“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”
– Delilah Bard
(V.E. Schwab; A Darker Shade of Magic)
Do you ever read a book that is so good and giving it five stars just doesn’t feel right compared to other books you rated the same? This is one of those. There were so many aspects in this book that made it such an exceptional read, which I, looking with a more critical eye, missed in other books. From now on, I will be more critical with this book as a comparing point.
This is one of V.E. Schwab’s adult fantasy novels and I think the main difference is that this style is darker and more complicated than regular YA fantasy. I was looking for exactly that. The main characters aren’t even that much older than most YA characters, so I can still relate with them on age level, but I was ready for something else beside sweet stories about faeries or Harry Potter magic.
Most books start with some worldbuilding and introduce you to (major) characters before the real plot will start. Usually, it takes to one fourth or one third of a book before that is really over and the plot will start and the pace increases. This wasn’t the case for A Darker Shade of Magic. The book does start with an introduction to the world and characters, however it is very brief, as the start of the unfolding of the plot begins really quick after. From that moment on further introductions, which happen through most of the story, entwine with the plot and aren’t followed up by eachother. I would describe the pacing of this book as ‘snowballing’, which means that things start slow, but the pacing increases and continues to do so, but so does the significance of what is happening. Events begin simple, but grow out to be more thrilling and exciting and knowing what side POV’s told you keeps you hooked throughout the entirety of the book. It was enthralling and I had trouble putting the book down. I read it in less than a week, which is really quick for me. A true page turner.
I totally recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy, but is looking for something else, something a bit darker. This book was even better than people made me believe when they recommended it to me. I think I can add V.E./Victoria Schwab to my list of favourite authors. I do have to confess that I ordered the other two books in the trilogy before I was truly done reading this one. I just couldn’t stand the idea to have to wait to find out what will happen next. I have so many questions. Until the sequel arrives at my doorstep, I can only wonder.
A special thanks to the Big Green Bookshop with their #buyastrangerabook action and the stranger who actually bought me this book, as this book was quite low on my to-buy-list and I am glad I got to read it now.
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Click here to view this review on Goodreads.