Book Review ~ A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of MagicADSOM
Author: V.E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor – Tom Doherty Associates)
Published: 24 February 2015

Goodreads Summary

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

“It belongs in Black London,” he said. “I have to take it back.” – A Darker Shade of Magic

If you ask my friends and family what my favorite place in the world is the answer would most likely be London. This book lets me traverse through three very different versions of my favorite place. I loved every second of this crazy ride.

In A Darker Shade of Magic, Bell finds himself in trouble when an artifact of Black London falls into his hands. The artifacts presence proceeds to wreak havoc for Kell. The story follows Kell, as he races to save his city, Red London, while bearing the weight of his foolishness. Along the ride is Grey Londoner, Delilah Bard, whose thieving ways proceed to give her the perfect escape from the life she wants to leave behind.

I truly fell in love with this story. I would have thought it capable of being a stand-alone novel if I hadn’t already known it was a trilogy. The story held its own. I love to read books with elemental magic, and this book is steeping in it like a well brewed cup of tea. The magic in this story was perfectly executed for me. I appreciated its intricacies, but at the same time appreciated how simple it was to understand and follow.

Another plus for me were the settings and imagery. The settings brought you deeper into the story because you spend a decent amount of time running around each London with our protagonists. V.E. Schwab’s beautiful depictions bring you seamlessly through one London and into the next, whilst showing the beauty and terror of each city. The world building was truly incredible and I can’t wait to dive right back into this series with book two, A Gathering of Shadows, and book three, A Conjuring of Light.

I’m so glad I finally picked this book up off my shelf. My suggestion is that if you love magical and dangerous adventures that you give this book a read. I don’t think you will be disappointed! 

Thanks for reading this review and my blog! I’ll write to you all again soon!  


Kimberly – Whimsical Narratives



Book Review ~ The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)26032825
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 2 January 2018

Goodreads Summary

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

My Review

“You have only seen the least of what I can do” – The Cruel Prince

      I would not be the first to mention that author, Holly Black is the queen of Faerie! Her stories about the faerie dive deep and are so intricately woven that you will never want to put them down. Her novel, The Darkest Part of the Forest was quite literally glued to my hands for the 6 or 7 hours it took me to read it. Her new novel, The Cruel Prince, the first book in The Folk of the Air trilogy, was no different. The Cruel Prince takes you on a rollercoaster of deception. Twist and turns fuel this story and you never know what is going to happen next.

      The main character, Jude, a total girl, wants to be accepted by the Faerie world. A world in which she has grown up, but has never truly belonged. Jude shows great strength and courage throughout the novel.  The decisions she makes have consequences. Whether right or wrong she will do what she needs to in order to accomplish the tasks before her. These moments of precise decision and occasional impulse seamlessly move the plot along its twisting path.

      The book also provides us with a stunning case of character, where even the smallest role is given a name and a purpose. The light air of romance that fills the pages is subtle it adds mystery to the story. Most of all, I loved the descriptions of the faerie realm. Holly Black adds color, glamour, and intrigue in her beautiful depictions of buildings, clothing, and people who you encounter throughout the novel, that you see them so vividly in you mind’s eye. I love that I can truly envision what I am reading.

      I highly suggest picking up this book on your next trip to the bookstore! It’s a wonderful start to what I’m sure will be a deliciously dark and beautiful trilogy!

Coming Soon:
The Wicked King – The Folk of the Air #2 (expected publication 2019)
The Queen of Nothing – The Folk in the Air #3 (expected publication 2020)


      Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my review of The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black. Our first review of 2018 is in the books!


Kimberly – WhimsicalNarratives


P.S. I had the joy of attending Holly Black’s book signing when she stopped in Atlanta on Wednesday!  It was fantastic and it was such fun listening to her talk about faerie. If she has a tour stop near you, I highly suggest going.