Wednesday, January 20, 2016

4. A Darker Shade of Magic

Friends, Romans, Countrymen! I'm a day late again!

I know, no big surprise...but I think it's a big enough surprise that the posts are so close to when I say I'm going to post them that you should all forgive me for being late. Right? Shouldn't you be reading anyway?

So, yeah, I'm a day late again. Which is because I was a day late finishing the book, and everything got all out of whack. But I did finish it (because I'm determined, dammit!), so it;s time to tell you all about Book 4 of 2016...

A Darker Shade of Magic 
A Darker Shade of Magic
By V.E. Schwab

This post starts with a little personal information, so get ready. A little over four months ago, I purchased my first home (well, condo, but stick with me), which took me to a new town that I love.  This should come as no surprise to my dear, faithful readers...but my first order of business upon moving to my new town was to find a local book club.
My book club is fantastic. We meet monthly, and it's a nice, tight knit group of interesting, thoughtful women. And the best part of the club is that it introduces me to books I might not otherwise gravitate towards.
Which brings us to A Darker Shade of Magic.

I've never been someone who gets easily wrapped up in fantasy novels. I like Lord of the Rings, and the occasional supernatural story (Vampires, anyone?), but there's something about fantasy novels that always loses me. I think it's the "world building", for lack of a better word. When I read realistic fiction, I don't need to spend time figuring out the "rules" of whatever world we're in.

For example, in Darker Shade of Magic, the whole story centers on Kell, who is a "traveler", the last of a dying breed. He is able to use magic to travel between four different Londons, all of which use a different amount of magic. In the course of his travels, Kell comes across a dark stone, an artifact of "Black London", which magic destroyed years ago. He teams up with Lila, a human, to bring the stone back to its home and save the worlds from destruction.

See what I mean?

I wouldn't say that A Darker Shade of Magic cured me of my distaste for fantasy. But being 'forced' to read it (at least if I wanted something to say to my book club) definitely allowed me to get wrapped up in the story. It was a fun, quick read, full of adventure and intrigue. And I didn't find it quite as hard to follow the world as I usually do.

That being said, the story was rather pedestrian. I felt like I'd seen it and read it before in several different incarnations. In fact, the only thing that was unique about the novel was the world itself. Otherwise, it's a basic superhero tale of good vs. evil, and of saving a world that doesn't even know it needs saving.

So the question comes: would I recommend this book? But it's a tough one this week. I ripped through it. It was an easy read, and kept me enthralled, so in that sense I would recommend it. But, at the same time, I didn't find it all that original or unique, and that's a big thing for me with these kind of stories. As a non-fantasy fan, I think it was a nice foray into the genre, and very good for a book club where you're trying to appeal to several different reading personalities. But, at the end of the day, it was what it was. And I'm not sure it was worth my time.

So, not my favorite book...but not a bad book either. It was a nice, easy read (which I needed after the last few), and one that I was able to put in the "read" column.

I still have two posts planned this week, so get ready! A #ThrowbackThursday post tomorrow and a review on Friday or Saturday (whenever I can get this book done!). Until then, happy reading! And I hope you're enjoying these posts :)

Next Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink (Expected Posting Date: Friday, January 22nd)

**All quotes and annotations refer to this version of A Darker Shade of Magic, published by Tor Books in 2015**

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