Katerina's Reviews > A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
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bookshelves: fantasy, paranormal

“As Travars,” he said. Travel.

And oh boy, I did travel. I was covered in smoke, I tasted metal, I smelled roses, I wore a bizarre coat and I dreamed under a pale sky. But unfortunately, I did not feel.



A Darker Shade of Magic had great potential. The world V.E. Schwab created is fascinating, full of magic and blood. There is Kell, an Antari, a blood magician who can travel between parallel universes, and Lila, a street thief who wants to become a pirate and experience great adventures, and when their fates interwine, they are the only ones who can save all three Londons from the tainted magic that destroyed the forth. I mean, it sounds pretty amazing, doesn't it?
“I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

I can't say that the execution failed me, because I was all too eager to read Kell and Lila's story, to turn the pages and fight and travel and discover the mysteries of the powerful obsidian stone and uncover conspiracies and secrets. But in the end I was unsatisfied. I expected something more and my expectations were not met because I couldn't connect with the characters. They were superficial and I was detached. I didn't care about their fates, I didn't find in them the depth I wanted and the pang of enthusiasm I usually feel when I start a new series. I was just a silent observer, witnessing their story unfold without finding the spark of magic that would make me an active participant and cheer for them, worry for them and eventually love them.



Lila annoyed me a couple of times with her imprudence and her recklessness but there is no doubt she was a badass and strong female lead. I liked Kell a little more and I waited for the signs that I was falling for him, but they never came. I'm still intrigued about his magic and his past though and I'm curious about the way his relationship with Lila will develop.
“Some people steal to stay alive, and some steal to feel alive. Simple as that.”

I can't help but shake the feeling that V.E. Schwab had raised her wand, ready to cast the spell that would bewitch me but the words never left her lips. Her plotline was like Red London, vivid and full of possibilities. Her characters like White London, dangerous yet somehow pale and faded. And me, well, I'm Grey London, magicless in the surface but waiting for the magic I know it exists to ignite. I don't know how to rate a A Darker Shade of Magic. Four stars are too much, three not enough, and I'll have to settle with 3.5 and a hope that A Gathering of Shadows will actually be the one that will disperse the shadows the debut of this trilogy cast.

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Quotes Katerina Liked

Victoria Schwab
“The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.”
Victoria Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“I'm not going to die," she said. "Not till I've seen it."
"Seen what?"
Her smile widened. "Everything.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“You know so little of war. Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

Victoria Schwab
Bad magic, Kell had called it.
No, thought Lila now. Clever magic.
And clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week.”
Victoria Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

Victoria Schwab
“Lila Bard knew in her bones that she was meant to be a pirate.”
Victoria Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

Victoria Schwab
“He would see her again. He knew he would. Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time they were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila felt like a pin in Kell's world. One he was sure to snag on.”
Victoria Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“Some people steal to stay alive, and some steal to feel alive. Simple as that.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“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.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“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.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab
“A life worth having is a life worth taking.”
V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic


Reading Progress

March 23, 2015 – Shelved
March 23, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
August 28, 2016 – Started Reading
August 29, 2016 – Shelved as: fantasy
August 29, 2016 – Shelved as: paranormal
August 29, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 74 (74 new)


✦❋Arianna✦❋ Awesome review, lovely! xx


Katerina Arianna wrote: "Awesome review, lovely! xx"

Thank you sweets!! <3


Rbooks Great review darling<3


Katerina Rbooks wrote: "Great review darling<3"

Thank you hun!! <3


Clara Great review, sweetie ! Though it makes me sad you didn't love this book as I'm obsessed with it :(( But not everyone has the same tastes ^^ I think you would have connected with the characters much more in book 2, there's more charcater's development and depth to them, but I fear you wouldn't like it at the same time because there's not much of a plot in book 2 and less action than in ADSOM. I was so enchanted with the world and the characters, I'm so in love with it, I'm dying waiting for book 3 XD ! xx


Hollis looks like we felt pretty much the same about this one, Katerina. great review! you said it way better than I did.


Katerina Clara wrote: "Great review, sweetie ! Though it makes me sad you didn't love this book as I'm obsessed with it :(( But not everyone has the same tastes ^^ I think you would have connected with the characters muc..."

Thank you sweet Clara! <3 I won't mind less action if there is character development, and I will definitely read the sequel! I did like it, I didn't love it but who knows, maybe the next book will surprise me! I understand the hype and why you loved it, this story was extraordinary, and it killed me to rate it low (for my standards), but I couldn't click the four starts even though a part of me wanted to! :(

Hollis wrote: "looks like we felt pretty much the same about this one, Katerina. great review! you said it way better than I did."

Thank you Hollis!! I hope the sequel will be better! ;)


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Great review dear! It seems like we are exactly on the same page about this book. I was so expecting so much more from this book but it was just... -deflates- bluh.


Katerina Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Great review dear! It seems like we are exactly on the same page about this book. I was so expecting so much more from this book but it was just... -deflates- bluh."

Thank you hun!!^^ I was sure I was going to love it but it was not as mind-blowing as I expected! :/


message 10: by Χαρά (new)

Χαρά Ζ. Η κριτικές σου είναι απολαυστικές ακόμα και όταν δεν σου αρέσει και τόσο το βιβλίο. Κατερινάκι βλέπω κριτική σου και μου φτιάχνει η διάθεση <3


Aj the Ravenous Reader Love the wonderful, honest review, Kat. <3


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

That's a really fair review. I do love this series, but I can definitely admit that it was the second book that made it for me. Hopefully you have the same experience with A Gathering of Shadows! x


Katerina Krista wrote: "That's a really fair review. I do love this series, but I can definitely admit that it was the second book that made it for me. Hopefully you have the same experience with A Gathering of Shadows! x"

Thank you Krista!^^ Hope I'll love the second book as much as you did! ;)

Aj the Ravenous Reader wrote: "Love the wonderful, honest review, Kat. <3"

Thank you so much my dearest friend! <3

Chara_ wrote: "Η κριτικές σου είναι απολαυστικές ακόμα και όταν δεν σου αρέσει και τόσο το βιβλίο. Κατερινάκι βλέπω κριτική σου και μου φτιάχνει η διάθεση <3"

Εμένα μου φτιάχνει η διάθεση με τα καλά σου λόγια Χαρά! <3 Thank you! <3


message 14: by Mary ♥ (new) - added it

Mary ♥ great review ♥
what do you plan on reading now? ♥


Camille ☼ ooh sad you didn't like it that much, but you make a lot of fair points, nice review :)


message 16: by Mathu (new) - added it

Mathu Wonderful review love^^


Nastassja I think my greatest disappointment in this book was Lila. She really was over the top in this one: too badass, to arrogant, too everything and that prevented me from connecting with her as a character. Kell, on the other hand, is always my favorite <3

Lovely review, Katerina!))


Katerina Nastassja wrote: "I think my greatest disappointment in this book was Lila. She really was over the top in this one: too badass, to arrogant, too everything and that prevented me from connecting with her as a charac..."

Thank you sweet Nastassja!! <3 You're completely right, Lila wanted to be a part of things she did not understand but she didn't care about it, she was persistent in an infuriating way! Kell was a monster of self-restraint! :P

Mathu wrote: "Wonderful review love^^"

Thank you hun!! <3

Camille wrote: "ooh sad you didn't like it that much, but you make a lot of fair points, nice review :)"

Thank you Camille!!^^ Hope I'll enjoy the next one better! ;)

Mary ♥ wrote: "great review ♥
what do you plan on reading now? ♥"


Thank you Mary! <3 I have no idea! :P I think about The Burning Sky, but maybe I'll change my mind!


Becky YES, your review is pretty much identical to mine. I felt exactly the same way. Will you be continuing with this series?


♛ Garima ♛ I'm also feeling 'hard to get on' with this book...maybe not my type.


Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨ Beautiful review, Kat! I'll put off reading this now that I read your heads up!


Katerina Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨ wrote: "Beautiful review, Kat! I'll put off reading this now that I read your heads up!"

Thank you lovely Adita! <3 I honestly hope it was a not-you-it's-me case, maybe you'll like it better??

♛ Garima ♛ wrote: "I'm also feeling 'hard to get on' with this book...maybe not my type."

Perhaps it was not for us, who knows :( I wanted so much to love it!

Becky wrote: "YES, your review is pretty much identical to mine. I felt exactly the same way. Will you be continuing with this series?"

I will, I want to find out what happens next and give it a second chance to make me love it! :D Will you??


Nicole Fab review, hon! xo


Katrin D These were my thoughts as well! I just didn't feel connected to the characters...I'm glad that I'm not the only one since everyone seems to love this book :)


message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa Felt the same, I had issues with the characters big time


Katerina Katrin wrote: "These were my thoughts as well! I just didn't feel connected to the characters...I'm glad that I'm not the only one since everyone seems to love this book :)"

I'm so happy we agree Katrin, because I also saw that everyone loved it and I wondered whether there was something wrong with me! :)

Lisa wrote: "Felt the same, I had issues with the characters big time"

They could be so great, I could sence their potential! :(

Nicole wrote: "Fab review, hon! xo"

Thank you sweetie!! <3


Malorie I loved the last paragraph because it perfectly encapsulates how I felt about it. I was personally so much more disappointed in Hollande's treatment than anything! He had so much potential in what little of his story we tasted. I only hope that his dying traipse into black London leads to something more in later books. Lila also irritate me at times, but I also tried to understand her and was able to get over that annoyance fairly easily (it is easy to judge behavior based upon our own standards, but why should I expect one who had a life such as Lila's to be compelled by any of those standards?). I love Kell best, but even he is distant. It is so weird to me that I feel so disconnected even from the character I love the most.

Thanks for your review! Now it is time for me to crack open the second book!


message 28: by Olivia (new) - added it

Olivia Ah, you're eloquence will forever ignite a rainbow of magic within me, my dear! I've always heard mixed reviews on V.E. Schwab's pieces, but you just constructed it perfectly. The synopsis sounded to die for; on that basis, I can totally relate with you, Katerina. But it always bothered me in the past that I could never seem to find the motivation to pick it up. However, with that being said, and considering your unfortunate numbness over the tale, I believe it only draws me further from it. I appreciate your raw honesty and cannot wait to read more from you. :]


Katerina Malo wrote: "I loved the last paragraph because it perfectly encapsulates how I felt about it. I was personally so much more disappointed in Hollande's treatment than anything! He had so much potential in what ..."

I am so sorry for the late reply, Malo, I just saw your comment! Thank you for your kind words, I am so glad we agree! What you said about judging the characters based on our own standards is absolutely true, I tend to be harsh towards them when I should try to understand them! I really hope you'll like the second book better! :)

Olivia wrote: "Ah, you're eloquence will forever ignite a rainbow of magic within me, my dear! I've always heard mixed reviews on V.E. Schwab's pieces, but you just constructed it perfectly. The synopsis sounded ..."

Your comments always make my day, Olivia! I can't tell you how thankful I am for your consideration and your appreciation, people like you are the reason I keep writing reviews! It is amazing how simple words can mean so much to a person! Thank you once more, my dearest friend! <3 I will give V. E. Schwab another try, because she gas definitely potential, but there is a chance she's not right for me!


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Great review Katerina you summarized EXACTLY how I felt about this book.


Katerina Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Great review Katerina you summarized EXACTLY how I felt about this book."

Thank you, Mary!! <3 I honestly wanted to like it more, but it didn't work for me! :(


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Oh I know girl same here I actually love V.E. Schwab but something really crucial was missing in order for me to fully engage here which is totally a shame because her writing was BEAUTIFUL.


Katerina Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Oh I know girl same here I actually love V.E. Schwab but something really crucial was missing in order for me to fully engage here which is totally a shame because her writing was BEAUTIFUL."

You are so right! Which V. E. Schwab book would you recommend?


John Papadopoulos Το αφησα στην μεση και δεν ξερω αν θελω να το συνεχισω σαν να το βαριέμαι λίγο η πολυ χαχα


Katerina Johnny wrote: "Το αφησα στην μεση και δεν ξερω αν θελω να το συνεχισω σαν να το βαριέμαι λίγο η πολυ χαχα"

Χαχα ίσως δεν είναι το καλύτερο της συγγραφέως, τι να πω! Πολύς κόσμος πάντως το αγαπά!


John Papadopoulos Ikr?! Συμφωνώ δεν ειναι το καλύτερο της το καλύτερο της για εμενα ηταν το vicious! φανταστικο! Ναι, για το hype αρχισα να το διαβαζω αλλα απογοήτευτικα ρε γαμωτο. Δεν ξερω, ισως το δώσω μια ακομα ευκαιρια. Πολυ ωραια κριτική. Γραφεις τελειες κριτικες μπραβο Κατερινα!


Katerina Johnny wrote: "Ikr?! Συμφωνώ δεν ειναι το καλύτερο της το καλύτερο της για εμενα ηταν το vicious! φανταστικο! Ναι, για το hype αρχισα να το διαβαζω αλλα απογοήτευτικα ρε γαμωτο. Δεν ξερω, ισως το δώσω μια ακομα ε..."

Θα το ψάξω το vicious και ελπίζω να μου αρέσει περισσότερο! Ευχαριστώ πολύ Johnny, χαίρομαι που σου αρέσουν! :)


John Papadopoulos Να σαι καλα τιποτα! Σοβαρα δεν το εχεις διαβασει; wow σε περιμενει τελεια περιπέτεια! εκει ανυπομονώ να δω το review! Για μενα ηταν ενα απο τα αγαπημένα read της χρονιάς :)


Katerina Johnny wrote: "Να σαι καλα τιποτα! Σοβαρα δεν το εχεις διαβασει; wow σε περιμενει τελεια περιπέτεια! εκει ανυπομονώ να δω το review! Για μενα ηταν ενα απο τα αγαπημένα read της χρονιάς :)"

αα μου κινείς το ενδιαφέρον, θα το έχω στα υπόψιν! αφού λες ότι είναι τόσο καλό θα μου αρέσει σίγουρα! :D


Nicole N. (A Myriad of Books) A well written review, echoing some of my own problems I had with the book and why I couldn't fall in love with it either.


Katerina Nicole wrote: "A well written review, echoing some of my own problems I had with the book and why I couldn't fall in love with it either."

Thank you, Nicole! :) I really hope the next book gets better!


Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink I didn't have intense feelings until book 2!! Trust me the feels hit hard in that one!!


Katerina Brittney ~ Her Bookish Things wrote: "I didn't have intense feelings until book 2!! Trust me the feels hit hard in that one!!"

Yaay this makes me really glad!! I'll have to read the second book soon then! :D


message 44: by Pearl (new)

Pearl Angeli Great review, Katerina! <3 <3 <3


Katerina Pearl wrote: "Great review, Katerina! <3 <3 <3"

Thank you, Pearly! <3


Chelsey Reeves I felt the SAME way! Wonderful world. DULL characters.


Tatiana You said exactly what I was thinking, I felt the same way. I'm going to wait a couple of days before reading the next one.


message 49: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole I am almost finished and I feel the exact same. I feel no emotional investment in Lila or Kell whatsoever, and it is really spoiling how I feel about an otherwise well-written and extremely creative story.


Katerina Nicole wrote: "I am almost finished and I feel the exact same. I feel no emotional investment in Lila or Kell whatsoever, and it is really spoiling how I feel about an otherwise well-written and extremely creativ..."

Well-said Nicole, it's a pity since the story is so unique and well-crafted!

Veronica PARENTAL GUIDANCE ALERT: A Court of Mist and Fury is an EROTICA/NEW ADULT but most booktubers won't tell you wrote: "Great review Katerina."

Thank you, Veronica! <3

Tatiana wrote: "You said exactly what I was thinking, I felt the same way. I'm going to wait a couple of days before reading the next one."

Did you read the next one, Tatiana? This series is so popular I thought something was wrong with me when I didn't love it, I'm actually glad you feel the same way!

Chelsey wrote: "I felt the SAME way! Wonderful world. DULL characters."

I know right?? It had the potential to be way better, I don't know what went wrong!


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