A Darker Shade of Magic Re-read: Part IV

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 4th 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 IV White Throne, which consists of five sub-parts (I refer to them as Chapters).

SPOILER WARNING FOR PART I – III

Summary

Part IV began with laughs and jests as Kell trying to coax Rhy to learn magic. The crown prince, knowing that he nearly has no affinity to magic at all, was training half-heartedly to satisfy his brother’s demand. Rhy was too busy planning his birthday party and how to get people into his bed. When Kell asked him what was Holland doing the other day (AHA, so Rhy didn’t tell him), Rhy lied to him and said that Holland was delivering mail. When Rhy was fed up with studying, he asked Kell to accompany him to go out. Kell agreed after Rhy accidentally letting a magical fire out of the protective circle and he had to dispel it with his blood. However, the pair was interrupted when the King came with a letter for Kell to deliver. Kell, feeling grumpy that he’s going to miss a night out with his bro, took the letter anyway and off he went to the intended recipient, the ruler of White London, but not before Rhy asked him to promise that he’ll come back empty-handed.

In Chapter II, we finally got our first glimpse of White London. It was described as cold, pale, and covered with ash, a city tore down by violence and power. Athos and Astrid Dane, the Dane twins, were the current rulers of White London. The twins lived in a fortress surrounded by stone courtyard that was made up by statues, these statues rumored to be people that crossed the twins. Their guards were mindless human puppets, controlled by Athos through a mark scorched in their body. Holland greeted Kell (well, greet is too strong or a word, actually) and ask him to choose between the twins. Kell picked Astrid and Holland brought him to the throne room to meet the Queen.

In Chapter III, Athos was torturing a boy that refused to bow. Ugh. Holland informed him that Kell has arrived and together they went to meet Kell and Athos’ twin.

In Chapter IV, Athos invited Kell to stay for a drink. He then ask Holland to cut himself and pour his blood into a goblet. Ugh. Kell refused to drink Holland’s blood, so Athos poured him a gold liquid while he and Astrid drank the antari’s blood.

Kell, drunkenly stumbled away from the fortress, decided to wander the city for a while in Chapter V. He walked to the entrance of Scorched Bone, the tavern in White London, before deciding to go home instead and kept his promise to Rhy. It was, however, a little too late, as a woman begged him to deliver a letter to Olivar in Red London and gave him a small parcel for payment. When Kell looked up, the woman was gone, so he made his way back to home. Uh oh.

My Rambling

Phew, that was a long part. There are a couple of interesting things (mostly about characters) I’d like to talk about. First was Holland. He remains very mysterious to me, but in this part, we learned a thing or two about him from Kell. Apparently, Holland—as the only antari in the White London—used to be ally of the former ruler, but when the Dane twins took control, Athos bound him and took control of his body, but not his mind, which is even crueler than using him as a mindless puppet. Holland was bound by Athos using the silver clasp he always wear on his shoulder. I was starting to dislike Holland, but now I can no longer dislike him knowing that he’s a victim of the Danes. No wonder Kell is wary of the twins. If they could bind the older, more experienced antari, what’s stopping them from taking the flower boy? Well, for now at least, it seems that they don’t want to insult their neighboring crown by taking Kell, but who knows?

That led us to my rambling about Astrid and Athos. I absolutely despise Athos. I don’t like Astrid, but it’s more about how she seems to be dangerous and she wants Kell for herself (as a pet obviously), while Athos is simply disgusting. He enslaved people to become his guards, bound and tortured Holland, and enjoyed causing people pain. Of course, Astrid shouldn’t be that different. I mean, after all, she drank Holland’s blood and walk on marble made of her enemies to tea. If anything, I am more scared of Astrid than Athos.

And last, to go on a higher note, let’s talk about Prince Rhy. Rhy seems to be all charmed and nice exterior, but I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t have any hidden depth. I think that he’s been keeping a secret, and it’s not just as simple as telling or not telling Kell about the gift Holland delivered. Everything about Rhy screams adorable and charming, but sorry I do not believe that he is that shallow. You want me to believe that all Rhy care about is getting people into his bed and/or finding a suitable mate? Nope. Just because he played it nice, doesn’t mean he was all that nice. Just you wait. Just you wait. *oh wait sorry this is not Hamilton sing-along*

Favorite Quote

“I do not like things that don’t belong to me. I do not trust them.” – Astrid Dane

(I don’t necessarily agree with this quote, but there’s something perverse about her that makes this quote perfect)

Favorite Scene

You know I’m going to pick Kell and Rhy from Chapter I, don’t you. How could I not? #bromance


That’s it for Part IV. Next week, I’ll come back with Part V Black Stone. Should be an interesting one.

INDEX

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV


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A Darker Shade of Magic Re-read: Part III

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 third 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 III Grey Thief, which consists of three sub-parts (I refer to them as Chapters).

Summary:

Meet Lila Bard, thief extraordinaire, pirate wannabe, and certified badass.

We first saw her in London, Grey London to be clear, fresh from pickpocketing a man for a silver pocket watch. Lila is a thrill-seeker, something that gets to Barron (the owner of The Stone’s Throne) everytime. We also learned that Lila is a wanted fugitive for stealing from rich people in London. Then, she made her way back to her ship—well, not a ship that she owned but a ship she renting in—The Sea King and was preparing to rest when the ship owner, Powell, stumbled into her room drunk and asked for his share. When refused, Powell tried to rape her and Lila stabbed him in the chest. She proceeded to burn the ship (and the corpse within) and escaped carrying her weapons and her favorite knife. Lila went to The Stone’s Throw despite having a heated argument with Barron, the owner, a year before after she stole from his customer. Barron gave her a room and welcomed her back.

My Rambling

Hello, I really don’t know what to say besides gushing on how amazing Lila Bard is. She is a 19-years old thief with an unknown past, but unlike Kell who doesn’t even know who he is, Lila seems to be the kind of person who knew herself VERY well (she’s just not telling us… yet). I like how Schwab make her protagonists the opposite of each other in this case. Kell is older but doesn’t know who he is or what he’s going to do (besides collecting trinket). Lila is younger, but she knew exactly what she wants and she’s not afraid to do everything to get it. The similarity between these two are they both felt that they didn’t belong and that they dream of freedom.

Right, enough about Kell. Back to Lila Bard.

She seeks danger or, in her words, danger seeks us so it’s better to find it first. This girl is very much alive. I don’t necessarily agree that thieving makes you feel alive (books and coffee make me appreciate life more I think), but Lila obviously feel alive the closer she is to danger. She also wanted to be a pirate, mostly because she wanted to be free and could travel wherever she wanted to go (EVERYWHERE). I like this girl because she doesn’t let the world shatter her dream. It’s not to say that she’s perfect because she clearly have issue with her methods of getting her dream, but she’s a stubborn enough to suffer and survive.

I also like her relationship with Barron. We were told that she and Barron had a huge argument that led her to tell him to shove his tavern and its rooms up his — yeah. But he clearly care for her that he let her just move back in. Lila herself, however, doesn’t need Barron’s approval to do what she wants. She is a free soul, but in a way she is not at all free because her circumstances barred her from what she really wants to do. It’ll be fun to see how Lila and Kell interacts when (if) they meet.

Favorite Quote

“Why do you want to die?”
“I don’t,” she’d say. “I just want to live.”

Favorite Scene

Got to be when Lila went back to The Stone’s Throw and asked Barron for a room. These two have great relationship.


That’s all for today. Part III is a short one, but next week I’ll be back with Part IV White Throne which is quite a long part. See ya.


INDEX

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV


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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).

Summary:

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!


INDEX

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV


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A Darker Shade of Magic Re-read: Part I

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 first 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 I The Traveler, which consists of three sub-parts (I refer to them as Chapters).

By the way, if you’re still on the fence whether you should buy A Darker Shade of Magic or not (well, you should), you can read the first two chapters for free here. Please do note that Part I has three chapters, instead of two.

Summary

The first part of ADSOM introduced us to Kell, a blood magician, or antari. As an antari, he is one of two people who can travel between worlds, the magic wealthy Red London, the magic hungry White London, and our Grey London. I imagined them as parallel universes. In the past, there was a fourth London, named Black London. Something terrible happened to Black London and now it’s no more than a fairy tale to scare your children. Kell himself is from Red London and acts as a messenger for the royal family in Red London.

In the first part, Kell paid a visit to our world, …well our world in 1819. First, he went to pay his courtesy to the current King of England, George III, then he went to see the Prince Regent, who will be known as George IV, and lastly he went to a tavern called The Stone Throw. In this tavern, we found out that besides being a messenger, Kell also has a more dangerous hobby, he smuggles things between worlds. He barters items to get tokens from the other worlds. At the end of Part I, he used his blood and a token to get home to his Red London.

My Rambling

I cannot remember when was the last time I fell in love with a book or a character this fast. It was basically love at the first sight. And now I’m falling in love all over again.

The book is written from third person POV. Schwab certainly knows how to pique people’s interest. She doesn’t do boring introduction, but jumps straight to magic (and coat!) She also did a very good job on introducing us to one of the main characters, Kell. Indeed, there are some scenes that are truly enjoyable such as when he made up the content of the letter supposedly written by his queen and flattered himself in the process. The knife, though, was a curious thing especially since it bore two letters, K L. What is K L? Is it his initial? What does the L stand for? AHH, so many questions already.

What really interests me about Chapter I was how Schwab smoothly blended fantasy with real history in the form of King George III. I’ve only known King George III for two things: a) he went mad (and blind apparently) b) he lost America. (Please don’t kill me. I’m neither British nor American and my main references were the musical Hamilton and Wikipedia).

I appreciate ADSOM for portraying him from another angle, as a king imprisoned in his own castle. In A Darker Shade of Magic, the king has gone mad and was in his final years (it was 1819 and he died-according to wikipedia-in January 1820). In the book, George III was described as magic-thirsty, but not in a murderous way. At the end of Chapter I, Kell left Windsor palace to meet the Prince Regent.

In Chapter II, Kell went to St. James to deliver a correspondence from his queen to the Prince Regent, whom I immediately dislike. Here, Schwab took her time to teach us history (if it’s history in a fantasy world, would it still be called history?) about Black London. We also get to understand a little more about Kell. Apparently, he has one blue eye and one black eye, which he usually cover with his hair. (and I was like, “THE HAIR SERVES A PURPOSE BESIDES MAKING PEOPLE SWOON”) The Prince Regent initially asked him to stay for dinner date, but finally let him and his black eye go after being subtly threatened by Kell.

So, this Kell, he likes to collect tokens from the worlds he visits. That’s basically like us buying souvenirs to take home during our trip, just slightly more dangerous because he basically commits treason by doing that.
Kell, darling, you could face prison! (I suppose he could just use his magic to get out from our jail, but hey)

In Chapter III, he barters a child’s game from his world with a music box with a Collector. (Okay, so he’s also a bit sentimental. And smells like flowers. Have I mentioned he smells like flowers?) He also met a guy named Ned that he identified as an Enthusiast. So, what did Kell do? Why, flexed his magic of course. The Enthusiast left empty-handed at the end of their conversation. However, why do I have a feeling that his encounter with the Enthusiast is going to bring trouble for him? Also, he is a blood magician, and apparently there are only two of them left. What happened to the antari? Who are Kell’s parents? Who is Kell and how did he inherit such a powerful magic? Why does he smell like flowers? Who is Rhy? What actually happened to Black London?

No matter. He’s off to Red London now, where hopefully we’ll get some answers.

Favorite Scene

He occupied himself by drumming his fingers on the edge of the gilded table. Each time he made it from pinky to forefinger, one of the room’s many candles went out. “Must be a draft,” he said absently

Favorite Quotes

“Check the park.”

“Prince Rhy, on the other hand, continues to impress and infuriate in equal measure, but has at least gone the month without breaking his neck or taking an unsuitable bride. Thanks be to Kell alone for keeping him from doing either, or both.”


That’s it for this week.
Next week, I’ll continue with the second part, Red Royal. Until next time!


INDEX

Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV


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News round-up

book news round-up
Hello people! I hope you’re all well.
This week, I found out about some book news/updates that I’m excited about and I just have to post them here! I also got some news regarding my blog so stay tuned for that too.

Book News & Updates

First of all, The Stormlight Archive update. It’s not exactly news, but an excerpt has appeared in the wild. During his Shadows of Self tour, Brandon Sanderson has graciously read a part of an ongoing Dalinar chapter in Book #3 of The Stormlight Archive. It offered us a view of younger, more bolsterous Dalinar, hungered for the Thrill, and very very good at battle. Read it or hear Brandon read it to you here. Anyhow, Book #3-currently titled “Oathbringer”-should be released some time in 2016 even though I need to read it now.

Another thing I’ve learned about this week was “A Gathering of Shadows” Fanart Contest. You can send in fanart in form of painting, drawing, sculpture, or even cosplaying. What’s the prize you ask? Why, it’s only a SIGNED ARC of A Gathering of Shadows, among other wonderful things. Unfortunately for me, it’s only open to US and Canada residents (not like I’m going to win anyway). Learn more about the contest here. A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab will be out on February 23, 2016.

Speaking of wonderful things, the lovely Cassie Clare has announced that the first book in The Dark Artifices, Lady Midnight, will have special first edition. These first edition books will have stamped rune on the first page and an exclusive short story about the characters from TMI and TFTSA. Lady Midnight’s release date is currently set for March 8, 2016.


Blog Updates

Because of I am so excited for A Gathering of Shadows, I have decided to re-read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. It is one of my favorite books in 2015 and since I never gave it proper review, I will instead do a weekly re-read post on my blog. I am thinking to do it by part and there are 14 parts in ADSOM which means I will have finished it on the first week of February (just in time for the second book!). I am going to post a short summary and a short (or long) commentary rambling about each part starting next week.

You are very welcome if you want to join me reading A Darker Shade of Magic. I promise not to post spoiler for future chapters so you can join in even if it’s your first time reading the book.

I will be posting my pick for November releases and TBR tomorrow. See you!

A Gathering of Shadows: read the first two chapters

No idea how I missed this when it was announced, but the first two chapters of A Gathering of Shadows is now up on tor.com. The first two chapters were told from Lila’s perspective. I adore her so this excerpt is a major treat for me.

If you never heard of A Gathering of Shadows, it’s the second book in A Darker Shade of Magic series, by V.E. Schwab who also goes by the name Victoria Schwab for her young adults and children book.

Let me tell you a bit about ADSOM since I never actually reviewed it here.

A Darker Shade of Magic is a high fantasy book set in Londons. Yes, you read it correctly, there are more than 1 London in this book. There’s the prosperous Red London where magic is plentiful and brought to (mostly) good use, the White London where magic controls people that led to fights for magic, our very own Grey London where magic is no more, and the long-lost Black London where magic was once so powerful it destroyed the people and the city.

Our hero, Kell, is from Red London, and our heroine, Lila, came from Grey London. Kell is a Traveler, one of the few remaining people who can travel between these parallel worlds using blood magic. Lila, on the other hand, is a bold thief always looking for trouble. Long story short, Kell smuggles things and once, he smuggled something dangerous that made him a wanted person and set him on an adventure to fix his mistake while escaping for his life. He met Lila, although met is not the proper word, ‘robbed by’ is more appropriate. He saved her life, she saved his, then they embark on a dangerous journey to bring the item back where it belongs.

Okay, that is a long summary, I apologize.

I think Victoria could sum it up better than me.

A short list of things in ADSOM:

–Magic
–Cross-dressing thieves
–(Aspiring) pirates
–Londons (plural)
–Sadistic kings (and queens)
–A royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness
–More magic (blood magic, elemental magic, bad magic, etc. etc.)
–Epic magicky fights scenes
–Angst!
–And coats with more than two sides.

via Victoria Schwab blog

So, yes, you should read it, and then you can sit here with me impatiently waiting for the second book.