Petrik's Reviews > A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
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This is an unpopular opinion, if you’re easily offended, please don’t read this review.

Okay, 3 stars is still a good rating but I think rating aDSoM 3 stars on Goodreads is like I’m an E.T who arrives in London. This is my sixth month on Goodreads and throughout that period, there are three series that always appeared on my feeds and probably everyone else. First, Six of Crows duology, second, anything that came out of Sarah J Maas’s head and finally, the Shade of Magic trilogy by V.E Schwab. It needed to be said first that I’m not a fan of the YA genre but these series are hyped as drug dealers search for heroin and I decided to give some of them a try with hope it will changed my mind on the genre. Sadly it didn’t, Six of Crows duology disappointed me (Oh look, so many arrows. Casted magic barrier to block all the arrows shooting at me), this book also disappointed me (Magic Barrier is now broken) and I won’t even touch anything by Sarah J Maas. (Endless arrow pinned me to a wall.)



Don’t get me wrong, I never said I hated the Six of Crows duology or this book, it disappointed me but I actually think both series is still good to read. I actually liked this book for a while until the underwhelming climax happened. It’s just a shame there are a lot of parts that obstructed me from loving aDSoM. I love V.E Schwab’s work on Vicious, it was unique, morally ambiguous, suited for adult audience and have great characters. It’s why I gave this series a try and turns out I’ve been fooled. aDSoM’s plot is really YA-ish and it’s the exact opposite of what made Vicious great for me.

There is nothing remotely interesting about the plot. It’s a very typical McGuffin story which had been overdone to death already. These days, there are a lot of stories and themes that have been overdone but somehow managed to deliver immersive and intriguing plot with great casts of characters and their developments.

That’s the other main problem with ADSoM, I’m so detached from the story and the characters that I honestly don’t care about any of them if they died or not. There are no developments at all for the main characters except Lila. Kell is angsty but he cares about Rhy, Rhy is gay (or bisexual or nymphomania I don’t know, seems like he’ll have sex with anything that moves.) and he cares about Kell, Lila is adventurous,

“I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

Holland is mysterious and the Dane Twins is sadistic. There, I talked about the main characters personality and their development progression throughout this whole book within one sentence. Lila and Holland is probably the only saving characters of this book, Lila character is more fleshed out compared to the rest and for Holland, he’s just more interesting and every scene where he appears really shine for the book.

Holland and the Dane Twins



I honestly prefer Holland to be the main character compared to Kell. Seriously, out of everything I ever read, Kell is one of the most boring character of all time. The only thing intriguing about him is his coat and it's always a bad sign when the clothes is more captivating than the person. Don’t even compare him with Kelsier from Mistborn just because they have similar name, just… don’t.

Finally, the last problem I have with the book is the underwhelming magic and climax. If there's one thing that V.E Schwab haven't improved since Vicious, it’s definitely the climax scene delivery. Vicious would have received a 5 star from me if it wasn’t for the super underwhelming climax and sadly, it’s still the same here. Even all the action scenes in the book are really standard and provides zero intensity. I read the climax sequences with a face and emotion so flat that drinking a hot Chamomile tea will give more reaction to my emotion.

Now, with all the problems I have with the book, you’re probably wondering why this is not a 1 star or 2 star review. Here’s the thing, even with all the negativity, I still don’t hate the book, I still enjoy reading it. Why? Because of these 3 factors that really shine from aDSoM. 4 alternative London concept, V.E Schwab’s writing and Kell’s Coat, yes that coat is a work of brilliance and deserve an extra star.

The 4 color alternative London is a really great concept, it’s one of the biggest reasons why I bought this book in the first place other than the fact I thought it will be more adult oriented than Vicious. It’s like V.E Schwab took Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere imagination and gave it a twist to make it her own idea. All 4 version of London have their unique characteristic. Grey London, our version of London which smells like smoke, Red London, Kell’s version of London which smelled like fire, White London, the Dane Twin’s & Holland’s version of London which smelled like blood and finally Black London, the lost London which smelled like teen spirit. Okay I’m joking, there is no known smell to Black London since no one can go there anymore. I do wish there’s an explanation though on why there is 4 London in the first place since the setting is in our real world, maybe the future sequels will enlighten me on this.

I have always loved Schwab’s writing, her choices of words and pages format never fails to make me turn those pages even when things aren’t interesting. Finally, Kell’s coat, I won’t talk about this much since I honestly think it’s better for you to find out about this peculiar coat on your own. If I have Kell’s coat, I don’t think I’ll ever need another coat again. Take note fashion designers, when you make do a Men’s fashion show, Kell’s Coat is the kind of shit I will buy in a heartbeat.

Not this cereals costume



Not this Frankenstein’s monster wannabe, why would I want to eliminate my own neck?



And for the love of all that is holy and sacred not this abomination



Despite everything, I still like the book enough to finish it and I still have hope for the future sequels. It won't be soon but I will continue with the series eventually with really low expectation. I’m hoping a Gathering of Shadows and a Conjuring of Light will be better than aDSoM since obviously to me this book is clearly an Overhyped Shade of Magic. It lacked a touch of brilliance to make the book reach its maximum potential that the concept provides and I sincerely hope the sequels will receive the shade of magic it needs.

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Reading Progress

December 20, 2016 – Shelved
February 17, 2017 – Started Reading
February 18, 2017 –
page 275
71.61% "What's going through my head the whole time I'm reading this book. "If I have Kell's coat, I don't think I'll need any other coat.""
February 19, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 113 (113 new)


Mayim de Vries A man after my own heart. Three high fives Petrik!


Petrik Mayim wrote: "A man after my own heart. Three high fives Petrik!"

Haha thank you Mayim! Three high fives to you! :)


nico *covers eyes* It hurts... Jk. I hope you'll love the next book more! (The coat is truly a work of art. <333 )


Hilly Great review! Happy you gave it a chance :D


Mayim de Vries And you know what Petrik, I DNF the sequel which happens rarely and only when reading on threatens me with either cardiac arrest or a painful death of boredom.


Petrik Mar wrote: "*covers eyes* It hurts... Jk. I hope you'll love the next book more! (The coat is truly a work of art. <333 )"

Haha sorry Mar!! I wish I could loved it too and yes that coat is a work of art really! :D


Petrik Mari Yeung wrote: "Great review! Happy you gave it a chance :D"

Thank you Mari!! I'm happy you loved the book more than me! :)


Petrik Mayim wrote: "And you know what Petrik, I DNF the sequel which happens rarely and only when reading on threatens me with either cardiac arrest or a painful death of boredom."

that... doesn't sound good xD I'll continue with the series though but definitely not soon. It really doesn't live up to the hype it gets.


Mayim de Vries I'll drink to that. :)


Jiana Sorry you didn't enjoy this as much as you'd hoped, Petrik! I also have this and the sequel both 3 stars. I agree with you that the book had so much potential yet was lacking. I hope you enjoy the sequel way more!


Petrik Jiana wrote: "Sorry you didn't enjoy this as much as you'd hoped, Petrik! I also have this and the sequel both 3 stars. I agree with you that the book had so much potential yet was lacking. I hope you enjoy the ..."

Thank you Jiana!! It's a shame really, there's so much potential to it. Seeing that you agree with me and your rating for the sequel is the same, I think I'll really go into it with zero expectation. I do hope it will be better for me though! :)

Mayim wrote: "I'll drink to that. :)"

Cheers!


Silvana agree, this book is so overhyped


Petrik Silvana wrote: "agree, this book is so overhyped"

Agreed Silvana!


message 14: by Mel (new) - rated it 1 star

Mel I've started this book several times now and haven't been able to get into it.. I'm pretty sure I won't like it so rather than get people angry I don't like it I just keep avoiding it lol


✨    jamieson   ✨ "Black London, which smells like teen spirit" HAHAHAHA. But also totally get where you're coming from with this review. I didn't hate this book but it also wasn't as good as I expected from all the hype


Celeste Great review, darling! I enjoyed the book, but I have to admit that it doesn't live up to the caliber of fantasy that you generally read.


Petrik Mel wrote: "I've started this book several times now and haven't been able to get into it.. I'm pretty sure I won't like it so rather than get people angry I don't like it I just keep avoiding it lol"

haha that's a great decision Mel but honestly if someone is angry with you for sharing a "bad review" of a book, the problem lies with them, not you. :)


Petrik Celeste wrote: "Great review, darling! I enjoyed the book, but I have to admit that it doesn't live up to the caliber of fantasy that you generally read."

Thank you darling! I was really hoping for more out of this but hey tomorrow we'll start Malice so there's that to look forward to! :)


Petrik jamieson wrote: ""Black London, which smells like teen spirit" HAHAHAHA. But also totally get where you're coming from with this review. I didn't hate this book but it also wasn't as good as I expected from all the..."

Hahahah exactly Jamieson! I still have more to talk about such as why is there a sequel when the book wrapped up everything already but it's too long already. It's really a shame though, I feel like the overall quality of this book is just average despite the great concept it had. :/


message 20: by Alagaesia.Books (new)

Alagaesia.Books Ok after reading everywhere how amazing this book is it's kinda refreshing to read a review that's not praising aDSoM. Though I'm a bit scared now to read it... but I'll try to have no expectation at all when I'll read it some time this year.
Thanks for this review Petrick :)


Iryna *Book and Sword* I think it's all the "hypes" fault. I went into Six of Crows being so scared that it would a total crap because of all the hype around it, thankfully for me I ended up loving it (well maybe loving it is an understatement). Haven't read A darker Shade yet, but so far it seems very iffy to me.
Loved that first gif with arrows :) clever


Miche Petrik, I felt the way on this one. I liked her writting style and the world, but the plot wasn't my favorite. I didn't care about the caracthers either. They kind of got to my nerves, lol. But I had already bought the second book when it was on sale, so I decided to read it anyways and I was pleasantly surprised. Big improvement compared to this one. I even pre-ordered the third book!


Margret I felt the same Petrik, but loved the second book!


Petrik Alagaesia.Books wrote: "Ok after reading everywhere how amazing this book is it's kinda refreshing to read a review that's not praising aDSoM. Though I'm a bit scared now to read it... but I'll try to have no expectation ..."

You're welcome Dorina! Don't worry, just stick to what you're reading right now. You're into something great! :)


message 25: by Petrik (last edited Feb 19, 2017 09:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Petrik Iryna (Book and Sword) wrote: "I think it's all the "hypes" fault. I went into Six of Crows being so scared that it would a total crap because of all the hype around it, thankfully for me I ended up loving it (well maybe loving ..."

Thank you Iryna! I liked the Six of Crows duology even if I think it's overrated. From the first book Six of Crows is definitely better than this. Hype is a dangerous thing really, I have to learn to ignore it but it's really hard when the raving reviews keep popping up on my feeds! :p


Petrik Miche wrote: "Petrik, I felt the way on this one. I liked her writting style and the world, but the plot wasn't my favorite. I didn't care about the caracthers either. They kind of got to my nerves, lol. But I h..."

Completely agree with you Miche! Glad to hear another who feel the same as me and hey, that's great to hear that the 2nd book is better. I actually have it on my shelf already but I think i'll leave it for later when ACOL arrives at my place :p


Petrik Margret wrote: "I felt the same Petrik, but loved the second book!"

That's great to hear Margret! I hope the second book will work for me too! :)


Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ Great review Petrik! "Black London smells like teen spirit." HAHAH Love it! I think we're absolutely on the same page about this one! :D


message 29: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mark Medina I disagree with your comments, but I am glad you could make them. People should be able to say they don't like a book without everyone going crazy.


Petrik Mark wrote: "I disagree with your comments, but I am glad you could make them. People should be able to say they don't like a book without everyone going crazy."

Hey no worries Mark! We can't all agree on every book. I'm happy you enjoyed it more than me. Yeah I know, I see a lot of anger towards unpopular opinion these days, especially on popular YA books.


Petrik Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~ wrote: "Great review Petrik! "Black London smells like teen spirit." HAHAH Love it! I think we're absolutely on the same page about this one! :D"

Thank you my dear Mary!! I'm so happy we're absolutely on the same page here! :D


Cecilia I felt exactly the same! I felt so detached from the story the entire time. And lol "An Overhyped Shade of Magic" is the perfect title!


Petrik Cecilia wrote: "I felt exactly the same! I felt so detached from the story the entire time. And lol "An Overhyped Shade of Magic" is the perfect title!"

After checking some reviews on Goodreads, apparently there are a lot who feel detached like we do Cecilia! So we're defintely not a rarity here :p


message 34: by Amanda (new) - added it

Amanda Skoog I stopped listening at "I won´t touch SJM"...
Haha, just kidding xD Great review, though, Petrik. It´s always interesting hearing other perspectives than "OMG it´s amazing"!


Petrik Amanda wrote: "I stopped listening at "I won´t touch SJM"...
Haha, just kidding xD Great review, though, Petrik. It´s always interesting hearing other perspectives than "OMG it´s amazing"!"


Thank you Amanda! Hahaha you surprisrf me for a while there! :p


Kainat 《HUFFLEPUFF & PROUD》 I honestly think Vicious was where you should have started.

UGH don't even get me started on SJM books. If you thought this was bad, i can't even imagine how much you would hate those shitty ass books. .. i don't even want to call them novels.


message 37: by C.P. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Cabaniss Great review! I originally rated this four stars, but I think now it would be more in the three range for me. I don't know. I just felt like nothing happened


message 38: by C.P. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Cabaniss I do like The Six of Crows duology (mostly Six of Crows) but could not read an SJM book. Read about three chapters and couldn't get any further.


Petrik Kainat Ijaz wrote: "I honestly think Vicious was where you should have started.

UGH don't even get me started on SJM books. If you thought this was bad, i can't even imagine how much you would hate those shitty ass b..."


Oh i've read Vicious Kainat! It's why I'm disappointed in this as well! And for SJM.. just no, almost all the good ratings is fangirling over Rhysand or whatever all the dudes name there. Mary and your review convinced me so much more to stay away :D


Petrik C P wrote: "Great review! I originally rated this four stars, but I think now it would be more in the three range for me. I don't know. I just felt like nothing happened"

Thank you Courtney. Yeah I agree with you on SJM books. 6 of crows is good. It's just not as good as the hype claimed. I thought there will be some epic heist in it but turns out most of the story consists of teenagers sorting out their feelings.


message 41: by C.P. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Cabaniss I definitely get where you're coming from with Six of Crows


message 42: by C.P. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Cabaniss Ugh, it keeps posting when I don't want it to! Anyway, I think I liked Six of Crows for a lot of the character exploration. But I read it when it first came out, so I didn't have expectations built around it.


Petrik C P wrote: "Ugh, it keeps posting when I don't want it to! Anyway, I think I liked Six of Crows for a lot of the character exploration. But I read it when it first came out, so I didn't have expectations built..."

Hahah no worries! Yeah the hype ruined it for me, I should just trust the hype surrounding Sanderson books, he never fail to impress me. :D


message 44: by C.P. (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Cabaniss And I loved that you said not to compare Kell to Kelsier in your review. So true! Very different. The name Kell just always makes me think of Kelsier, and then I start comparing...


message 45: by Lucy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lucy of House Rojas Great review, Petrick. I REALLY LOVED ADSOM and AGOS and everything that has to do with Schwab (besides, I loved Six of Crows duology), but I htink your review it's right. I'm totally agree with you. And I laughed so HARD with this! Rhy's true about having sex with everything that moves, Kell's coat and that Black London smells like teen spirit, will make me laugh for the rest of the year! AWESOME JOB, DUDE!


Petrik C P wrote: "And I loved that you said not to compare Kell to Kelsier in your review. So true! Very different. The name Kell just always makes me think of Kelsier, and then I start comparing..."

Yeah, other than the name, there is nothing similar between them! :D


Petrik Lucy wrote: "Great review, Petrick. I REALLY LOVED ADSOM and AGOS and everything that has to do with Schwab (besides, I loved Six of Crows duology), but I htink your review it's right. I'm totally agree with yo..."

Thank you Lucy!! I'm glad that you enjoyed reading my review and loved the books more than me! I hope the sequel will be better for me! :D


Nafeeza Awesome review Petrik! Here's hoping that you like the 2nd book more. (<3 Kell's coat too). ;)


Petrik Nafeeza wrote: "Awesome review Petrik! Here's hoping that you like the 2nd book more. (<3 Kell's coat too). ;)"

Thank you Nafeeza! I hope so too! Kell's coat is <3


message 50: by Colleen (last edited Feb 19, 2017 07:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Colleen Aww, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this more. But your review is great. It made me lol!

But get a few more one star reviews of best sellers before you try to join the Reviewers Protection Program! :-D


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