Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Oh it has been some time, hasn’t it?! Yikes. I have clearly still been slacking when it comes to creating a more regular blogging habit.

I’ve decided to do more book review posts here. I often have many thoughts on a book, and when I rate them using the GoodReads app and don’t always feel like writing anything very lengthy there since I’d be typing on a phone.

I just finished reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Sometimes I want to rate a book based on how emotionally invested I was in the characters, and if I were to rate it based on that I would have to give it a slightly lower rating than I did. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads for a few reasons, but I have to admit that I didn’t necessarily experience “the feels” with this book.

***Spoilers Warning starting now! ***


What I did love was the world-building, for one. I could very clearly see these multiple Londons and the magic within all the worlds. The writing here was wonderful and almost made this fictional world feel like a real place!

Also, I surprised myself by being SO HAPPY that the two MCs did not fall in love. This doesn’t mean that I would be upset if they fall in love later in the series because I wouldn’t. I loved them both on their own as individuals and they did have an easy chemistry between them.

However, there are far too many times where I’m reading a book with some big action-packed mission and two characters fall for each other during it and have constant flirtation and romantic/sexual tension, and I always kind of go, “But really though?”

Realistically, if you are in the middle of a big, all-consuming, life-or-death mission the chances of even having time to THINK about being flirtatious would be fairly slim to none, I would think. All too often I’m left sitting there thinking, “Who would even have the energy left to flirt?!” Particularly when there is a time crunch on the mission. I suppose if it’s a long game kind of thing, then whatever, that’s different. But when they have mere days… well, ain’t nobody got time for that.

So, I fully appreciated that the MCs in this book were focused on their mission and didn’t dink around to be coy and flirtatious with one another and worry about whether or not the other one liked them.

I really liked Lila. I liked that she was genuinely fearless. Well, not fearless exactly, but able to think past her fear. She is not as afraid of death as she is afraid of a boring life devoid of adventure, and I just really loved that about her. It came across as quite genuine and not like some cheap “front” she was putting up in front of her tortured soul. She was much more self-aware and confident than Kell — she already knows what she wants out of her life.

Personally, I felt that Lila didn’t fall into the “strong female character” trope because to me despite the fact that she was physically tough and could fight, her strength of will and her confidence is what really stuck out. She seemed emotionally strong and well-adjusted, even though she was mistreated as a child and lived an incredibly difficult life. It didn’t seem to me that was “wounded” by those things. She’s too straight-forward for that, I think. She accepts things as they are and doesn’t worry herself or waste her energy with fretting over things that she cannot change.

I’m kind of sick of seeing characters who beat themselves up or feel sorry for themselves FOR THEIR WHOLE LIVES over things that happened in their pasts.

In this way, I can personally relate to Lila and that’s probably why I liked her so much! I’m not a thief or cut-throat, haven’t killed anyone (I promise! Haha), and haven’t lived on the streets… but I can relate to that emotional willfulness and ability to spend energy on what I see as more productive things than fretting about the past or the future.

I’m so excited to read the next book now! I’m pretty sure I figured out a “secret” and I think it was supposed to be pretty obvious… the whole glass eye thing… yeah? Yeah?! I’m very intrigued to read more.

I do hope that maybe in the next book I’ll get more of “the feels” while reading. I love to have a book just wreck me thoroughly. It hasn’t happened in quite some time! Probably since The Wrath and the Dawn.

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