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

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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!

Anúncios

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs

3,25 ofstars

Read from 8 August to 24 August

 

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This is the first book of the trilogy Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, being fantasy>paranormal and Young Adult.

 

Strange happenings lead to a family tragedy that has a strong impact on Jacob, the lead character, and make him leave on a trip with his father to a remote island in Wales to discover more about his grandfather’s past. There starts a new and dangerous adventure to discover more about himself and his grandfather’s mysterious life, mainly during his adolescence.

The story is set mainly on a island in Wales, where the weather is not nice to its inhabitants (and even less to the visitors), but it definetly helps to create na atmosphere of mystery and gives a little creepy touch to the events.

 

I have to admit that when I started the book I found it a little creepy and for a moment I questioned if the story would only follow that like, but in truth it wasn’t all like that. There is always a sense of dangerous mystery that accompanies the happenings, but it’s nothing that terrifying or something like that (unless you’re sensitive to it, because there are always a touch of it here and there). There is a moment that has a small touch of psycological thriller that I also liked a lot, aswell, definitely, as the dangerous mystery atmosphere that there is from the beginning to the end. (I have to say that there is a small touch of a somewhat diferent than the usual kind of time travel too, which scored more points with me because… time travel, am I right?)

 

However, I don’t want to say much about the plot because I think the story is much more interesting if you go without knowing much, exactly because of the mystery and danger atmosphere.

 

About the characters… I really liked the strong connection between Jacob and his grandfather and, although the relationship with his parents isn’t as strong as that one, I think that the importance he gave to a decision that would afect them both was really important, there was a lot of indecision about the consequences of his actions and i liked it. Through the book are several old pictures which help to tell the narrative, with fantastic stories that go about them and add one more fantastical touch to the story and there also is a big variety of (peculiar) characters, which were the aspects that I liked the most!

 

However, I confess that, although the characters and the story were very interesting, I was not able to be 100% invested in the book… Sometimes I became uninterested about what was going on with the characters, but then there was one plot point or another that got my attention again. There was also a (love) relationship that because of reasons I found a bit weird, altough I could understand the perspectives of both characters on the matter, but i found it funny how this perspetive of mine was also referred.

 

To me, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a good peculiar story because of the fantastical and dangerous mystery elements. So, I recommend it to whoever wants to read a book with these elements! Being the first book in a trilogy, I am curious enough to read the next ones!

 

Review: The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson

5 out ofstars

Read from 26 June to 7 July

The Final Empire

 

 

The Final Empire is the first book in the fantasy trilogy Misborn. In the Final Empire people are basically divided in two categories: the skaa – the submissive, hopeless and opressed slaves; and the aristocracy – they control the skaa, think of themselves like superior and don’t really consider skaa people. In this universe the magic system is called Allomancy and some people can ingest some metals and when they “burn” them inside have habilities that depend of the kind of metal. I still don’t know many magic systems, but this was the thing that made me want to read this trilogy (I knew about it from Regan from PeruseProject), as well as other reviews from other booktubers. I never before had heard of something even remotly like this and it had my attention right away, i coudn’t let go of something so peculiar!

 

The characters are all so incredibly build, the good ones and the bad ones, main and secondary, i found them to be real and relatable! They grabbed me from the begining, i was always curious and worried/excited about what was happening to them and about their past. And ahhhh, if there was breathtaking moments and moments to shed a tear…! It has also funny moments and good humor. The story revolves around a thieving crew, lead by the charismatic Kelsier who wants tho change the reality they live in. We also have a strong female character that we like from the very first start and there are few things that are so satisfying as follow the development and growing of characters and this was, undoubtedly, Vin’s case. However, she was not the only one!

 

I loved the peculiar setting of the Final Empire, with it’s crimson sun and the almost constant ash falling from the sky which mades everything dark and don’t let the plants have their “natural” colors (green, with vivid and full of life colors, as we know it) and rather be brownish and almost lifeless. This version of the world it’s the one that’s “normal” to their inhabitants who never saw things differently.

 

About negative points… I don’t have anything to say, I honestly found all moments to be relevant because they added somthing important to the narrative.

 

It was, without doubt, the characters, the writing and the PLOT that made it very difficult to me to put this book down.

 

Other comments/Reflections

 

The setting was really one of the things that made me think… Have you tried to imagine? The scenary which is described made everything easily more opressing and I think this english edition cover shows it very well. Living in the countryside, I tried to imagine how would it be if the vibrant green that covers everything was replaced by a lifeless brown and, honestly, it hurt inside. It made me realized how much I appreciate the green and gorgeous landscapes and the price we pay everyday for desflorestation, urbanization and fires.

 

Thanks to this book/trilogy (because i bought the boxed set) I’m now a fan of the english editions with it’s small and light paperbacks!

In portuguese, the Misborn trilogy is edited by Saída de Emergência.

 

The Final Empire (and the whole Mistborn trilogy, i’m sure) is highly recommended for people who like fantasy, a diferent magic system, a strong female character, thieves and revolutions!

 

Review: Dune, Frank Herbert

3,5 out ofstars

Read from 2 June to 23 June

 

Note: The Dune book i read was divided into two volumes, but this review is not about the first or the second volume, but the book as a whole.

 

Duna

 

In this sci-fi classic, we quickly see ourselves in an unknown and desertic world: Arrakis, also known as Dune. There, the water is scarce and the heat is overwhelming. The mysterious spice which holds big economic importance (and dependency) to the Empire, comes from there.

 

From the beggining we get to know a lot of complex characters with rich and diferent backgrounds: from Bene Gesserit witches to the human thinking machines known as mentats, Dukes, Barons, and many others; but this story revolves around Paul, Duke Leto Atreides and Bene Gesserit Jessica’s son. We fall right into the political intrigue about the dominance of Arrakis and its spice.

 

I liked the unique setting of Arrakis with its hard weather (although I found it a bit difficult to imagine the landscaping and what was going on there) as well as the unique characters. I felt really curious about most of them, I wanted to know how they got there and what they intended to do. I confess it took me quite some time to get into the story and a bit more to relate with the characters (i didnt always understand Paul nor his mother, Jessica). The last 150 pages of the second part where, without doubt, the ones that grab my attention and within two days I finished the book.

 

Other comments/Reflections

 

Arrakis made me think about our use of water in the daily life, because we all know we end up always wasting more water than we should and we must be more careful about it and use it with caution. In a desertic planet where which drop of sweat can’t be wasted in vain, it’s easy to see how the water becomes the wealth which holds such importance in the lives of the inhabitants. I loved how this matter became an important part of the story, it turned out to be much more than just a moral concern and a question of survival: it was the story’s story, it grew deep down on the costumes, changed mentalities and became a mean to an end. The fremen’s brutality is understandable, “normal” even. The religion has also an important role on Dune: it was faith that kept them doing something that was bigger than them and when religion is cultivated with care… Well, its implications reach a bigger scale.

 

Most people recomends this book as a stand alone but… to be honest, it doesn’t work for me, I think it’s clearly missing something, however I don’t know if I’m going to read them all or even the next one. I’m sad I didn’t enjoy it as much as I though I would, maybe I was expecting something different, but it really is recommended! It has an intriguing plot and a different setting, it is of a spetacular geniality!