5 stars · Fantasy · series

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is all I want in fantasy

A Darker Shade final for Irene

a darker shade of magic

shades of magic #1

author : v.e. schwab

pages : [hardcover] 400

memorable quote :

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

favorite character : holland

summary :

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

review :

This book is truly a rollercoaster and, wow, I can’t believe I waited so long to read it.

There are some books I know I’ve been hyped too much about and can’t enjoy. Then there are some that live up to the hype, exceed it–maybe deserve more of it. A Darker Shade of Magic is certainly the latter.

And, yes, I’d heard a lot of good things about this book. But I dove into it without even reading the summary–without knowing much about the plot really. Apart from assuming it had something to do with magic. (Yes. There is plenty of magic in this book. What. A. Shock.) I loved not knowing what I was getting myself into. What the world was, what the plot was going to be, what the characters goals and motivations were. I wanted to find out within the story and it truly delivered.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I already know I need more to devour. The writing is just captivating. I love the way that the world was built. And there was absolutely no info-dumping! I hate that more than almost anything else in fantasy novels. The characters were so nicely fleshed out that you came to feel for even the most minor of them. I wanted more of some who only appeared on a few pages!

That said, some of the main characters were a little predictable in their little heroic roles. I’m excited because the way this book left off leaves more room for interesting and unexpected things to happen. For these characters to really branch out and flex their wills and abilities in this world.

Basically I need book two like yesterday.

This is a book I’ll recommend and reread. It’s a book with characters I love and a world I can immerse myself in and a story that hooks me in. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

5/5 stars

 

fiction · romance · young adult

Ex-Mas by Kate Brian

Ex-Mas

Author: Kate Brian

Pages [paperback]: 288

Available Now

Favorite Character: Beau

Summary:

Two Exes. One holiday adventure.

Merry Ex-Mas?

Seventeen-year-old Lila Beckwith’s parents just left for vacation, and Lila’s all set to throw the holiday party of the season. But when her Christmas-obsessed little brother, Cooper, discovers that global warming is melting the North Pole, he and his best friend, Tyler, take off on a runaway mission to save Santa.

Lila has to get Cooper safely home before her parents get back on Christmas Eve. But the only person who can help her is Tyler’s older brother, Beau — a.k.a. Lila’s musician, anti-everything ex-boyfriend.

It’ll take more than a Christmas miracle for Lila and Beau to overcome their differences and find their fugitive brothers. But could a journey destined for disaster help these polar opposites fall in love…all over again?

Review:

I wanted to like this book, but if the main character is annoying, usually I find the entire book annoying. Lila has changed her entire persona in order to fit in with the popular crowd. That meant abandoning her long time friend and, for a short time, boyfriend, Beau, and creating a new image for herself.

I don’t like fake people. At all. So reading a book about a fake person was hard. Not only that, but the plot was incredibly predictable. There were a few cute moments, but there were also parts that just didn’t make any sense to me.

The story was a quick read. I picked it up for a bit of holiday cheer, and I suppose it was okay enough. The characters were flat and I never really connected to them. Lila was shallow and horrible to her brother [not that most sisters are nice, but telling your little brother Santa was in danger of loosing his home? Horrible.] and I found that I didn’t care whether she found her brother before her parents got back.

I give this 2/5 stars. I wouldn’t pick it up again.

Fantasy · fiction · science fiction · young adult

White Cat by Holly Black

 
“White Cat”

Author: Holly Black

Pages [hardcover]: 310

Available Now!

Where I got it from: Read online with Pulse It, a website where teens can read young adult books online for free.

Opening Lines: I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air. Above me are stars. Below me, the bronze statue of Colonel Wallingford makes me realize I’m seeing the quad from the peak of Smythe Hall, my dorm.

Memorable Quote: “The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.”

Favorite Characters: Cassel & Sam & Barron

Summary:

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
[Summary taken from Goodreads]

Review:

I loved this book! Seriously loved it. Usually I can’t stand reading a novel on the computer, but this one I just couldn’t tear myself away from. Cassel isn’t your average protagonist-he’s got a dark past and openly admits that he murdered his best friend. Not the type of thing that makes readers love a character. But I was loving Cassel by the end of the novel.

The cons Cassel pulled in ‘White Cat’ were so complicated and worked so well they made me laugh, in the best way possible. The fact that he comes from a crime family makes him even more unique, adding mobsters to several scenes.

This book is action packed, with a little romance sprinkled within, plus a very dysfunctional family. It’ll keep any reader on the edge of their seat and leave them begging for more. The ending killed me: Not exactly a cliff-hanger, but I need to find out what happens next! It’s a love/hate relationship when that happens. You know the writing’s good enough to love, but you hate waiting for more.

‘White Cat’ by Holly Black gets 5/5 stars. I can’t wait to read more from her in the future!