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

adarkershadeofmagicreview


23211076-1Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: eBook
Goodreads Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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.

5STARRATINGBNM


A Darker Shade of Magic is a book that has been recommended to me countless times but that I decided to wait to pick up until the last book was released. Now that I’ve finished it I’m kicking myself over the fact that I waited. Why did I wait so long!? This book has everything that I love to see when I’m reading fantasy – flawed characters, intricate world building, a unique magic system, and last but not least gorgeous writing that completely pulled me in. This book was my introduction to V.E. Schwab’s writing and I officially need to read all of her other books. I was just completely blown away by this book, simple as that.

As a Traveller, Kell is one of only two people in existence who have the ability to travel between the different Londons. There’s Red London which is beautiful and teeming with magic, Grey London which is sort of a reflection of our own world and lacks magic, White London which is a world that is not only very creepy but is slowly being drained by magic, and then Black London a world which was destroyed by magic and sealed off centuries ago. Kell is Red London’s Traveller and because of his abilities he works for the royal family to keep up communications between them and the royalty of Grey London and White London. However, he also has a secret little side business of his own which involves smuggling things from Red London and trading them to people from Grey London in exchange for something from their world. Kell’s smuggling is not only illegal but considered treason and even with that knowledge he can’t seem to stop doing it. During a visit to White London, he ends up unwillingly having to smuggle a letter back to Red London. When he goes to deliver the letter, however, he realizes that he’s walked head first into a trap. Instead of smuggling something as simple as a letter Kell has smuggled a piece of magic that comes from Black London which is not only forbidden but shouldn’t exist. Kell knows one thing for sure, he must get it out of Red London before its corrupt magic can do any damage and then destroy it at any cost. A Darker Shade of Magic starts off a bit slow but once it gets going it will sweep you off your feet and lead you on a magical and thrilling adventure full of danger and suspense.

“Every night of the year, the market lived and breathed and thrived. The stalls were always changing, but the energy remained, as much a part of the city as the river it fed on. Kell traced the edge of the bank, weaving through the evening fair, savoring the taste and smell of the air, the sound of laughter and music, the thrum of magic.”

My absolute favorite thing about A Darker Shade of Magic was the world building. Technically speaking V.E. Schwab built four different worlds within the pages of this book and I’m in awe over the masterful way in which she did it. The concept of parallel Londons that were each shaped by magic in some way is so incredibly unique and kept me spellbound. I didn’t even realize that the beginning of the book was a bit on the slow side because of the fact that I was immersed in the introduction of these worlds, their characters, and the magic system. Due to the complexity, it could have easily become one giant info dumping trap but it didn’t. I attribute that largely to V.E. Schwab’s beautiful writing and how she revealed information at the right moments with just enough intrigue to keep you wanting to know more. Although, we didn’t learn a lot about Black London, for valid reasons, but the mystery in which it was shrouded makes me excited for what could possibly be revealed in the next two books.

Aside from the world building I adored the characters! V.E. Schwab created these beautifully flawed and memorable characters that I couldn’t help but fall in love with. They’re right up there with Six of Crows and The Bone Season for me, which is saying something since you guys know how much I love those characters.

“Kell wore a very peculiar coat. It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.”

Kell is the first character we’re introduced to and he’s quite intriguing. While outwardly he’s this respected figure in Red London for the fact that he’s one of the last Travellers and considered a member of the royal family, inwardly he has a bit of a hidden rebelliousness that comes out in the form of smuggling things between the different Londons. A rebelliousness that he quickly begins to learn the consequences of. What I loved about him most was the fact that he owned up to his mistakes and was determined to fix them, mainly to protect those he cares for. Also, his magic coat. Can we talk about how awesome that thing is? Can someone make them real because I want one!

Lila, our second main character, has officially made my list of top favorite female characters. I loved her from the second she was introduced! When we first meet her she burns down a ship. How badass is that? Lila is unapologetic and completely herself. She’s a thief who wants adventure in the form of a ship so that she can sail the world and become a pirate. I’ve definitely never come across a character like her before. She inadvertently gets her adventure when she pickpockets something dangerous and important from Kell but not in the way she was expecting.

“A wry smile cut acorss Lila’s mouth. “You’re a smuggler.”

“Says the pickpocket,” snapped Kell defensively.

“I know I’m a thief,” said Lila, lifting a red lin from the top of the chest and rolling it over her knuckles. “I’ve accepted that. It’s not my fault that you haven’t.”

I loved the dynamic between Kell and Lila, while he’s more serious and a tad cautious she has this ruthlessness and recklessness. They balanced each other out so well.

Besides Kell and Lila, there are so many other characters that I found incredibly interesting and quite a few that just plain creeped me out.

There’s Rhy who I wish we had seen more of because I love what we did see. He’s the Prince of Red London and comes off as a giant flirt that doesn’t take things seriously but in reality he truly wants to become a great leader for his people. And the dynamic between him and Kell was beautiful. Despite not being blood-related they consider each other brothers because they grew up together. I loved it.

“Some people say magic lives in the mind, others the heart,” said Holland quietly, “but you and I both know it lives in the blood.”

And then there’s Holland who is the other Traveller from White London. I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel towards this character which is what has made him so memorable for me. At first, I felt really bad for him and then I hated him and the cycle continues that way throughout the book. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted over a character before!

All in all, A Darker Shade of Magic turned out to be this incredible reading experience that took me on an adventure. From the different worlds to the characters, and then the magic system – I was completely blown away and fell in love with all of it. If you’re a huge fantasy fan and have yet to pick up this series then I highly recommend it. You won’t regret it!


Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? What did you think? If not is it on your TBR?

spsig

 

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60 thoughts on “Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  1. I have noticed we like and dislike similar books. I’m so happy to see your 5 stars rating for this book and that it meet the complex world building criteria that you have. Can’t wait to read it. Great review Melissa!

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  2. Yes, Melissa I am so so so glad you loved this book. I loved reading your review because it literally brought back all my memories of A Darker Shade of Magic, and this series, and made me want to re-read it all over again! I will say one reason you waited this long to start this book is because now all three books have been released, and trust me when you get to the end of A Gathering of Shadows you’ll be so glad you don’t want to wait for the third book (I had to wait a year and it was probably the most intense wait for a book I’ve ever had to experience).
    V.E. Schwab is an amazing author and I’m glad that, after reading this book/series, you’ll be picking up more of her books. I’d recommend Vicious if you’re looking for recommendations!
    The world-building is just amazing isn’t it? I know I said this in another comment but this is how you do slower-paced books that still keep the audience engaged, you spend the time creating a world that is so detailed it almost feels real.
    The characters are all amazing too, by the end of the series you won’t want it to end just so you can keep reading more of their adventures. I will say, and don’t worry it’s not a spoiler or anything, that my thoughts on wanting to see more Rhy were the same as yours when it comes to A Darker Shade of Magic, but don’t worry because there’s more of him in A Gathering of Shadows.
    Speaking of AGOS are you planning to start it soon, if you haven’t already.
    Great review, and again I am so so glad to see you loved this book! 😀 ❤

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    • Thanks so much, Beth!! 💕😁 I have a feeling this will be one series I’ll end up wanting to reread once I’m finished. I’m so glad that you and Reg recommended it to me because otherwise I’m not sure if I ever would have actually gotten around to reading it lol. Very true, all of the talk about the AGOS cliffhanger was definitely a bit part of why I waited. I’m actually kind of scared for it even though I can go straight from it into ACOL. 😂
      Vicious is on my TBR for this year so hopefully I get to it. I’ve heard a lot of great things about it.
      It really is! I think the last time I was this much in love with the world building of a book was when I first read The Bone Season. It’s definitely how you do slower paced books, ADSOM is the perfect example which I wish all fantasy authors would follow as far as slow pace goes. Plus I can’t get over how the magic from Black London was made to feel like a character at times. I loved it!
      I haven’t even started AGOS and I already don’t want it to end. Yeah, I’ve heard that Rhy is in the next one a lot more than this one which I’m happy about. I can’t wait to learn more about him and just see his character more.
      I’m actually planning on starting it within the next few days. I went straight from ADSOM into The Struggle by Jennifer L. Armentrout but now that I finished that I’m going to start AGOS. 😁

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      • That’s all right! 😀 And I’m sure it will because it’s a series I already want to re-read and likely will before this year is over. Seriously I can’t say how glad I am you enjoyed this book. I was pretty sure you would be sometimes it is a risk recommend books you love to other people, and this is a series I love.
        I feel like you should be scare, but being able to jump right into ACOL is something you’ll be very glad for.
        It’s amazing, not as good as this series but then in my opinion nothing is! 😀
        This series and TBS are two that really stand out for me in terms of world building as well. When creating a new world you do need the time to develop things properly and this is something both Schwab and Shannon do amazingly well.
        Oh Melissa you really need to read the next two book, there are so many things I want to say that will have to wait for your review of ACOL because of spoilers but I can’t wait to talk to you about them all! 😀 I never wanted this series to end but at the same time I couldn’t finish it fast enough.
        That’s very good to hear. I’m sure you’ll love AGOS just as much, if not more, than this one. And after you finish it we need to talk about that cliffhanger! 😀

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      • I always had a big feeling that I would end up enjoying it. Especially hearing how much you and Reg loved it and the characters and the world building. It sounded exactly like my kind of fantasy. But, yeah, recommending a book you love is definitely a risk. You want someone to love a book you loved as much as you. I always feel a little bad and sad when I recommend a book I love and it doesn’t work for someone lol.
        I am definitely scared and will probably have to force myself not to peak ahead especially if there is a lot of suspense. When it comes to suspense versus spoiler impulse the spoiler impulse almost always wins. 😂
        I completely agree, though I have more experience with Samantha Shannon’s writing what I’ve seen of Schwab’s shows just how incredible she is at world building.
        Well I will most likely be finished with the trilogy by the middle of next month (maybe sooner) so not too long until we can talk about it all! I actually have this theory about Lila but I know it could possibly be a spoiler so I’m keeping my lips zipped lol. I can’t wait until I finish them and we can talk about them all in detail. 😁
        Oh we will definitely have to talk about the cliffhanger! I have a feeling I’ll end up wanting to do a spoilerish review for both AGOS and ACOL.

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      • I had a big feeling you’d enjoy it as well, but I guess sometimes you can never really be sure and I love this series so much I just want everyone who reads it to love it as much as I do.
        As far as books go this is normally one you can recommend to anyone and they’ll love it. There’s just something about the series that appeals to everyone in one way or another.
        Definitely don’t peak ahead. It’s worth it when you get to the end and realise what the cliffhanger is, and then when you know you can get started on the next book immediately.
        They’re both incredible at world building in different ways I think. But either way both worlds are favourites of mine! 🙂
        I am literally going to be counting down the days until you finish this series and we can have a spoiler-y discussion about everything that happens. If the theory you’re thinking of is one I’m thinking of then I think I had the same theory. 🙂
        Yes, do it. I’d love reading all your spoiler-y thoughts on this series! 😀 ❤

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    • For some reason WP didn’t give me the notification for your comment. So boo on WP!
      It does seem that way. I’ve yet to come across anyone that hasn’t loved this series. Which says something about how good it truly is. 😊
      I will make sure not to look ahead, even if I end up really wanting to. Though I won’t be able to dive into the last book straight away. I’ll have to write my AGOS review first once I do read and finish it. I have a feeling I’ll be rushing to get all my thoughts out. 😂
      I have a feeling we’re thinking about the same theory. Once I’ve finished the series I will definitely tell you what my theory was about because now I’m curious if we had the same one lol.
      I will so be doing it! It’ll be different from my usual reviews but I have a feeling I won’t be able to not write a spoiler review. 😁

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      • Oh that is weird, but sometimes WP does that to me as well, hasn’t seemed to for a while more recently though.
        Yeah I haven’t seen many negative reviews for this series either. It’s definitely good enough I can understand the love it has. 😀
        It will be much more shocking if you don’t. Also you’ll get to finally understand how I felt waiting for a year for the last book. Once you’ve finished just imagine the wait. It was insane! I feel like you’ll want to dive into the last book right away despite that. 🙂
        Yep, tell me and I can tell you if I had the same one. Given the series and where you are in it I think it is the same one.
        I couldn’t manage a spoiler free one for the last book either, I just had too many thoughts on it I wanted to get off my chest! 😀

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      • It does it to me all the time. And then I feel bad because there have been times I haven’t noticed a comments until weeks after because WP didn’t notify me. 😖
        Yep! I’ll finally get exactly what you mean about the cliffhanger. I nearly bought both AGOS and ACOL at the same time but then I stopped myself because not having it will force me to pause to write my review. 😂 Which, by the way, I started AGOS last night and am loving it! I love that it starts with Lila. I’m only on chapter three, I think.
        Oh and did you see the stuff about how there’s going to be a ADSOM collectors edition with new short stories in it? I saw this thing about it on twitter yesterday and knew I had to tell you about it.
        I am definitely going to have to go back and read your review for it once I finish the series and have my review up for ACOL. 😊

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      • People probably realise things like this happen. And I think as long as your probably catch it eventually it can normally be a case of no hard feelings you know?
        Well that is a good thing to do, but at the same time you’ll likely wish you had brought ACOL at the same time. I am so so excited for you to finish AGOS. You’ll have to let me know the second you do because we need to talk about the ending.
        I did not see that but now I need to check it out and order that book as soon as it is available on Amazon. Thanks for letting me know.
        Will definitely be better if you wait until after you’ve read ACOL to do that then, there are probably spoilers in my review! 🙂

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      • Definitely, when I catch it and reply I’m always like “I’m sorry! WP ate the notification. 🤦” lol.
        Probably, I can already imagine my reaction to this cliffhanger and the fact that I don’t have ACOL yet. 😂 And I’ll be sure to let you know the second I finish it because I’m betting I’ll be freaking out.
        No problem! I think it’s avaliable on Amazon now. Or at least it is on the US one because the second I saw new stories I pre-ordered it lol.
        I will! 😊

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      • It happens to everyone so at least people know you’re not making it up or anything. Besides you caught this one pretty quickly.
        I can imagine your reaction and it kind of makes me laugh a little (but not in a cruel way, more of an I’m excited for you to read it so we can talk about it way).
        Well I’ll check UK Amazon and keep checking it until it’s showing there. Is it called anything or is it still untitled at the moment?

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      • Mainly because I was replying to comments and wanted to talk about ADSOM with you and realized I didn’t get the notification. 😂🙈
        I can already imagine myself freaking out and running straight to the computer to get on WP lol.
        I actually looked on Amazon UK and found the link if you still need it https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Shade-Magic-Shades/dp/0765399113/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490835093&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=a+darker+shade+of+magic+collectors+edition 😊

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      • Ahh, handy! 🙂 And I’m always interested in talking with you about books so I always check for notifications from you.
        Yes, definitely do that. The sooner the better in my opinion.
        Ohh, thanks so much Melissa, I’m going to pre-order that very very shortly! 😀

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      • Same here! 😊 And okay since you’ve read AGOS and Leigh Bardugo’s books did Alucard remind you Nikolai Lantsov too? He gives me serious Nikolai feels. I’m about 30% into the book so far and am reading slow because I got distracted by a TV show but he’s become one of my favorites lol.
        No problem!! 😁

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      • Now you’ve mentioned it possibly a little bit. I dunno I didn’t really make that connection when I was reading AGOS but I think I read the Grisha series a while ago and then read AGOS before re-reading the Grisha trilogy. Either way I loved Nikolai and I loved Alucard as well! 🙂

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  3. Melissa, this is such a well written review! Everything you said, I completely agree with 100%! The world building in this book is absolutely amazing… and when I read it, it was my first V.E. Schwab read, too. And I fell in love. Kell is great, Lila is the sh*t, and Rhy is so loveable! I haven’t read A Conjuring of Light yet, simply because I want to reread the first two books before I read the last one. It’s been so long since I read them, it seems like. And it’s not that I don’t remember the books… but I just want to experience this magical world all over again from the beginning! I know when I read book 3, it’ll be over! And I am so sad about that!! Fabulous review, girl!

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    • Thanks so much, Megan!! 💕
      The world building really was amazing! Just the amount of things she put into it and how it never felt like info dumps, I’m in awe over it. And yes to the characters! I can’t wait until I start AGOS because I heard Rhy is in it more and I’m excited about that. 😁
      I hope you enjoy ACOL whenever you get to reading it. Although I’ve heard nothing but good things so I have a feeling that you will. 😊

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  4. Wonderful review, Melissa! I absolutely LOVED this book and you’ve basically said everything I would like to say in my own review LOL. The world-building is so well done, especially since the the author avoids that info-dump and manages to incorporate and explain the rules of her fantastical world into every page rather into one singular moment. The characters are perfect in how imperfect they are. Kell’s rebelliousness in the form of smuggling was a great detail to add to his character and I also really appreciate how he owns up to his mistakes, too, and learns from them. Though she annoyed me at times, I came to really love Lila and I adored her independence and agency. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do next. Also, I love Rhy and I would have liked to see more of him but I’m hoping I’ll get more of him in the next book. I didn’t know how to feel about Holland either and his complex character is just a testament to how fantastic a writer V.E. Schwab is. THIS book is everything an adult fantasy should be and I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book. Amazing review, Melissa!! ❤ I hope you love the next book just as much!!

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    • Thanks so much, Azia!! 💕 I’m so glad you ended up loving this one too! It was such a great book! Seriously I always put off the books that I end up loving the most LOL. The world building really was incredible. And the fact that V.E. Schwab avoided info dumps with such a complex world has probably just made her one of my favorites. I loved how Kell was a smuggler! (Is it weird that at one point I thought of Little Mermaid because of the music boxes?? I was on a Disney binge thanks to Beauty and the Beast.😂) But, yeah, I loved how he owned up to and learned from his mistakes. I can’t wait to see what Lila will do next too. And I hear that Rhy is in AGOS a lot more that he was in ADSOM so I’m excited! I feel this was everything a fantasy book should be in general. V.E. Schwab definitely just made my expectations higher for future fantasy books I read lol. I hope you enjoy the next book too! 😊

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      • Oh I do the same thing too! Haha, I wonder why I haven’t picked this one up yet. I was missing out on such amazing world building and character development! My standards have definitely been increased for fantasy books too because of this book. And don’t worry, I totally get that Little Mermaid vibe too 😂😂 Yay for more Rhys! He’s so charming lol. Thanks! I hope you do too 😊💖

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      • Right? I can’t believe how much I was missing out on by not reading them. Although, I’m glad I don’t have to wait after finished AGOS to read ACOL because I keep hearing there’s a dreaded cliffhanger lol. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one getting Little Mermaid vibes! Honestly I had Part of Your World stuck in my head for a bit. 😂
        You’re welcome!! 😊♥

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  5. THE REVIEW IS FINALLY UP!! I’m so glad you loved it as much as I did hahahah frankly I don’t know what else to say because I agree with everything and we’ve talked about the fabulous characters and world building before 😂😂 BUT ANYWAY, I agree that this could easily be an info dumping but nope, Schwab managed to create a world that is so intricate but also very vivid ❤ I also love Kell SO MUCH and omg you're getting more Rhy in AGOS!! The bromance // siblinghood between Rhy and Kell is strong in there hahaha great review! ❤

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    • YEP!!! It took me way too long to finish the book because I don’t think I wanted it to end (even though there’s still AGOS and ACOL, I’m weird). 😂🙈 But yes! It could have fallen straight into an info dumping trap which is one thing I was worried about when I heard about the slow start but it never did. V.E. Schwab just did such a great job with it and honestly she’s made my favorites list as far as world building goes for sure.
      Everyone keeps telling me about how there’s more Rhy in AGOS. I can’t wait to start it!
      Thanks so much, Puput!! 😁💕

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  6. Great review! 😀 I’m beyond exited to see that you loved this book! ❤ It's one of my favourites and I seriously can't wait to continue reading this series. I adore both Kell and Lila, they are both amazing in their own way and I agree with you – they balance each other out greatly. 🙂 I liked what we saw from Rhy, but it just wasn't enough. I have heard that there's a lot more of him in the second, so I'm very much looking forward to that! I'm also very conflicted about Holland, even after a month or so since I read the book I have no idea what to think about him.
    Once again, great review Melissa! 🙂

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    • Thanks so much, Anna!! 😊♥ It’s definitely one of my favorites now too. I need to get my hands on AGOS asap so I can start it because it’s all I’ve been thinking about lol. And I’ve also heard there’s more Rhy in the second book so I’m looking forward to that too. 😊

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  7. Yes yes yes yes yes ISN’T IT GREAT?!! I’m so glad you loved it, it is such an amazing book with beautiful world-building, such great characters and ahhhhhhh Kell and Rhy and Lila are so precious. There wasn’t enough Rhy in this book, but you’ll get more of him in the second book and it is so lovely. I love this series so much, can’t wait to see what you think of the rest of the books (I know you’ll love them though haha)

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    • It really is! I can’t believe it took me so long to finally read it because I loved it so much! I keep hearing about how there’s more Rhy in AGOS and it’s making me want to start it asap. I’m trying to wait a bit because I know once I start I won’t want to do anything but read. 😂😂
      There’s definitely a big (100%) chance I’ll love the rest of them lol. 😊

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  8. YAAAAS. I’m so glad you like this book! 🙌

    I agree, V. E. Schwab is such a masterful world-builder and writer that all the info doesn’t feel that info-dumpy. What I love most is probably the world-building though; I’ve never read anything quite like it and really enjoyed all the possibilities.

    And HER CHARACTERS. Kell and Lila and Rhy all feel original and unique and not at all tropey. I actually enjoyed Holland’s character right from the very first book, but I just have a penchant for tortured villains… and he definitely IS very tortured, despite all the bad things he did to Kell and Lila.

    PS: The quotes you’ve included made me feel all so shippy again about Lila and Kell! I’m sure you’d love AGOS and ACOL too. ❤

    PPS: Kell's coat is AMAZING and I want one too. It'd be so useful to just buy one expensive coat and then "turn" it into whatever you want/fits the scene. It'll cut down the size of my wardrobe by half, easy. 😂

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    • It was so good! I’m so glad that I read it. Except now I’m having to wait until next week to start AGOS which sucks because all I want to do is read it right now lol.
      I loved the world building the most too, it’s such a unique concept. Every time I picked up the book to read it I was excited about what she would reveal about the world next. And I agree about Kell, Lila, and Rhy – defiantly original and not at all tropey. I loved that about them! All three officially have a place on my favorite character’s list. 😁 When Holland was first introduced I liked him. I knew he was up to something but I liked him and then by the end of the book I was so conflicted. I can’t say I didn’t like him at all but I can’t say that I completely loved him. He’s definitely a tortured character though and it’s that part that really makes me feel for him. Which I love when an author can make me feel for a character who is supposed to be the villain.
      YAY for shippy feels towards Lila and Kell! The one quote I included with them talking is one of my favorites. 🙈 And right? I have so many coats in my closet but if I had Kell’s coat I wouldn’t need any of them. Someone needs to get to making it a possibility! (If only we had magic 😂)

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      • I feel you. I was SO jittery getting my hands on ACOL – I had to wait a bit too because I was in the middle of packing up and didn’t immediately have the time to read it the minute it was published.

        Now that the book has ended I feel like the setting still has a lot of potential! I hope she publishes more and more books in the future. Have you read This Savage Song? While I don’t think the book is as good, the world-building is also super solid. She’s just such a creative, unique mind.

        Understandable. I think all my years of watching anime has made me so much more sympathetic towards villains… and sometimes I tend to love them more than the protagonists, haha.

        If only we had magic, indeed. 😭

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      • I feel like it’s always the worst when you want to read a book so bad and it’s published but then you don’t have the time to stop and read it.
        I haven’t but it’s on my TBR for this year. So, hopefully I get around to it at some point. That one and Vicious as two that I really want to read. 😊
        See, I love anime villains. And now that you mention anime Holland sort of reminds me of Sasuke. There have been a few books where I’ve loved the villain – Shatter Me, Gilded Cage (Silyen), and The Grisha trilogy come to mind. I even sometimes like Nashira from The Bone Season because she is a fantastic villain. 😊

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      • I hiiighly recommend Vicious! I found that to be better paced than ADSOM, and while I am fonder of ADSOM, I feel like Vicious is easier to get into.

        OMG Holland is totally Sasuke! An even more tortured version, and probably less scary because Sasuke is… well, Sasuke. Is the anime complete? I really only read the manga. 😛

        I haven’t encountered Nashira yet (oops), but I hope I like her! I haven’t had time to read recently.

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      • I definitely plan on reading it! 😊
        Very true, Sasuke could be quite scary lol. Funny enough I just got past the part in AGOS where we find out that Holland is alive (which I knew) and I was so excited. But also like oh great shit is probably about to start hitting the fan. 😂 And I think the anime is complete. I’ve not finished the anime or manga yet because both are so long but I do know they’re doing another movie with the original characters and their kids. I think a manage series too but I’m not entirely sure.
        Since you’re big on villains I have a feeling you will. She’s more on the evil spectrum and does some terrible things but is such a well written villain. And I feel you on lack of reading time lately. That’s been me the past week and why I’m not further in AGOS. There just needs to be more time to read. 😣

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    • It really is! I swear the world building and characters are on my favorites list now and just made my expectations for fantasy that much higher. I started AGOS a few days ago and so far I am loving. Thanks so much, Lauren!! 😁♥

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  9. I really wish that I had loved this book as much as everyone else did. I liked it, but it didn’t blow my mind in that way that it has much of the bookish community. I feel like I did something wrong! Haha. I have had book 2 sitting on my TBR forever. Your enthusiasm in this review has really inspired me to read it.

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    • Nah, you didn’t do anything wrong! We all like different books and all of that. There have been a few that didn’t wow me that everyone else loved so I get it. 😊 But I am glad that I inspired you to give book two a chance. So far, it’s actually a bit faster in pace than this one was.

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  10. I came back to read your review again and I’m glad we both liked Kell and Lila for the same reasons. My reaction exactly “I officially need to read all of her other books”!! 🙂

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