A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: A ★★★☆☆ Read

I can’t believe I managed to squeeze A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab into my wrap-up this month. When I made a poll on my bookstagram story about whether or not I could finish this book in time a few days ago, everyone was so trusting and encouraging. It made me even more motivated to make it before November ended, though a part of me was sure my reading speed was going to disappoint. It was not, thankfully.

So in this book, there are three parallel worlds with different London. Kell, one of the last Antari who has the ability to travel between the world, differentiates them by color: Red London where he lives is a place that works harmoniously with magic; White London is ruled by two evil twins who utilize magic as a lethal weapon; Grey London is a place that has almost forgotten all about magic; and once upon a time, there was Black London whose magic consumed everything in it.

While serving the Maresh Empire in Red London as an ambassador to send messages between the three worlds, Kell also secretly smuggles things for people who wish to have a little token from the other side of the world. When one day an exchange goes amiss, Kell finds himself hiding in Grey London and is then robbed by Delilah “Lila” Bard before going on a deadly adventure with the pickpocket herself.

Okay… this book was… okay…

After reading the Villains duology a couple of years ago, I had a feeling that V.E. Schwab might be an author whose books I would quite enjoy without them becoming a favorite. A Darker Shade of Magic had a slow pace, though there was something about the story that was pretty enticing to keep me coming back. Something about the book certainly had a pull on me. I was hoping that the story would eventually pick up, but in the end, it was just an okay read.

Upon finishing this book, I realized the potential it wasted and how much it could have offered. A few parts, which initially seemed rather necessary, turned out to be quite nonessential and pointless. Such a shame, given that I genuinely liked Kell even if most of the time heverbally and supernaturallyfailed to stand up for himself, which was weird for someone who was supposed to possess a rare magical ability.

While Kell was still bearable, Lila, on the other hand, was not. There was obviously a fine line between being a badass female main character with a devil-may-care attitude and being an asshole. Lila, unfortunately, fell far from the dividing border and sprawled annoyingly on the second category, making it really hard for me to stand her. Helpful or not, I felt bad for Kell for having to put up with Lila.

But still, you must know that I didn't hate this book. I liked the premise, the world-building, and the political aspect. I bet I would like it more if I got to see more of Holland, Astrid, and Athos. It was too bad that the execution was not to my liking.

Actual rating: 3