A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

buddy read with the machalos!!

hopefully my experience with these books will mirror my experience with leah bardugo’s grisha trilogy, where i was all excited to read a series that everyone ♥loves♥, only to feel perplexed with ‘why don’t i like this more?’ after reading the first book, but to THEN go on to read and love the next two books with a great sense of relief and safety in numbers.

the synopsis of the second book certainly sounds like it will be more exciting than this.

don’t get me wrong – this isn’t bad – it just felt more like one book-long establishing shot until the end when, admittedly, it got pretty cool. i like the characters here, the world is interesting and has potential for unusual story developments and schwab’s already pulled a couple of moves i appreciate in terms of both their novelty and her disinclination to pander to romance seekers or sentimental readers who want every ‘good’ character to make it through alive.

but the first 3/4 was just really … flat to me. it seems like it was all set-up for the series with a fine late-stage payoff but not fine enough to make this book a favorite.

however, i am quite taken with lila; terrestrial thief, aspiring pirate and general badass, who comes across as earnestly sweet instead of cheesy when she utters lines like:

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


“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”

“Seen what?”

Her smile widened. “Everything.”

and once she gets her fancy new gear? yeah, i’m on board for wherever she goes stomping off to next.

kell is a more typical character, personality-wise, so he will take some time to grow on me, but the specifics of his life, upbringing, and abilities are intriguing enough for me to get my hopes up that A Gathering of Shadows is going to be the one that makes my heart sing.

bring it on!

read my reviews on goodreads

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