Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene TITLE: A Darker Shade of Magic

AUTHOR: V.E. Schwab

PUBLICATION DATE: February 24th, 2015

GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Buddy read with the lovely Kaleena!! Go check out her twitter and blog!



Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

my review

A Darker Shade of Magic is perhaps one of the most hyped books I’ve ever picked up. In the last few months I’ve seen it all over social media, including several blog posts. I do believe is was over-hyped, and that is what is to blame for my immense guilt over not enjoying it. Out of my 37 Goodreads friends who have read it, only one other person has rated it under 3 stars. I know that it’s okay if I genuinely do not like a book everyone else enjoys, but it makes me feel awful for some reason.

I didn’t hate this book by any means. I quite liked the characters. It was the story and writing that I didn’t really enjoy. I felt like it was extremely repetitive which nearly drove me insane by then end. I don’t know how many times we needed to be told that Kell has two different color eyes, but V.E. Schwab seemed to think it was an easily forgettable fact. The book was pretty action-packed, but it still managed to bore me a lot. I had to force myself to finish it, and I only did because I was buddy reading it with Kaleena. I probably would have DNF’d it within the first 50% had I been reading it solo.

I did really enjoy the characters! Lila was my favorite and I actually really loved her. If I decide to finish the trilogy, it will be for her. She’s badass and everything I want my female characters to be like. I also would LOVE more interaction between her and Rhy. I liked the dynamic between Rhy and Kell and I would have loved to see more of that too. Kell was a somewhat interesting character, but he easily had the most boring personality. He didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor, which is something I look for in all characters. I am interested about his past though, and why the King and Queen didn’t want him to remember. The Dane twins are endlessly fascinating to me. I wish we could have learned more about their past.

I also liked that this book can be read as a standalone. It doesn’t end with a cliffhanger and if I never read the other two I think I would be okay with it. That being said, I’ll probably finish the trilogy eventually.

2 1.5 star


Are there over-hyped books that disappointed you? Which ones?


10 thoughts on “Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

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  3. Wonderful review… I’m always scared to pick up hyped books too… the disappointment is somewhat more of everyone else loves it, so I totally understand how you feel…. this trilogy has been on my radar for long but I’m not sure if I want to read it…

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Pingback: Top 5 Tuesday // Books That Didn’t Live Up To The Hype | Sleepy Sam Reads

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