Alexandria Joy's Reviews > A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, 2015-reading-challenge


Everything about this adventure is wow.

I remember walking through the bookstore and reversing back down the aisle after my eyes found the cover of A Darker Shade of Magic. Will Staehle is a brilliant illustrator (seriously, go look at all of his work).

I realized I wanted to marry this book after a few minutes of research, and I instantly took it home with me. The great news is that I talked my new friend, Alison, into taking her own copy home with her as well, and that's when all the feels started rolling in.

Our conversations before we finished A Darker Shade of Magic went something like this:

"Can we just talk about how great the coat is, Alison?"

"Yes, Alex, yes. It's so great."




"I love Kell. And I love Lila. I want to be a pirate."

"These characters, Alex! So great."


"The words are so good that I can taste them, Alison."


"Alex! Did you finish reading?"

"NO. I don't want it to be over!"


And then our conversations after we both finished the book went something like this:




"I have the worst book hangover of my life, Alison."

"Alex, I had to put the book on my 'read' shelf, and it was so sad."


"I feel like our recommendation to other people should just be, 'Wow. Buy this book'."

"I feel like I'll never love another book this much again."

"I keep trying to pick up other books, and I just can't. I know they won't compare."

And it's true, because V.E. Schwab created one of the most original adventures I have ever been on. Her words were so full and rich and left me greedy for more.

"Above the counter and the basin hung a mirror in a gilded frame, and Kell checked his reflection quickly - his hair, a reddish brown, swept down across one eye, and he did not fix it, though he did take a moment to smooth the shoulders of his coat - before passing through a set of doors to meet his host."

It's not very often that I come across a book that has every single element I want all wrapped up into one story, and V.E. Schwab's world and characters are so developed and round and real that I read each page three times before moving to the next.

I fell in love with Kell and his coat and his love for his brother, Rhy. Kell loves so deeply, and he will do what he needs to do to protect his family from threat. I really fell hard for him (and for his coat) from the first page, and the banter between Rhy and him, though small, was great. It sounded real, and their conversations felt like the type two brothers would have.

And I fell in love with Lila and her ambition and bravery and heart.

"There has to be more, she'd thought. I have to be more."

And Lila is so much more. She is honest, and she is brave and frightened at the same time. She keeps Kell grounded, and she becomes the friend he needs.

“The Shadow Thief, they called her. They’d drawn her even taller and thinner than she actually was, stretched her into a wraith, black-clad and fearsome. The stuff of fairy tales. And legends."

"Lila Bard knew in her bones that she was meant to be a pirate."

I was constantly surprised, and I truly appreciated the way V.E. Schwab handled the action and drama and Kell's relationship with Lila. Their friendship is full of innocence and loyalty and fear and truth.

(view spoiler)

The villains in this book are fantastic, and I really ground my teeth when they were around while simultaneously loving that they were in the scene. I was petrified of them. I wanted to hug them, and I didn't want them to win. Every character felt so important to the story, and I really liked how I couldn't help but enjoy the villains of the story.

I honestly had the hardest time writing this review (I'm sure I'll come back to edit it once I can think clearly again) because I can't put how I feel into words. This story filled a hole that I didn't know I had, and I am now counting down the days until A Gathering of Shadows.

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Quotes Alexandria Liked

Victoria Schwab
Looking for trouble, he'd say. You're gonna look til you find it.
Trouble is the looker, she'd answer. It keeps looking till it finds you. Might as well find it first.
Why do you want to die?
I don't, she'd say. I just want to live.
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

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
“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

Reading Progress

April 19, 2015 – Shelved
April 19, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
April 26, 2015 – Started Reading
April 26, 2015 –
0.0% "I cannot contain my excitement about starting this adventure."
April 28, 2015 –
0.0% ""His hair, a reddish brown, swept down across one eye, and he did not fix it, though he did take a moment to smooth the shoulders of his coat"\n \n I love everything about this. I love that she wrote "the shoulders of his coat" instead of "his shoulders", and I love that it's written in third person, and I love that it's magical."
April 29, 2015 –
page 29
April 29, 2015 –
page 88
22.11% ""Lila Bard knew in her bones that she was meant to be a pirate.""
May 11, 2015 –
page 151
May 17, 2015 –
page 297
May 18, 2015 – Shelved as: favorites
May 18, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 1, 2017 – Shelved as: 2015-reading-challenge

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