A Darker Shade of Magic || Review

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)(cover art and summary from goodreads)
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

(all views expressed in this review are my own + all pictures were taken/belong to me)
(This is a non-spoiler review)


"The world was hers. The worlds were hers. And she was going to take them all."

If you only ever read one of my reviews/pick up a book I talk about, mAKE IT THIS ONE. 

This book is fantastic. Magical. Brilliant. Enchanting. It is everything + everything, and I am just so happy right now. Truly a book is great if it leaves me smiling after finishing the last page, like this one did. 

A Darker Shade of Magic was my first V.E. Schwab book, and I'm now going to embark on a mission to devour the rest of her works. The world-building was fantastic, and done so very well. There were no info dumps, and nothing ever felt confusing. Information was trickled in at precisely the right moments, and it made sense. I adored the different ways magic was treated; to me, it was a perfect way to display all the ways it could go right, or go wrong. Its system, and way it operated was fascinating as well. The book was written in a way so that it all was extremely cinematic in my head, and I adore authors who can do that. Everything flowed so seamlessly and Schwab's writing style is so crisp and immersive. 

Did I mention the relationship between a guy and gal that did not turn into a romance??? I SWEAR THIS BOOK WAS BLESSED BY SOME HIGHER POWER. Kell + Lila had the occasional 'quick kiss for luck,' but they were such a platonic thing and I am just sO PLEASED OKAY.

And the characters-- OH THE CHARACTERS. I love Kell. Freaking love him. I think he's one of my new favorites of ever. His POV was definitely the one I enjoyed the most. There was just something with the way he went about things and how he acted that I latched on to. Right at about the scene in the beginning with him in the tavern where he fondles the music box, I was sold and fully ready to whisk him away to protect, along w/ my other faves. Also, his coat-that's-more-like-a-thousand-coats?!?!?! I want one and I'm not even a coat kind of person. 

Then there's Lila. Don't even get me started on Lila and her fabulousness. Her obsession with becoming a pirate and going on an adventure sounded such like a whimsical notion of my own, and I couldn't help rooting immensely for her to get a ship + be able to travel the world. She was very closed off and tough in the beginning, and it was nice to see how Kell affected her/brought out the more 'honorable,' side of her. (Although I loved her recurring theme of casually trying to steal things wherever they were throughout the whole book.)

Rhy reminded me a lot of Dorian, from Throne of Glass. Black hair, prince, same flirty/cocky attitude... and yeah, that basically that translates to, 'I loved him.' He wasn't as prominent as Kell + Lila, so in a sense I felt like his character was a bit lacking? But he was fully fleshed out, just not there as much as I would've liked. The scenes with him though were fantastic, and you could tell how much he loved Kell and worried over his well-being.
{I'm hoping for much more of Rhy in the sequel.} 

It also seemed like so much work went into all the secondary characters-- no matter how long they appeared for, they all felt real, with their own ambitions and lives and quirks. Not to mention all the immersive + well developed settings, along with the plot. All throughout reading you could just tell how much work and effort went into this thing, and it makes me so monstrously happy that there are people who can write like this in the world. 

There are so many more things I could say about A Darker Shade of Magic, but all of it would probably just appear as incoherent screaming at this point. At the end of the day, this book was fantastic, I'm utterly in love with it, and I'll be starting the sequel asap. Bless Schwab for this glorious piece of work. 

*100000000 out of 5 stars*

Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? If so, what did you think? If you haven't read it, do you think you will? And because I'm curious-- who are some of your favorite book characters???

I hope you all have a lovely morning/day/evening/night. Don't forget to smile, because you're exquisite. ^-^

{This review was originally posted on my goodreads, but edited for the blog. :)}


  1. HAPPY TEARS MY FRIEND HAPPY TEARS. I totally understand you! The world-building was on point and the characters. Ohhh the characters. <3 Kells and Lila are my new favorite characters. And, on top of that, A BOY AND GIRL FRIENDSHIP!!! Can we just *sighs happily* Three claps to go V.E. Schwab. *claps* Fabulous review Adaline.

    anna | annaish

    1. SO MANY HAPPY TEARS AH. kell and lila are pure perfection, and their relationship-- gAH SO MANY TEARS.
      *joins you in clapping*
      thanks love!! <3
      xx a

  2. uh oh. a character like Dorian? I can't risk falling in love with another character.

    buT I've heard so much about this book and i need to read it SO BAD. I loved this review though, your reviews are always the best :D

    whO ARE MY FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTERS? this is easy: smart bean Hermione Granger, precious bean SIMON LEWIS, bad*** IZZY LIGHTWOOD, freAKIN dRAco malFoy. and just CINDER, JUST CINDER JUST EVERYTHING ABOUT CINDER PLEASE JUST KILL ME NOW. *picks up mess* sorry for the fangirl oops


    1. the list of characters i've fallen in love with just keeps growing and it's horrible.

      you must, you must!! it's absolutely splendid. <3
      ah, why thank you!

      xx a
      (never apologize for fangirling, love)

  3. another book to be added to my tbr list. the summer is coming up and that's the prime book hunting season for me ;)

    as said by noor, your reviews are the best <3


    ps- favorite book characters have to be Eleanor & Park {from Eleanor & Park}, Cinder {or almost anyone from the Lunar Chronicles}, and Anne from Anne of Green Gables.

    1. 'ello again. i wanted to let you know you've been nominated for an award on my blog :)

    2. ugh i can't wait for summer. there'll be so much time for reading. <3

      thank you, darling!! ^-^
      xx a

  4. First awesome review! Second that book seems really awesome :)

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

    1. thank you, nabila! it's extremely wonderful. <3
      xx a

  5. THIS BOOK LOOKS SO COOL OMG. I may have to pick it up! I've heard a lot about V.E. Schwab of late; her books sound awesome.

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

    1. you should! it's terrific, and v.e. schwab has such an amazing writing style. <3
      xx a

  6. Oh man, this is the THIRD ridiculously positive review I've come across of this book today! It's been sitting growing on dust on my shelf for literally a year now because I've somehow managed to convince my self it's not My Thing... I think reading all of these wonderful reviews today is a sign though. Or something.

    Detailed world-building and fleshed-out secondary characters and wonderful protagonists are so up my street, and I really need to stop putting it off and just read it already!

    Thanks so much for a wonderful review! :)

    (P.S. the photos you've taken for this are so pretty, especially the phone-on-book one! <3 )

    Shaunna @ Books Over Bros

    1. That certainly seems like a sign to me! I hope you do end up picking it up-- it's really such a terrific book/series. I feel like it's one of those ones that almost everybody loves, regardless of what they normally read.
      Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment! <3
      xx a


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