, only the intention did.”

Still, it wasn’t only the magical aspect of this book that kept me glued to the pages. The mere idea of four different parallel Londons that exist next to each other was more than just intriguing as well. Sure, we didn’t get to see an awful lot of them because the characters travel through them and don’t stay all too long, the little I saw was enough to keep me hooked though. 😉 London is my favourite city and the mere idea to explore four different versions of this town already made me feel like I won the jackpot. *lol*

And last but not least “A Darker Shade of Magic” had its fair share of intriguing and complex characters that caused my eyes to sparkle. We all know that I can’t resist the temptation of morally grey and ambivalent characters so it’s no surprise that I savoured this like a delicious gourmet dinner. Alone the villains of this book!!! The Dane Twins were such evil creatures yet I couldn’t help but want to read more about them. Ohh and Holland! Don’t even get me started on Holland! ❤ Or well, maybe I actually should start to talk about him. In the characters section, of course! ;-P

2

Good afternoon, fellow Antari! It’s a good day to travel between the worlds but be careful nevertheless. There is always a shadow lurking at the next corner of the street and if you’re not cautious it will not only attack you but also spoil you big time as well! Tread carefully, my dear friend! You’re being observed by dark forces. 😉

Kell:

”Kell tipped his head so that his copper hair tumbled out of his eyes, revealing not only the crisp blue of the left one but the solid black of the right. A black that ran edge to edge, filling white and iris both. There was nothing human about that eye. It was pure magic. The mark of a blood magician. Of an Antari.”

I’m such a sucker for red-heads and Kell is really yummy. ;-P I can’t help it! Really! They are my kryptonite. Ask Lucien. *lol* Anyway, Kell is a really interesting character and he definitely has more depth than initially meets the eye. On the outside you might think that he’s the typical hero, but the more I discovered about his life, the more I felt sorry for him. He is part of the royal family and might seem to have it all, but when push came to shove his true status among the royals was revealed and my heart ached for him. I know Lila didn’t understand what he meant but by the end of the book it became pretty clear that he wasn’t really a family member but rather a valuable asset. At least when it came to his “parents”. Despite this he still had his own moral code and acted according to it, even if it meant that he was at a disadvantage when he had to face Holland and the Dane twins. Poor Kell! I had the feeling in some way or another he was figuratively and quite literally bleeding throughout the entire book. *lol* Let’s hope things will get better for him in “A Gathering of Shadows”! 😉

”Magic was a living thing – that, everyone knew – but to Kell it felt like more, like a friend, like family. It was, after all, a part of him (much more than it was a part of most) and he couldn’t help feeling like it knew what he was saying, what he was feeling, not only when he summoned it, but always, in every heartbeat and every breath.”

She always went looking for the truth in his right eye, as if it were a scrying board, something to be gazed into, seen past. But what she saw, she never shared. Kell took her hand and kissed it. “I’m fine, Your Majesty.” She gave him a weary look, and he corrected himself. “Mother.”

”I said Rhy forgave them.” Kell pushed to his feet. “I never said I did.”

Lila Bard:

”Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.” She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

I’m not entirely sure if I like Lila or not. XD I mean I admire her resilience and stubbornness but I think sometimes she was way too sure of herself and that got her into a lot of trouble. *lol* But oh well, when it comes down to it there is no denying that I actually like her. Her character seems to be somewhat of an acquired taste and I’m curious if she’ll truly become a pirate in the end. Also I could relate to her when it came to her choice of clothes. I would have gone for the boy’s clothes in a heartbeat as well. ;-P (Could it be that Lila is non-binary or gender fluid?!) Generally speaking I think it wasn’t easy to relate to her because she kept everyone at a distance and didn’t let anything get too close to her. For me this made it kind difficult to gauge her character and I hope we’ll get a better grip on it in the next two books. Now that I think about it, I had the same feeling when it came to Blue Sargent throughout the first two books of “The Raven Cycle”. I only really got to know her in “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” so I hope the same will happen with Lila in the next book. XD

”What are you?” he asked, amazed.
Lila only shrugged. “Stubborn.”

”Love doesn’t keep us from freezing to death, Kell,” she continued, “or starving, or being knifed for the coins in our pocket. Love doesn’t buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need for nothing.”

Holland:

”He didn’t know if it was the evenness in the man’s tone or his strangely faded appearance or his haunted eyes – one black, of course, the other a milky green. Or perhaps it was the way he seemed to be made more of water and stone than flesh and blood and soul.”

I love Holland, okay?! I know he’s supposed to be one of the villains but seriously, how could I not adore him?! ❤ His character was so multi-layered, complex, calculating, determined and cruel. It was so nice to watch him in action. *lol* I just can’t resist a decent villain and Holland had all the makings of one. XD Especially an intriguing background story. I really wish we would have gotten more of it though. I mean we only got the necessary details to keep the story moving but there are so many things I would have loved to read about. I guess it was Schwab’s intention to keep us in the dark, because this might sound paranoid but I’m CONVINCED that Holland will reappear in the next book! I don’t buy his death!!! There’s no way he died! He said it’s hard to kill an Antari and he was still breathing and alive when Kell sent him to Black London. THE SOURCE of black magic! Hell, this has trouble written all over it! If you ask me Kell basically handed him the means to come back even stronger! >_< Kell is so going to regret this!

”Looking into Holland’s eye made her skin crawl. Dark things swirled just beneath the smooth black depths. One word whispered through her mind. Run.”

”Hesitation is the death of advantage,” mused Holland and Kell fought in vain against the metal pinnings.

”I hope you made him suffer,” she spat, turning towards the looming castle.
No, thought Kell as they set off. He suffered long enough.

Rhy:

“Yes. Because unless you plan to wed me yourself – and don’t get me wrong, I think we’d make a dashing pair – I must try and find a mate.”
“And you think you’ll find one traipsing around the city?”
“Goodness, no,” said Rhy with a crooked grin. “But who knows what fun I’ll find while failing.”

Rhy is such a precious bean! He gave me Nikolai and Hypnos vibes so it’s no wonder I almost instantly adored him! *lol* He sounds like a lot of fun but unfortunately we didn’t get to see all too much of him in this book. I hope that will change in the next one though. (Also he seems to be unapologetically bi and I live and breathe for characters like that!!!) Still, judging by the little we saw and heard of him I can already tell that he loves Kell like a brother and would never do anything to harm him. I can’t help but wonder what he thinks about his parent’s reaction though. If Kell wouldn’t have been bound to him they would have either killed him or sent him to prison so it’s pretty obvious that Kell was right about their intentions all along. I can’t wait to see more of funny, caring and kind Rhy so there better be more scenes with him in “A Gathering of Shadows”. Also was it just me or did Holland and Rhy actually flirt with each other? It’s such a shame he was merely a means to an end for him. I bet from now on Rhy won’t trust people as easily as before.

Rhy’s hands curled into fists. “How could you?” he said, and Kell worried that the prince was bitter about being tethered to him. Instead, Rhy said, “How could you carry that weight?”

Rhy laughed silently. “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg,” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”
Rhy broke into his perfect smile.
“I like this one,” he said to Kell.

The Dane Twins:

”Jealous?” he asked. Holland’s two-toned eyes held Athos’s, the green and the black both steady, unblinking. “He suffered,” added Athos softly. “But not like you.” He brought his mouth closer. “No one suffers as beautifully as you.”

Okay! Can anyone please tell me how exactly Holland suffered?!!! I mean it’s indicated that there was something sexual and cruel going on between Athos and him but WHAT EXACTLY??!!! Apparently the Dane Twins had a reputation of torturing and forcing people to do their will. And Holland was under their spell as well so I can only assume that he suffered kind of “Rhysand/Amarantha style”? Also there was only a brief mention that Holland didn’t win the throne because he wasn’t cruel enough to take it before the Danes did. What exactly happened before they ascended the White throne?! I really wish we would have gotten more details here, because this really sounded like an interesting story! Either way the Dane twins gave me the creeps. Astrid even more than her brother Athos. Magic and malice indeed. *shudders* They made for pretty intriguing villains for sure. XD I’m just glad Kell never became Astrid’s toy. He certainly wouldn’t have survived it.

”Astrid Dane is made of magic and malice.”

3

Lila & Kell:

”You don’t know anything about these worlds,” he said, but the fight was bleeding out of his voice.
“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

Is it just me or was Kell ending up on Lila’s bed TWICE in one night some sort of a broad hint? The first time it was even BDSM style! *lol* I guess we all know in which direction their future relationship is going to head. Haha! ;-P Also they kissed at least twice for good luck as well and they both had more luck than brain. Right after the motto “Fortune favours fools!” So they didn’t need the luck but obviously were looking for an opportunity to kiss. XD They were very different but for some reason they still worked. Maybe it’s because they balance each other and magic is all about balance as we already learned. Plus they are both Antari. I wonder how their relationship is going to continue. There is a lot of potential that only needs to be explored. ;-P

”I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
Kell smiled back. And then Lila brought her free hand to his jaw and tugged his mouth towards hers. The kiss was there and then gone, like one of her smiles.

A wry smile cut across Lila’s mouth. “You’re a smuggler.”
“Says the pickpocket,” snapped Kell defensively.

Rhy & Kell:

”What sons our parents have,” said Kell gently. “Between the two of us, we’ll tear the whole world down.”

They might not be brothers by blood but they are brothers by heart! ❤ I loved their relationship so much and I was so glad that Rhy truly cared about Kell! Which is more than can be said about his parents, but Kell already knew that. >_< I felt so sorry for him but at least he has Rhy and he wouldn’t allow anything to happen to him. Those two seem to balance each other as well and I’m kind of beginning to see a pattern here. *lol* In their relationship dynamic it seems like Rhy is the daredevil who gets into trouble though and Kell is more the mature and responsible one. I can only imagine in which kind of mess they’ll get in the next book. One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to read more about this brotherly duo! ;-P

”He looked up and saw me crouching over him, bleeding, and the first thing he said wasn’t ‘What happened?’ or ‘Where are we?’ He touched the blood on his chest and said, ‘Is it yours? Is it all yours?’ and when I nodded, he burst into tears, and I took him home.”

4

I absolutely LOVED this! “A Darker Shade of Magic” had everything I’m looking for in a book. There was (dark) magic, there were four parallel Londons and there were lots of complex characters I couldn’t help but want to read more about. Yes, the world building and some of the characters themselves might have been rather sketchy, but knowing Schwab I’m certain that we’ll get more details in the following books. This was only just the beginning and what a marvellous one it was! XD

 

6 Gedanken zu „Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (V.E. Schwab)“

    1. Thank you so much for reading it! 😀 Haha! Authors rarely see my reviews. The only ones that do are the ones that gave me their book to read in the first place. *lol* But it’s still okay, I love to read so I’m happy just writing about my experience. XD
      And yes!! I’m so glad I have the rest of the series at home. I’m sure I’ll start the second book soon. 🙂

      Liken

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