A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Book Review

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Review by: Dancingonrain

I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started reading it.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was more that I was still trying decide what I thought of it.  Normally when I start a book, I can tell if I think I’m going to enjoy it or not, but with this book, I wasn’t sure until a few pages in.

There were parts in the beginning that I enjoyed, but there were also parts where I wasn’t as invested in as the rest of the parts.

But after reading the whole book, I can say that I rather enjoyed this book.  I thought it was a little different than some of the other fantasy books out there.  That being said, the only other books where the protagonists are traveling from world to world that I have read before have only really been Harry Potter.  I have watched a few television shows and movies that travel from world to world, but not as many books so, for me, I enjoyed that this was a little bit different than some of the stuff I’ve read in the past.

And the ending was definitely worth the entire rest of the book.  I think my favorite part of the book was Masquerade and on.  I still enjoyed the earlier parts, but from that point on was my favorite.

There was definitely a dark component to this book, but I thought the author did well with balancing it with a few comical and happy moment here and there.  I loved both the comical/happy and dark parts of this book.

One thing that bugs me is when the female protagonist is hard headed and ignores what a guy says just because he’s a guy and she thinks the only reason he’s telling her not to do something is because she thinks he thinks she’s a girl and therefore cannot and/or should not do something, but when she goes through with ignoring him, she gets in trouble.  That’s not a strong female protagonist; that’s a stupid protagonist.  You see this all the time in tv shows.  The female protagonist says something along the lines of: I can protect myself or I can handle it.  And then in the next scene she’s either getting kidnapped, losing, or dying.  That has always bothered and annoyed me how writers do that.  For once I’d like a character who says: I can take care of myself and have it actually be true.

Although Schwab’s main female protagonist did that many times, it was just who her character was and it was apparent from the start that she was stubborn.  I think it also helped when even though that was her character, in the end, she always came back around and did something to redeem herself.

I also enjoyed reading about a close relationship between two male characters.  So many times you see stories about two men who are close to one another and then the audience automatically wants them to be a couple.  While, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gay couples, I don’t think there’s enough stories out there where there are two men or boys who have a close relationship to one another and it’s completely platonic.  Men can show they care about one another without it being because of some ulterior sexual motive.  I appreciated that aspect of this book too.

Although I wasn’t sure about this book 100% going into it, by then end I was definitely satisfied.  So satisfied that I bought the second book in the series.  I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy where the characters travel between different worlds to try and accomplish something much bigger than themselves.

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