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Here's why you should read A Darker Shade of Magic by V E Schwab

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I absolutely love books and recommending people new books to read is one of my absolute favourite things to do - I wouldn't be a book blogger if it wasn't!

Today however, instead of giving you a list of brilliant reads to choose from, I'm going to talk about one specific book that I love and tell you all why you should read it. I discovered Victoria "VE" Schwab's amazing "A Darker Shade of Magic" two years ago, and absolutely fell in love with it. Here's why you should too:

A Darker Shade of Magic

1. Delilah Bard is an absolute BAMF

Delilah Bard, known as Lila in the books, is an absolute firecracker of a female character. Defying all gender expectations of the time in which she lives (London in the time of George III), Lila is strong and feisty and craves adventure and in a time where women were barely allowed to be people, she is who she is and does what she wants without making an apologies for it. I wish I was even half as brave and determined as Lila. 

2. The magic system is awesome

The magic system in this book is so complex and unlike anything I've ever read about before. There's basic elemental magic, which is the magic that people in Red London have, but there's also the Antaris, of which there are only two left, who can travel through the different parrallel Londons and perform various other magic using the magic in their blood. The magic is so much threaded into the world, whether it's Red London where magic thrives, White London where magic is dying, Grey London where magic has gone and Black London, which has been destroyed by magic. No matter which setting in Schwab's complex world you are in, magic is a character there and you can feel it threaded through every page.

3. Victoria Schwab's writing style is lovely

Everything feels so vivid, the setting, the characters, all the different Londons, it all comes alive on the page and as someone who often has difficulty visualising places in books, I found that I had no difficulties here, because Victoria Schwab writes about this world in such a vivid way, that you feel like you are really there, getting lost in her magical world. 

4. The villains are incredible

VE Schwab certainly has a talent for writing villians, but of all the books of hers I've read, the Dane Twins are in my opinion, her best done and most psychotic villains, I literally flinched every time one of them appeared on the page because you just knew something awful was going to happen.

5. The characters are all so complex, especially Holland

No one is black and white in Schwab's world, they all come in shades of grey, but no one shows that more than Holland, the seeming villain, and foil to main character Kell's "good Antari". Holland might appear evil at first glance but there is so much more to him than that, and Schwab is excellent at deconstructing the layers and revealing the true complexities of this character, as she is with all of her characters. Lila isn't just the brash, bold, wannabe pirate, she's a girl struggling to find her place in the world. Kell might be this super strong Antari, but he's also feeling lost and out of place and Rhy might act like the confident prince but he's dealing with issues of his own too. 

6. The brotherly relationship is glorious

Sibling relationships are woefully underutilised in fiction, especially in fantasy, so it is wonderful to see Kell and Rhy's relationship being part of the narrative here and what a wondeful relationship it is. They are so different and yet they would do absolutely anything for each other.

7. The action sequences are great

Action can so often not feel very authentic, but the way Schwab writes action scenes, it's like a movie playing out in your head.

8. The world building is stunning

The world Schwab has created in this book is so incredible, you have these four parallel Londons, all so different and yet really complementary. They all have their own languages, their own cultures, their own relationships to magic, and we get to see and discover all of them alongside Lila and Kell.

9. Kell's magical coat

Yes I know this seems like a weird thing to use to convince people to read a book, but the book starts with Kell's coat, so I feel like it's appropriate. Basically, Kell, the main Antari character has this magic coat with loads of different sides and it can be changed into whatever coat he wants to suit the purpose he needs.

10. Romance is not the main focus of the story

There's vibes of romance between Kell and Lila, but at least in this book, it's not acted on, there's flirting and banter, but the plot is more important than the romance here, which if like me, you tire of romance, is perfect.

So there you go, that's why you should read A Darker Shade of Magic. And if you love it, there are two more books in the series to dive into! 




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