BR: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

“Love doesn’t buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need for nothing.”

This was an absolutely fantastic fantasy novel, with a great storyline full of themes of freedom and responsibility running throughout.

“The ones you truly had to fear were the ones who gripped their guns loosely, like they’d been born holding them.”

  • Writing quality: 4.5/5
  • Pacing: 4.5/5
  • Characters: 4.5/5
  • Enjoyability: 5/5 
  • Ease of reading: 5/5
  • Thought-provoking: 4/5
  • Merit and originality: 4.5/5
  • Overall love: 14/15


“More fun to steal from enemies.”

“Some people steal to stay alive, and some steal to feel alive. Simple as that.”


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

“Everyone – even the rich and the proud and the royal – wanted things they shouldn’t have.”

I adored the characters, Kell being my favourite (I especially loved his scenes at the beginning, where he was taking us around his life and his world). He was the epitomy of noble, in my opinion. I also loved Lila, who was true to herself and tried her best to be as strong as she could all the time, and succeeded. She also didn’t get distracted by the boys (even though Kell was quite a catch), and for that I take my hat off to V.E. Schwab who added in hints of romance, but didn’t write a YA book with an obvious love story.

“Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.”

As for the premise, I was head-over-heals for the idea of all the different Londons. Each one had its faults, showing that no matter how you treat it, something as special as magic can never be used by everyone. I would love for another book to come out just in this world, maybe not even with these characters, though I would like to see more of them. I just think the world she created has so much potential for storytelling, and she told the story of Kell’s so beautifully, I will definitely be picking up some more of her books!

“For too little power, and we become weak. Too much, and we become something else entirely.”

I have one comment to make… I really thought Lila would turn out to be a Antari as well, what with her glass eye (I had a theory – maybe her parents got it removed when she was younger out of fear for her life?), and also – where were her parents? I presume they died, but I would liked to have had some back story with her family. Kell’s as well (his biological parents anyway).

“Why fill up a mind with things you can’t use? Why dwell on places you can’t go?”

Overall, this book was so beautiful, I enjoyed everything about it, and I would seriously recommend, especially for people who maybe find it difficult to ease their way into fantasy. Don’t go for high fantasy like A Game of Thrones, start with something like this to get you in love with magic!

“Clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week.”



Thank you for reading!

– Catriona x


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