Showing posts with label a darker shade of magic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a darker shade of magic. Show all posts

Monday, February 27, 2017

[Review] A Darker Shade of Magic (#1) - V.E. Schwab: 19th Century London and Parallel Universes





In A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, Kell is one of the blood magicians who are gifted with the ability to wander between parallel worlds.

What intrigued me: Recommended by literally everyone.

Textbook writing and too many info dumps

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC certainly has a great base frame, but absolutely can't hide the fact that it doesn't quite know what to do with all that world building. Protagonist Kell is a smuggler, an adopted royal, a blood magician, and handles the correspondence between the four different Londons. To get that all inside your head, you'll already need a moment. The biggest problem is that there is so much about this world and so many specific rules, quirks, and things to know, that there is no way you'll have a good time reading this for the first time. Paired with incredibly factual and emotionless writing, it reads like a textbook. I was often torn between utter disinterest and sort-of fascination. 

I grew insanely frustrated the more I read because I simply didn't understand what was happening and why it was happening, and who the bazillion side characters are. A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC plays in this sort-of 19th century-inspired historical-ish world that has kings and queens and (sometimes?) magic. Ish. I say Ish because even after having read this I still don't get it. Usually you'd expect a novel to lay out the basics within the first 100 pages, but in A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, you'll still be wrestling with exposition on page 350 of 400. 

Clearly the idea is there and Schwab really tried to set up an original world, but half of it neither makes sense nor is comprehensible to the average first time reader. This is not the type of fantasy I enjoy - throwing words in made-up languages around and introducing so many different parallel worlds that you're constantly confusing everyone. 

One dimensional characters and predictability

Because Schwab so heavily puts the focus on the world building, the characters are absolutely suffering. Everyone in A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC is one-dimensional, not even the protagonist Kell has an ounce of a personality. It's a shame because you can tell that a lot of effort went into this. At the end of the day, I think this book is impossible to enjoy if you prefer your high fantasy to make sense and to form a connection with the fictional characters you're reading about. 

On top of all that - the plot is just very predictable and anti-climactic. Of course protagonist Kell must face the only other rare special snowflake blood magician in the book aside from him because of some barely-plausible plot convenience; and of course there is a mystery about his birth parents that we only get to solve if we buy the next two books. 


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC wasn't for me. From a predictable plot to confusing world building, to writing that I just don't like, this one is a clear miss for me personally.



Additional Info

Published: 24th February 2015
Pages: 400
Publisher: Tor
Genre: Adult / Sci-Fi / Parallel Worlds
ISBN: 9780765376459

Synopsis:
"Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped."(Source: Goodreads)

 Have you read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC?

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

10 Most Disappointing Hyped Books I Read in 2016 feat. Red Queen, Soundless, Cinder & more





Sometimes hyped books end up disappointing unfortunately. Here are the ten biggest disappointments of 2016 for me. 




THESE BROKEN STARS - Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Another one that makes me want to cry. My favorite thing ever in Sci-Fi is people exploring foreign planets. Why is this such an instant love romance, come on, give me space exploration!! (Dec 2013, Disney Hyperion) Goodreads

THE SIN EATER'S DAUGHTER - Melinda Salisbury
So many people told me to read this and the title sounds fantastic and so does the premise of this girl working as an executioner at court with her poisonous touch. But well, the book really isn't about anything. Nothing happens. Aside from a love triangle. (Feb 2015, Scholastic) Goodreads

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC - V.E. Schwab
This is the dangerous thing about hypes. You never know if you can trust them. I genuinely don't understand what I just read ????? (Feb 2015, Tor Books) Goodreads




RIDERS - Veronica Rossi
Boy, am I sad about not liking this. I love apocalyptic books and a book about the four horsemen of the apocalypse pretty much sounds like it's made for me. Sadly, I found this super boring. (Feb 2016, Tor Teen) Goodreads

SIX OF CROWS - Leigh Bardugo
This upsets me so much!!!! I love reading about thieves. I really wasn't a fan of the way Bardugo twisted European cultures and mashed them up together for The Aesthetic. (Sep 2015, Henry Holt & Company) Goodreads

CINDER - Melissa Meyer
I honestly looked forward to this so much, I love space, I love Sci-Fi things. But then this: POC for the aesthetic, Asian cultures mashed together completely detached from their meaning. I want to cry. (Jan 2012, Feiwel & Friends) Goodreads



SOUNDLESS - Richelle Mead
I was rooting for this. I keep trying out new books by Mead and end up disliking all of them for some reason. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. But this one really takes the cake. Magically curing your disabled protagonist for plot reasons and belittling blindness. (Nov 2015, Razorbill) Goodreads

TALON - Julie Kagawa
Dragons. That's all it took to get me interested in this. Unfortunately this isn't High Fantasy but a paranormal shifter romance with a love triangle. (Oct 2014, Harlequin Teen) Goodreads

RED QUEEN - Victoria Aveyard
I should've seen this coming because it generally received mixed reviews. But yeah, the reviewers are absolutely 100% right about this. (Feb 2015, HarperTeen) Goodreads


TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE - Jenny Han
So many people recommended this to me and asked me to read it. I had high hopes because there's a biracial protagonist and an Asian girl on the cover and I liked the premise! In the end I found it really dull and couldn't quite get into it, unfortunately. (Apr 2014, Simon & Schuster) Goodreads

Have you read any of these books? Which hyped books disappointed you in 2016?

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