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
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.
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*
“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)
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.