A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab

I started this account to help me remember how books and stories affected me as I read them. I thought I would do something different with this book. (I am out of graduate school for the semester and have time to do things I enjoy.) So, I am writing my impression of the story as I read it.


Something about this book feels comfortable. I am less than 50 pages into the novel and already adore the main characters. As I realise that perhaps these characters are a little too perfect, I wonder why I am not annoyed by the flawless nature of the main characters. There is something about the entire story that feels so fantastical that the wonderful main characters are enchanting and lovely, rather than like two terrible Mary Sue characters. Maybe I am so enthralled by the unique premise of the novel that I am too swept away to be concerned about the flawlessness of the characters.


I planned to update after 50 additional pages. Yet, I read 150 pages more before realising that I hadn’t written any reaction to the story. I have the compulsion to finish this tale NOW. Sadly, the series isn’t completed. However, I did pause to buy the next book with rush delivery for Friday. I have decided Kell and Lila would be my friends if they were real. They enjoy living life to the fullest and understand we have ONE life. So much of the thought and philosophy in this story makes nod and cheer, “Yes! This thought exactly! Yes!”

There is a touch of romance just sprinkled throughout the tale. Nothing obnoxious, just a bit sweet and touching. For once, it doesn’t feel like the author is going to save the heroine through her newfound relationship. But, there is that well-earned fear that Schwab will cop out and after the adventure, the couple will be together. And with these two characters, nothing would be worse or more of a let down.


I am afraid to pick up the book before doing chores and eating. Somehow, I am over halfway through with the novel, and the next one doesn’t arrive until Friday. I feel so torn. I need to know everything about the fourth London, and also I don’t want to have to wait to continue the story. To stall a bit longer, I have added the third book to my wishlist. It won’t be published until February. I really should pace myself better.

I love, love this book. I devoured it and now feel so lost. Kell and Lila are a some of the most loveable characters ever penned, the story is clever and unique, and the writing is clear and straightforward. The story unravels naturally as if the characters whispered it to her over drinks and Schwab frantically wrote it down.

The romance aspect, which is typically the weak point in a fantasy novel, was handled brilliantly. The author stayed true to her characters throughout the story. I adore these two and think they make each other better, stronger, more courageous. Yet, they are young and independent with a lot of life and growth to do on their own. I like that Schwab stayed true to the story and her characters. It gave the story additional authenticity.

To appear less bias, I feel I should add a disclaimer. This story is wonderful, charming, and thrilling. The author does not ask the reader to work very hard in this novel. The reader is gripped to finish the tale because they adore the characters, want to see how the adventure unravels, or simply enjoy a great story. The author is sparse on any additional commentary. You know these characters, on a superficial level. You know these Londons, superficially. If you are a reader who enjoys an author that makes you work and drops you into their world like Erikson, you may feel this story is a little black and white for you.


I wish I could beg and ARC of the third novel from the author. I still feel the story gripping my mind, distracting me from reading anything else. Is it too soon to reread A Dark Shade of Magic?

-A Bookish Girl


Cuckoo Song

Frances Hardinge

This novel is enchanting, creepy, and wonderful. It feels like Neverwhere mixed with a fairy story. I was surprised and delighted throughout the entire story.

I discovered Frances Hardinge earlier this year with Fly by Night (published on my Mum’s birthday in 2005) and Twilight Robbery. I was captivated by her enchanting descriptions, weaving mysteries, and action-packed stories. After finishing the series, I lengthened my ever growing Amazon wish-list to include every Hardinge book published to-date. She is a brilliant storyteller.

Unlike many other children authors, Hardinge doesn’t foreshadow and give away the story, she doesn’t shy away from important subjects and includes strong, courageous, believable heroines. I am aware her novels are classified children’s books. However, these books are great for weekend reads for adults. (Or perhaps it is a fun read for the young girl trapped in this ‘adult’ person.)

-A Bookish Girl

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Andrew Peterson, better known for Dancing in the Minefields, penned On the  Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, the first of the Wingfeather saga. This singer/songwriter has done an excellent job writing his debut novel. I read it aloud to my husband as we travelled over Thanksgiving and almost enjoyed it more, despite it being the second reading. The poetry of the novel becomes clear as you read it aloud. It is clever and silly, a book meant for all ages. Although the foreshadowing takes away any surprise to an adult reader, it remains enchanting and fun for any reader.

-A Bookish Girl
(Despite already reaching this month’s book budget, I found myself purchasing the next in this series anyway…I guess that means no lunch tomorrow.)