A Darker Shade of Magic Re-read: Part II

A Darker Shade of Magic Reread Header

Welcome to my re-read of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. This is the second part of my weekly re-read posts. If you have read ADSOM, come re-read and discuss it with me. If you never read it, I highly recommend it especially if you like fantasy books, sarcastic protagonists, kick-ass heroine, and fabulous coat. Even though it’s a re-read, I will do my best to avoid spoiling future chapters in the post itself, which is quite easy because most of the time, I didn’t remember what happened. So even though this is the first time you read ADSOM, you could follow along. However, please note that although the post itself is spoiler-free from future chapters, the comments section are spoiler zone, where you can talk about anything including the plot twist and the book conclusion. Without further ado, let’s sail through A Darker Shade of Magic. All aboard!

This week I covered Part II Red Royal, which consists of three sub-parts (I refer to them as Chapters).


In Red Royal, V.E. Schwab introduced us to the Red London, the guards, and the royal family. In the first chapter, Holland, the other antari took time to visit Rhy, the throne heir, and gave him a birthday present from his king and queen. Holland used his magic to send away Rhy’s guard, Gen, and to erase the memory of the other guard, Parrish. When Rhy questioned Holland what’s the gift for, he simply answered, “For strength.”

On Chapter II, Kell was back in his London and took his time trying to blend in with the crowd near the palace river, to enjoy his time before going back to the palace. This proved to be unsuccesful when a kid accidentally recognized him. He hastily went back to the palace.

On Chapter III, Kell joined the royal family, the King Maxim, Queen Emira, and Prince Rhy on their late night tea time. They were discussing Rhy’s birthday celebration that will happen soon and Rhy tried to get Kell to support him. Rhy told Kell about Holland’s visit, which was off schedule. Then, Rhy tried to make Kell confess on what he smuggled into Red London this time, but no dice. After Rhy left him, Kell traveled to his secret room, in a tavern called Is Kir Ayes—The Ruby Fields—where he stored his treasures.

My Rambling

Part II felt somewhat too short for me, but it’s an interesting one for sure. Here, we met the royal family of Red London for the first time. In Part I, we learned that Kell was really fond of the prince, Rhy, and here, I think I begin to understand why. Prince Rhy was said to be spoiled, but also good-natured and kind to his guards. He is funny and he thinks of Kell as his brother, not just as a person who serves the crown. The relationship between Kell and the king and queen, however, seems to be much more complicated. We saw that the queen tried to become a mother for Kell, but he somehow didn’t feel like a member of the family. It seems that there’s trouble in paradise after all. We also saw how Kell tried to make the most of his free time before he was forced to come back to the palace. It’s clear that he was reluctant to go back.

Another interesting thing is that Rhy knew about Kell’s favorite pastime. He asked Kell to stop doing it or he will take actions, but it’s obvious that the two boys care for each other. It’s always nice to find a good bromance or any kind of relationship between siblings in book or film (hence, why I love The Demon’s Lexicon so much …wrong book) so it’s good to see that these two are very close despite Kell not quite felt at home in the palace. He is after all an antari, who was brought to the palace when he was five with a scar on his arm bearing the remnants of his lost memory. We found that all those questions we had in Part I will likely to remain unanswered, at least for now, because Kell himself has no idea who he was before he became the antari.

And that brings us to Holland. The other antari. He brought a gift to Rhy from his masters. It was not clearly mentioned who his masters are, but considering there were only three Londons at that time, I suspect Holland’s masters are the rulers of White London. Holland delivered a gift to Rhy after he managed to convince him that the gift was obtained from Red London (he didn’t smuggle it unlike … you know). I found his visit to be highly suspicious. Let’s see. Not only he’s off schedule by almost a week, he came in silence and used his magic to send away Rhy’s guard and made the other one forgot his visit. I could be wrong, but people without ulterior motive usually doesn’t try to sneak in AND hypnotize PLUS erasing another person’s memory. Holland also brought Rhy a gift, for strength. Why on earth would Rhy need a gift to become strong? From the text, Rhy is supposedly strong enough physically, so I’m guessing he was talking about magical strength. Rhy told Kell about Holland’s visit, but it was not mentioned that Rhy told Kell about the gift. What do you guys think? Did he tell him or not?

Part II ended with Kell leaving the palace to go to his secret hiding place, a small room in a tavern named The Ruby Fields. Here, he contemplated his origin, just like we did in the first chapter. We found out that his name, Kell, came from the initials bore in the knife. K.L. became Kay-ell, then Kal-El (sorry, I cannot resist), then Kell. The chapter ended with Kell turning the crank of his new music box and drifted off to sleep.

Which is fine. Because it’s time we visit the second protagonist, the badass, Lila Bard.

Favorite Scenes

  • The awkward tea time with the royal family.
    It’s just so fun to see Rhy trying to get his wish and to see Kell interacts with them.
  • My second favorite scene is quite a heavy one. It was the flashback scene with Rhy ended up punching Kell after Kell said that he felt more like a possession than a prince.
    You can feel how much Rhy cares about Kell (that he showed by punching him… it was an expresion of love, of course)

Favorite Quote

“It’s called a birthday. Not a birthdays and certainly not a birthweek.”

That’s it for this week.
Next week, I’ll continue with the third part, Grey Thief. Until next time!


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

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