left one is unofficial

Pre-Raphaelite ask game (Part I)
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti: Are you a very passionate person? Does emotion or rationality rule you?
  • John Everett Millais: Do you mind what others think of you?
  • William Holman Hunt: Are you a proud person?
  • James Collinson: Are you religious? If so, how important is religion to you?
  • Frederic George Stephens: Would you rather express yourself through painting or the written word?
  • William Michael Rossetti: Are you a very organized person?
  • Thomas Woolner: Would you consider moving to a foreign country or do you like to live close to home?
  • Charles Allston Collins: Are you a determined person or are you prone to abandon things when hope/inspiration seems to be lacking?
  • Alexander Munro: Are you good at keeping secrets?
  • Walter Howell Deverell: Purely for aesthetic reasons, are there any modern-day celebrities or public personalities that you would consider your muse? Who might they be?
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
  • John Brett: The forest or the sea-side?
  • William Bell Scott: Would you ever consider a polyamorous relationship?
  • William Morris: Do you generally draw inspiration from life or from literature?
  • Simeon Solomon: Biblical stories or Arthurian legends?
  • Alice Boyd: If you could be the Lord or Lady of any estate, what would it look like?
2

Book: A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: VE Schwab

Rating: 4*

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.

I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and catch up on my backlog of reviews that have been piling up. I heard a lot about this book over on Tumblr and when I went to YALC last year I heard VE Schwab talking about it during a panel on literary Londons along with Ben Aaronovitch. Both books intrigued me and I had actually brought ADSOM with me and got it signed. I ended up loaning this book and the sequel (I don’t have the third one yet) to my daddy who read it before I did. His two cents was that he liked it but not enough people died.

And with that, let’s get to my review!

Now that I’ve read it I can see why it has become such a favourite in the book-world of Tumblr. There are some amazing pieces of fan-art out there and I can see why when the world is so intricate and the characters so compelling. It is a fairly standard magical object tale reminiscent of LOTR (although what fantasy isn’t?) but I liked the innovation of the four Londons and the colour scheme. I liked the villains in this book a lot as well.

VE Schwab knows exactly how to write a fantastic and terrifying villain. 

The character of Holland and his dynamic with Kell was also pretty impressive to me. I’m totally intrigued by Black London and I hope we get to see more of it in the sequel!

A breakdown would be:
Characters- 5*
Setting- 5*
Writing- 4*
Pace- 4*


All in all, I really liked this book! It wasn’t quiiiite a 5 star fantasy for me but it was a really good read. I’ll be reading A Gathering of Shadows soon I hope!
2

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic • Series: Shades of Magic (#1)
Author: V. E. Schwab • Number of Pages: 398 • Rating: 5 / 5
Published: February 24, 2015 • Read: June 20, 2017 - July 22, 2017

Goodreads Synopsis: 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.

My Review: Oh my gosh, where do I even start? Let me just say that I have read many books in my lifetime so far, and there are very few that I have loved as much as this one. I’m talking like Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Septimus Heap level. Thank goodness this is a series with three books already out and a whole new spinoff to come because I couldn’t bear to part with the four Londons for good after just one book!! This book seriously has it all. It has magical worlds based in a real place, but written and built in such a way that it becomes a whole new world. Then again, to me London is a whole new world, but that’s besides the point. Each London is unique, with its own qualities, its own government, and its own problems. I was never bored while learning about each London; in fact, as I read, I became more and more interested in the workings of each one and how they are all connected by Kell and Holland. Which leads me to the next wonderful aspect of this book: the characters. I’m kind of a sucker for the books that have kind of a “chosen one” aspect to them (which is why it fits right in with the other book series I listed above), and this one is no exception. I fell in love with Kell and his peculiar coat right away, and it didn’t take long for me to love Rhy and Lila just as much. I loved Kell and Lila’s friendship and their dangerous adventure together. They complement each other so well: Kell is quiet and sweet while Lila is badass and fearless. I always love books with powerful female characters, and Lila definitely takes the prize on that one. I also really loved Rhy’s bromance with Kell. The story moved at a perfect pace, never becoming boring or skimming over something too quickly, and it was written so well. Overall, I am absolutely in love with this book and this series, and I would really appreciate it if V. E. Schwab could teach me how to write.

A Darker Shade of Magic on Goodreads
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