Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1), V. E. Schwab

DSCN3476 - Cópia

Name: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

Author: V. E. Schwab

Format: ebook

ISBN: 1466851376

ISBN13: 9781466851375

Genre: Fantasy > Magic, YA

Sinopse from Goodreads:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London… but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

Little side note: Well well well… Do you ever get that gut feeling when you hear about a book/trilogy/series/author and you just know that you’re going to love it so you better just buy all the books? Well, that first happened to me with the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I had that gut feeling telling me I was going to love it, so I bought the boxed set and I LOVED IT. I have the same feeling with… well, all Victoria Schwab’s books, but I ended up only buying A Darker Shade of Magic on ebook right before A Conjuring of Light came out because it was really cheap. Won’t make that mistake twice! I am now ready to buy ALL HER BOOKS. And with this, lets move on to the review!

Review:

The only thing I knew about this book was that its setting involved 4 different Londons from parallel universes: Black London, White London, Red London and Grey London, and that it also involved magic. Some Londons had more of it than others, some were more ruthless than others and one of them was no more. Parallel worlds? Better: parallel Londons? SIGN ME IN. And I have to tell you, I loved this concept from the begining… Just the idea of it! And I also have to tell you, it was wonderfully accomplished. It was so complex, full of mystery and intriguing. We have these worlds, each of them so unique that it wasn’t hard to keep up about which London our characters were in. I could easily keep reading about the world building. The way of traveling between them was also something I loved, aswell as the different languages spoken in each world and how the magic system worked. Here I am, still aching to know more about it, to keep being submerged in these alternative Londons.

About the characters… I don’t really want to tell much about them, let this adventure guide you to them and find it for yourself, I really think you’ll have a better reading experience this way (*fingers crossed* I truly hope you do). I loved the dinamics between the main ones, how the friendship between Kell and Lila evolved, although I’d like to see more of Kell and Rhy’s (Kell’s adoptive brother) friendship, and I also liked how we were able to see some situations from the point of view of some minor ones (very few, though), because I liked knowing that there were also  important things happening somewhere the main characters were not. How the characters from the different Londons perceived magic and how they thought it should be “handled” was also very interesting. Although I would like to get to know more about the characters, I’m fairly sure the next books will give me that.

I liked how the plot flowed and unfolded, the way we got to the situation that started this dangerous adventure to save the worlds (oh, the smuggling), the problems that the characters found along the way and how their perspectives were challenged by each other. But… I hoped there was a bit more to the ending, because I felt that, did I not know it was a trilogy, I would think it could very possible be a standalone.

I can not finish this without saying how Schwab’s writing is so, SO amazing! There where times when not much was happening but it was very hard for me to stop reading because the writing style was so compelling and I was appreciating the wording and how well it all fitted together. English is not my first language (I’m portuguese), but most times, while I was reading, I felt like it was (even though I didn’t know some words, but that’s what dictionaries are made for!), it played so smoothly and beautifully in my head.

(Rating) 4,25 stars. Why? BECAUSE I NEEDED MORE PAGES 😭 I really loved it, but I also really need a bit more of this world(s) and this story. I 100% recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy (especially magic), parallel universes, very special characters and a magical writing.

I’m really happy this is going to be translated to portuguese so I can push it on all my friends and recommend it to everyone!

Review: The Amber Project (The Variant Saga #1), J. N. Chaney

dscn3334
Ebook version of The Amber Project by J. N. Chaney (and Charlie making an appearence in the background)

 

I was really looking for a post-apocalyptic story that was not about zombies or vampires (really not my kind of post-apocalyptic stuff, I’m always looking for Revolution and The 100 kind of stuff), when I came across this on InstaFreebie and then I did some research and also found it in the author’s website!

The Amber Project is the first book in a saga set in a post-apocalyptic future. Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:

In 2157, a mysterious gas known as Variant spreads across the globe, killing or mutating most organic life. The surviving humans take refuge in an underground city, determined to return home. But after generations of failures and botched attempts, hope is beginning to dwindle. That is, until a young scientist makes a unique discovery—and everything changes. Suddenly, there’s reason to hope again, and it rests within a group of genetically engineered children that are both human and Variant.

Terry is one of these children, modified and trained to endure the harsh conditions of a planet he cannot begin to understand. After years of preparation, Terry thinks he knows what to expect. But the reality is far stranger than anything he can imagine—and what he will become is far more dangerous.

 

So… now on to my  opinion.

I have a lot of  thoughts on this, specially about the first part because I had some problems with it. To begin with, we are given dates in the begining of chapters and sometimes there were fashbacks and sometimes they were the dates of the present time. I got really confused several times and had to go back and forth to know if it was a scene from the past, or if had past some days, months or years. So, as we follow Terry, sometimes I didn’t think his reactions were the ones of a kid his age, it seemed like he was older (although there’s the whole genetically engineered thing, so they’re not 100% “normal” kids and not treated as such), but I wasn’t ever certain of his age (or the other kid’s).

I really did not like a male character, a professor, that is introduced to us a few pages after the begining. He’s just awful to the kids. On one hand I kind of get why he was like that, but it doesn’t change my overall opinion, being like that is several types of wrong.

The politcs play a great deal in the first part of the book and I understand that was necessary to set up the context and all of that. It wasn’t totally boring, but didn’t get me very invested either.

There were also a little diversity represented, but I had a hard time noticing it, although I’ll admit english is not my first language and some descriptions are hard do grasp, so it could just be my fault I didn’t pick it up sooner. (I’m working on this!)

But the second part (literally after 50%) I really enjoyed! I won’t get into detail, but my problem with the dates and even the professor were almost totally gone. It was what I was looking for since I began reading it! I also really liked the setting, it was totally what I wanted for a world that had to endure such a change, and also how the plot went after they got to the surface.

I reallyyyy liked how Terry reflected on the things that were going on and made ponderate choices, as well as the relationship with his friends. For a moment I thought that it was heading to a miscommunication type of plot (and that really annoys me), but it didn’t! For me there were not made stupid decisions just so they would run to danger or to have some “””plot twist””” and I realy liked that. I was like “yes, that makes sense”. There were just two things I found predictable, but it didn’t bother me a lot, just a little bit, so I’ll leave it be and blame it on the naivety of their age and lacking experience of… Life, I guess (although they have quite a training and conditioning… Mixed feelings).

So, I really liked it, especially the second part, but I can’t ignore the first one. I think J. N. Chaney did a really good job in this sci-fi post-apocalyptic book and it gave me the vibes of Fragment by Warren Fahy (this was the book that got me into sci-fi, but that’s a story for another day).

It took me forever to write this review because I couldn’t decide about the rating. So… I’m gonna go with what was a 3,5 star reading, but I’ll now round it up and give it 4 stars! As I said before, I got the ebook from free, but I was when I noticed that the ebooks are only available on Kindle because I have a Kobo… I would really like to continue with The Variant Saga, I’m just not sure on how or when, but I really recomend it!

 

Have you read The Amber Project, another book in the trilogy or have you read them all? I would love to hear about it, so leave a comment below! 😄