A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Readalong (Discussion 1: Parts 1-4)

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It’s here! It’s finally here! You don’t understand, I’ve been talking with some friends about reading this book together for months, and now we finally are. Gah. Okay, back to the intro. Welcome to our very first A Darker Shade of Magic readalong discussion! I hope that all of you have been looking forward to this book, and have also been enjoying it as much as I have so far! If this is the first time you’re hearing about this readalong, you can read the announcement and sign-up post here! I am accepting new participants up to the next, or third discussion, if you think you can catch up! If you want reminder emails, please be sure to sign up for the newsletter as well (link also provided in the post linked above).

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– The Readalong Book –



Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: TOR Books
Date published: February 24, 2015 (hardcover)
January 19, 2016 (paperback)
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 400

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.

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– Parts 1-4 Discussion Questions –

Note: those of you who have not yet read A Darker Shade of Magic and still intend to read it, don’t read this post beyond this point (including the comments)! But if you like spoilers go right ahead.

To participants: It’s not mandatory that you answer these questions! This is not school, haha. These are mainly meant to generate conversations in case some of our readalongers are having a hard time picking something to talk about. Also, feel free to mention and discuss anything which I may not have thought of in the questions below! Please, also keep in mind that we are discussing parks 1-4 at this point only, and that if you have read ahead,  that you be conscious about not sharing spoilers. We want to keep this fun for everyone! Please be considerate.

  1. What do you think of the book so far? Does it match your expectations?
  2. Do you have any favourite parts? Any favourite quotes?
  3. Which London is your favourite? Which one would you like to live in? And which one would you most likely be stuck living in, knowing your luck?
  4. Have you connected with any characters? Any faves? Do you have the feeling that any of your loyalties to said character/s might change as the book progresses?
  5. How are you liking the magic / magic system?
  6. How do you feel about Lila killing her landlord and setting his boat on fire for his almost raping her?
  7. Do you think that Kell should have agreed to take the letter to Red London, and accepted the parcel as payment? Are you side Kell, or side Rhy on this issue?
  8. If you had to choose either Astrid Dane or Athos Dane to speak with (if you had to speak to one of them), who would you choose?

– My Answers –

  1. Yes! I have heard nothing but good things about this series, and so far, the first book has not disappointed me! I’m happy I can read more from it now!
  2. I actually audiobooked this first section while driving to Toronto for work, and therefore could not write anything down. But going just by memory…I would say that I liked the interactions between Kell and Rhy, aaand the scenes that took place in White London!
  3. Red London is definitely my fave, because I love magic (and prosperity). So, I would definitely love to live there…but knowing my luck, I’d probably end up stuck in Grey London or White London…maybe even Black London haha. Sigh.
  4. I really love Kell and Rhy so far, and while I’m not crazy about Lila, I’m sure that she will grow on me.
  5. I find the magic to be very unique, and I look forward to reading and learning more about it!
  6. This is tough for me, because rape is definitely an unforgivable crime. But at the same time, I’m not sure if that man deserved to die, for attempting to rape Lila? I don’t know. I can’t seem to make my mind up.
  7. While I love adventure and all, I think that Kell should have listened to Rhy and stopped moving things between the Londons. Simultaneously though, I know that we wouldn’t have a story without the poor decisions of characters. Haha.
  8. While both of them scare me, I think that I would definitely choose Athos. He seems a lot more predictable, and seems a lot less like a snake, and more like a tiger or something…i.e. I would know what to expect from him, more than I would from Astrid. At least in my opinion.

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– Readalong Schedule –

Date Chapter Discussions Discussion Location
September 1, 2017 Start reading! N/A
 September 6, 2017  Parts 1 – 4 This post!
 September 13, 2017  Parts 5 – 8 Flavia the Bibliophile
 September 20, 2017  Parts 9 – 11 Flavia the Bibliophile
 September 30, 2017 Parts 12 – 14 Flavia the Bibliophile

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38 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Readalong (Discussion 1: Parts 1-4)

  1. Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books says:

    I am really enjoying this book so far! The world building is fantastic and I can totally see why everyone buys merch from all the different Londons!

    Red London is obviously my favourite! It is very magical and I love reading about it.

    I adore Kell already! I also really love Rhy and I hope we get to know his character more.

    The magic system seems interesting. I hope we learn a lot more about it!

    I feel like I am more like Rhy in that I am overly careful but I can see why Kell would accept the letter. He is one of those people who always has to push the boundaries.

    I totally agree with your choice of Athos. I think at least you know more what you are getting with him! Astrid definitely creeped me out more and I don’t think you could predict what she would do next!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flavia says:

      Yeeeees! I love the world building too, and can definitely see the appeal of the Londons now.

      Yes, Kell definitely likes to push boundaries! Which I find funny because my first impression of him was that of someone who is very particular and very cautious.

      And I’m glad you agree about Athos!


  2. bookreviewsexpress says:

    The book is amazing so far. I love it and I can’t believe I didn’t start sooner!

    I like Red London because of magic and because it seems the most stable overall. With my luck I would end up magic-less in Grey London, though.

    I love Lila, Kell, and Holland right now, but I have a feeling my loyalties might change towards Holland later on. Right now, he is super mysterious and intriguing and so far I kind of feel bad for him.

    The magic seems unique and interesting so far!

    I get the feeling that he was a piece of trash anyway so, go Lila!

    Ughhh I am…. on both sides. lol
    I understand Rhy’s concern and there’s probably a good reason behind the rule saying you can’t bring things between worlds. Buuuuut if I were living in this universe I would want Kell to bring me things from other worlds.

    I would choose Athos for the same reasons as you. Astrid is definitely a snake and would probably try to win you to her side just to f you over.

    Great questions! Looking forward to reading further ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flavia says:

      I’m so glad that you’re liking it! And know that you’re definitely not alone in picking this book up so late after it’s been published, haha.

      Lol, at least we could be magic-less in Grey London together! XD

      Yes, I forgot to mention my feels for Holland! I like him, but feel apprehensive…like he’ll let me down if I let him become my fave, or worse…that he might get killed off or something. Haha.

      I’m curious about the rule regarding moving objects between Londons too! And I have a feeling that Kell has definitely set off a chain of events! :O


  3. Shanah - Bionic Book Worm says:

    Soooooo. Ya. I read the first part and my life went bananas. I’m not going to be able to continue with the read along if I have any hope of getting to my ARC’s before their release date. So sorry! I really enjoyed that there’s questions to go along with this!! It would have been so much fun 😭

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beware Of The Reader says:

    Hi Flavia I’m behind on the schedule as I’ve received many ARcs to read…. I’m only at part 2 (beginning) but so far I love Red London! I still have to process everything though and I’m curious to see where it will take us. I hope to catch up bu next week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flavia says:

      You’re not alone! If you’ll see the comment by Bionic Book Worm, and my response, above…we’re both also struggling with ARCs! I hope that you will be able to catch up as well! I will definitely be reading a good chunk of the book tomorrow. Haha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. madmmmil says:

    1. Everyone raves about these books and while I like it the pace of the book is bothering me. It happened with This Savage Song so perhaps it is Schwab’s writing style I’m not meshing with 100%.

    2. I really enjoy Kell’s parts.

    3. No favourites they’re all a bit messy and I don’t want to live in any of them I can’t quite picture them to be honest. Might have to go re-read descriptions, or she didn’t give enough for my brain.

    4. I am drawn to Kell’s story but I’m actually connecting to Holland. I feel his turmoil. No predictions as of yet.

    5. I am loving the magic! Anything with blood magic makes me happy!

    6. I was a bit conflicted. Part of me thought “oh awesome, go girl” and the other part was irritated as it was so obviously shoved in your face that this girl is “bad ass” or so we should think.

    7. I don’t know if he agreed to take it or was more tricked into it. I’m siding with Kell because Rhy (how do you even say his name by the way) is giving me traitor vibes and Kell can make his own decisions.

    8. Athos. Astrid is way more unpredictable. Can I also say how annoying it was that she introduced them so heavily so soon? I really wanted a shorter section with more later on. But it’s still early.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flavia says:

      I know exactly what you mean! Although, it doesn’t bother me as much here as it did in This Savage Song. I’m sorry to hear that you’re not meshing with the style this book though! I’m sorry that you’re also having a hard time picturing the Londons! I don’t remember if the descriptions just really worked for me, or if I just pictured them really well from the start. Some GIFs I’ve seen may have also helped…and I may just send some your way!

      Yes! Blood magic is quite awesome! Def one of my faves.

      I’m glad that I’m not the only one who was conflicted about the Lila + landlord part. Haha.

      I’m getting traitor vibes from Rhy too, and it really upsets me for some reason! Also, the audiobook narrator says Rhy like…rye…as in rye whiskey. Lmao. I’m assuming Schwab was involved, and told him that that’s how it’s pronounced?

      Yay for Athos! And I actually liked that they were introduced so heavily! I’m seeing it as foreshadowing for some stuff to come. And I actually kind of like them a lot. If this were an RPG, I’d probably opt for playing one of them haha (probably Athos).

      I hope that you enjoy the rest of the book, and I’m curious to see how your opinion of it progresses!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Darque Dreamer Reads says:

    I loved Lila from the start! When she killed that guy for trying to rape her, I felt so connected to her! I have never been in that situation, but I would do the same if I ever was! She is so kickass and so mysterious at the same time! My loyalties lie with her!

    I loved the magic system because it is unique to other books.

    I think if Kell didn’t accept the parcel then we wouldn’t have a story, lol.

    I would have chosen to talk to Athos. Astrid scared me, lol!

    Kell’s London was my favorite. It seemed like the better choice compared to Grey and White!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flavia says:

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear that! I definitely cheered for her too, but was a bit conflicted about that too haha. I’d definitely defend myself in that situation as well though!

      I love the unique nature of the magic as well, and I’m glad you do too!

      You’re so right about us not having a story without Kell’s acceptance of that parcel! I always use that reasoning when I, or someone else, get mad at a movie or book due to a character’s stupid decisions. I always go “we wouldn’t have a plot if they had been smart about it.” Haha.

      Seems like everyone is choosing Athos! Lol. He’s definitely more…frank…

      Red is definitely the best London! Woo!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lauren says:

    1. What do you think of the book so far? Does it match your expectations?
    I think it’s really interesting, especially the premise of the story. The characters I am still unsure of. I’m not 100% sure what I was expecting, I’m not as all-consumingly engrossed in it like I was with This Savage Song, but that could be two-fold because it’s crazy busy at work and I’m listening to it as an audiobook.

    2. Do you have any favourite parts? Any favourite quotes?
    My favourite part in the first four parts was Kell’s conversations with Rhy, I don’t have any particular favourite quotes though.

    3. Which London is your favourite? Which one would you like to live in? And which one would you most likely be stuck living in, knowing your luck?
    Oh red London is definitely my favourite and the one I would most like to live in. I like to think that I’m lucky, so I hope I’d be stuck in red haha.

    4. Have you connected with any characters? Any faves? Do you have the feeling that any of your loyalties to said character/s might change as the book progresses?
    I’m actually finding it hard to connect with any of the characters, really connect with them, I think that’s what’s keeping me from getting as into it as I was with Savage Song. Lila’s probably the one I am leaning towards and I think I’ll grow to like her and Kell more.

    5. How are you liking the magic / magic system?
    It’s really got an interesting premise I am eager to find out more about how it works, and especially what happened to black London

    6. How do you feel about Lila killing her landlord and setting his boat on fire for his almost raping her?
    Yeah that was badass, I cheered for Lila when she did that. She was defending herself.

    7. Do you think that Kell should have agreed to take the letter to Red London, and accepted the parcel as payment? Are you side Kell, or side Rhy on this issue?
    Of course he shouldn’t have but he didn’t have much of a choice, I expect there was some compulsion at work in addition to the trap. But I am oh Rhy’s side, Kell takes waaaaay too many stupid risks.

    8. If you had to choose either Astrid Dane or Athos Dane to speak with (if you had to speak to one of them), who would you choose?
    If I absolutely have to I would choose Astrid with a caveat that I would also insist that Athos not enter the room haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Flavia says:

      1. That’s so funny! It’d the total opposite for me with ADSOM and This Savage Song! I read TSS when it came out last year, and didn’t really click with the story or the characters (which is likely why I didn’t make it too far into Our Dark Duet). I do intend to finish Our Dark Duet eventually, but it bugs me when I have to wait for characters to meet for the first time, or re-uinte haha. So we’ll see. With ADSOM though, I know for a certainty that I’ll be reading the sequel, and SOON.

      2. YES! I really like Rhy!

      3. I hope you’re lucky enough to be able to end up in Red London too! 😀

      4. Ohhh so interesting to see that you’re connecting with Lila most! I hope that you start feeling closer to one or some of the characters the more you read!

      5. Yes! Same here.

      6. Very good point! Go Lila!

      7. We seem to agree on this. I know that there would be no story without Kell doing some of the things he does, but it doesn’t stop me from shaking my head at him, or full on yelling at the book hahaha.

      8. Oh that’s so interesting! Everyone else chose Athos! Hmmm I wonder why you chose Astrid now haha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lauren says:

        I’m getting more into it as I go. I think the problem is I’m listening to it, and in the summer I did most of my listening at work because it was quiet enough that I could, but we’re in our super!busy period right now, so I can’t but then when I come home there are other things I want to do, so my listening has actually been very sporadic which is also why I am about a week behind in the read-a-long haha.

        I want more Rhy but given what’s currently happening in the part I am up to I really don’t see that happening for awhile.

        I mainly like how no nonsense Lila is and I keep wanting to spell it Lilah which I think it another take-away from audio vs physical book haha. Seriously though, Lila’s a bad ass and I can’t wait to see her character grow and develop.

        I chose Astrid over Athos for the same reason that I would choose to summer the cruciatus curse over the imperius curse, I don’t like being forced to do things against my will, and Athos’s speciality is compulsion.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Flavia says:

        Ahhhh I see! That would be a problem! I took audiobooked most of it (and the majority was while I was driving to and from Toronto on the 401 hahaha). At times it was more difficult to focus on the audio because someone would cut in front of me, and I didn’t want to touch my phone while driving, to rewind. Sigh.

        Maybe I should only audiobook at home. But even then, I have people being like “put in headphones,” “hey, what do you want to eat for dinner?” “wanna watch a movie?” Haha.

        Yes, more Rhy! I do think we get more of him…but I’m not sure when or how.

        I had the same issue with Hollan! For some reason, maybe the narrator’s accent, I wanted to spell it Hollund haha.

        And I see! That is interesting! For me I would see Astrid as being more likely to use the imperius curse, and Athos to use the cruciatus curse….


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