A Darker Shade of Magic


Dear hype. I hate you. You ruin things. You pound pretty little books like this into 1000s of pieces, because I was expecting more. And I got this. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t a horrible book. But to me, it wasn’t a fantastic book either. It was just okay.

I’m so disappointed. I wanted to love this, and there were parts that I did! I think the notion behind this whole book was awesome. I mean, 3 London’s in completely different worlds is a pretty unique idea that I’ve never read about before. But other than that, everything else was just so typical. Typical characters, typical plot, typical ending. I swear I’ve read this book before. Like I actually knew these characters as soon as they opened their mouths. Vin… Wait, what was her name again? Pirate girl? Wannabe badass girl who came from the wrong side of the tracks? I have definitely read about her before. So much about these characters reminded me about the Mistborn trilogy characters and I have no idea why. I honestly felt like Vin and Kelsier got transported into a new world and this was a story about them. Ridiculous, I know. I think It’s just me. Maybe it’s the whole Kell and Kelsier thing. I don’t know. Let’s move on.

Let’s talk more about these characters. To me, they were common to any other young adult fantasy novel. You have the strong female lead who was raised rough and ready for a fight, who is snarky and sassy and sometimes, just a plain asshole. And then we have the magical ‘chosen one’ who has a big quest to complete, and we all pretty much know how it’s gonna end right as it starts. Chosen one will struggle and go through turmoil but of course he’s gonna win in the end. Other than that, I have to admit, I kinda liked Kell as a character. I also thought that Holland, one of the main protagonists, was a well thought out, complex character who I would have loved to learn more about as the novel progressed. The other two protagonists, I thought could have been developed much more as characters, as to me they were just described to be ‘plain evil’. There are reasons why everyone loves books like Games of Thrones. It’s because no character is just ‘plain evil’. The characters have dimension, have stories that lead them to be morally grey. This is what this book was missing for me.

The writing was decent and easy to read. But I found that it took me a long time to actually get into this book. The story was a little slow to build for me at the beginning, and I was never completely ‘hooked’. I was sitting on the edge of the cliff ready to jump in, but I never did. Nothing pushed me off. I was sitting there, wanting so badly to feel the air against my skin as I soared, but unfortunately, I stood on that cliff, right up until the end, not once feeling enticed to jump. Also, I can pretty much sum up the plot in a few basic sentences. I could also guess the ending before I had even finished it. Here goes: “Kell gets stuck with bad magic stone from black London. Kell must take said bad magic stone back to black London before it corrupts red London or grey London. This takes him on adventures with Ms Snarky. Nothing ever goes to plan. Captured by evil people. Saved by good people. More sh*t goes down and eventually, it feels like all hope is lost, until it doesn’t anymore. Kell and Ms Snarky beat bad guys and the end.”

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed. I enjoyed some parts of it, it was an easy read, and I think it had so much potential. It just wasn’t special to me. I hope that the series picks up as I think that there are many great areas that could be built upon in future books. Fingers crossed that I’ll enjoy the next one more.