Book Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (Week 5)

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Welcome to the A Darker Shade of Magic book discussion! We are going to have a blast reading along together. Each week, following the schedule, my friend Jackie and I will recap that particular week’s chapters with hilarious commentary. At the end of each discussion post, there will be a few questions to get the party started. These questions serve as food for thought. All comments related to the book and this week’s chapters are always welcome! Remember: I am giving away a copy of the paperback edition of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (for extra entries, comment below)! Now, let’s get this party started!

This week, we'll be discussing Part 5, Chapter 5 and Part 6, Chapters 1 to 4. To depict our thoughts in the most coherent way possible (after all, this is a dialogue between friends), my font color will stay black and Jackie's color will be red.

DISCLAIMER: Spoilers ahead! This post discusses this week’s chapters of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. If you do not want to be spoiled on what happens in the book, don’t read any further.

Part 5: Chapter 5

Jeanna: This chapter was so short. However, I think I like the shorter chapters. They’re significant and there just seems to be so much happening in the shorter chapters.

In chapter 5, Kell runs away from his attacker. He’s bleeding and it’s not looking good for him. Finally, he is able to make a door to Gray London. Seriously, I was panicking for him there. His attacker was almost upon him, I was so worried. I was also worried that maybe the attacker would somehow follow his thread to Gray London but we know Antaris are the only magic folk who can go across worlds so he’s safe. Until Lila shows up. I wasn’t suspecting such an introduction like this. She pickpockets him - in that, she steals the Stone.

Too Bad Jerry Seinfeld GIF

I couldn’t believe it. Now, she’s gone and done it. And Kell is still bleeding in some alley way in Gray London and having an all-around bad day. It’s just not looking great for him right now.

Jackie: Yeah, I was not sure how Kell is getting out of this one. I agree with you on how I also thought the attacker was going to follow Kell into Grey London and I was like whelp, this is going to be bad. But, somehow he manages to get there okay, only to be robbed by Lila. That seems like a suiting introduction for Lila though, coming in as her thieving and pirating self. 

But, I was really taken aback as we learn the limits of magic in this universe. As Kell was trying to get back to Grey London, we see that his magic was not working at first to travel back, I’m assuming because he was so weak at that time. If it wasn’t for the Stone aiding Kell to complete the traveling spell back to Grey London, I do not know what Kell would have done or could have done against his attacker at that point. I’m just happy but intrigued how the Stone reacted when Kell was saying, “Please let me through.” That’s a pretty awesome amount of power to be noted since the object was reacting to Kell, and yes, I know the Stone holds magical powers or something, but still the reaction and aid given by the Stone was remarkable in my eyes. 

Jeanna: I was surprised and not surprised at Lila for taking the Stone from him. If I recall, he was wearing his fancy coat at this point so he looked like he had money. However, she knew he was bleeding and drunk and I just found it a bit cruel after discovering this to give him her handkerchief and then steal his things. It’s a pirate’s life, I suppose.

Pirates Of The Caribbean Goodbye GIF

Yes, does this Stone know no limits? We know very little at this point but the Stone can just do unexplainable things out of thin air.

Part 6: Chapter 1

Here’s another short chapter. Despite us knowing very little about the Stone, this is the first time that we get to see how terrifying the Stone may be. It takes us back to Red London. The ice surrounding one of the attackers thawed and the Stone’s power is then absorbed in him. The man he used to be is no more, instead the power of the Stone has taken hold. What do you make of that? What does the Stone want? It sounds like it’s trying to take over the world, with one person at a time.

Jackie: Yeah, this Stone is definitely interesting. I mean it does sound like it wants control over people for some reason. I’m also wondering if this person could possibly be the person at Stone’s Throw Tavern that Kell peeved off at the beginning of the book. Maybe the Stone is finding energies that have interacted with Kell for some reason. I could be so off, but I wonder what the point of the Stone is and why it uses the people that it does.

Jeanna: You mean, Ned, that enthusiast from the beginning? Oh, that’s interesting. That would open up so many questions! It would be weird since Kell didn’t recognize him but they only met the one time so that could be excused. Then there’s the whole question of how he got to Red London from Gray London. That’s really interesting!

I think whoever is setting up Kell doesn’t know the true power of the Stone. And back to the fact that they had Royal blades. Who could have been trying to set him up? And for what? And now, for all we know, the Stone itself is going rogue creating these creatures who probably are coming to look for the Stone since that’s their source of power.

It’s just a pile of questions now.

Nicholas Hoult GIF

Part 6: Chapter 2

Things are starting to get real good. I mean, this entire book has been building up these worlds for us and finally, we have the two protagonists in the same room. It’s absolutely brilliant!

Lila takes her loot and goes back to the Stone’s Throw Tavern, where she’s been staying. If you recall, Barron has last seen her go off chasing those hooligans who had just stolen the beggar’s money. She was then set up and ran away to that alley that Kell fell into. She checks what she was able to steal from him: just a rock. She mentions that she doesn’t have any use for it because what would anyone want with a rock, but then she doesn’t throw it away. She keeps it as if she feels the magic pulsing in it.

Kell barges in and demands for it back. He’s still unsteady on his feet and incredibly weak. However, he makes a go at the Stone only to have Lila hit him over the head, unconscious.

Mistake Decision GIF

We do get a little more into Lila’s character in this chapter. We’ve always been aware of her determination to go out and have adventures, to make a better life for herself. We get to see it in action here when she refuses to get a drink at the bar. She mentions this cycle of thievery where the thieves only steal enough to stay thieves and no more. And here she is trying to save her money to eventually get out of it all. It makes me like her even more.

Jackie: Yes, I agree about getting to know more about Lila. I enjoyed reading about her in this section because I got to feel her determination and her behavior, which I found that she feels like a pirate. Her ideas about thievery were interesting in that basically it’s almost like a catch-22 in a way. She does enough thievery in a way to get out of past and future run in with the law or the bad guys that come along her way but does not do more to get herself out of this lifestyle, even though she could if she wanted to. She remains in this cycle, which shows that she enjoys her thieving ways and really fits into the pirate personality. 

I wish we knew more about this Stone. Now, for Lila she feels an indescribable pull towards the Stone that makes her keep it, kind of how she has a pull towards the Stone’s Throw Tavern. I wonder if these types of magical pulls are related to one another somehow, except that the Stone seems to want more power over people than Stone’s Throw. 

Jeanna: Maybe the Stone’s Throw Tavern and the Stone are related. Maybe the Stone itself created the building which is why it’s a fixed place. The Stone itself must be much older than the existence of separate Londons, maybe it used to be one London, one tavern and when the Londons became different worlds, the magic of the place made it a fixed point. Just a thought.

Jackie: I like your idea of how the Stone created the fixed points, that’s interesting.

Part 6: Chapter 3

Jeanna: I just… this is one of my favorite chapters. Kell and Lila’s banter back and forth is absolutely hilarious. I hope later on, they can become friends. But, of course, at this point, they are anything but.

Kell wakes tied to the bed. All of his items on his person are gone - well items from the pockets on this side of the coat. Who knows what he has hiding in the many other pockets of all those many other sides? His knife is gone which is probably the only thing, besides the Stone, that matters to him at this point. He undoes the ties on the bed no problem which gave me pause because what kind of limits do these Antari have? We just keep finding out more and more things that they can do? I think the Stone is superior magic to theirs but maybe the Antari is only one level down from the power behind the Stone.

Lila refuses to give the Stone to him, and decides to test it out first to see if he’s telling the truth. I guess he didn’t have any reason to lie but I find it odd that Kell, a seemingly private person, spouts out the truth really quickly. She makes a sword which is the perfect gift for a pirate! And then to test the Stone even further, she creates a clone of Kell. I couldn’t even with this scene. Probably all the fanfiction that has ever been written about Kell and Lila - there must have been fanfiction written about the two (I haven’t checked) - it has all stemmed from this scene, I’m sure. She clones him, a stranger that she has just met! And has the clone start undressing. It’s incredibly laughable - everyone’s reaction is so great. Kell’s reaction!

Shocked The Hills GIF

Anyway, fun’s about to end. The clone gets a bit out of hand and turns on them. Maybe the Stone itself was trying to make a minion out of it. If the clone also replicated Kell’s Antari powers, that would make for some serious trouble. It’s good that Kell is able to dispel the clone and be on his way with Stone in hand. He does morph the wall to trap Lila which is yet another example of what else can he do with his power? And off he goes and thinks all is well since he’s gotten the Stone. Little does he know, right?

Jackie: I enjoyed Kell and Lila’s back and forth as well. Lila must be a good thief since his coat is the one with like layers of pockets...but hey, she got his stuff. 

I found it interesting but suiting that Lila first makes the Stone create a sword for her. I found it HILARIOUS when she created the clone of Kell and then made it start to undress, I was like woah is his book about to be something out of 50 Shades of Kell’s Pockets.

But, now that I think about it, I wonder if the Stone was offended that Lila was being so silly with its power so it fought back. I do not know if this is true of the Stone, but we can already tell that the Stone is aware of the activities going on around it and how others are using its powers.

Kell’s use of magic is interesting and to see Lila not being able to dispel the Stone was something else. I thought they were in trouble. I mean, imagine, he could have been fighting against half-naked Kell if Lila had gotten her way, that would have been something!

Jeanna: Oh, my, 50 Shades of Kell’s Pockets! That’s great!

It’s interesting that Kell expects her to dispel the clone before he had to step in. And like you said, the Stone got angry at that. It probably felt Lila trying to get rid of the clone and wasn’t too happy about it which is when it turned on them. Look at half naked Kell getting all murderous on us.

Since he did expect Lila to get rid of the clone, it’s interesting that he had enough power to even combat the Stone’s power.

And imagine Barron finding out about the ruined wall. Like, what is he even going to think? Doesn’t he hear all these thumps and whatnot? I thought he was going to check on her and find out but I guess, we’ll get a reaction from him later maybe.

Also, it was interesting that Kell was so out of it that he didn’t recognize the Stone’s Throw until he went outside and checked the front.

Jackie: Yeah, I found it funny that Kell did not realize this until the end of his meeting with Lila. I just find the Stone and Stone’s Throw Tavern to be so connected in the pull that they have on the characters we have met thus far. 

Now that you mention it, Kell’s reaction that Lila should know or can dispel the Stone is intriguing. I wonder if he knows or believes her to be sensitive to magic since she was able to use the Stone in the way that she did, so maybe this is why he thought she could dispel the clone that the Stone made. 

Imagine what Barron would have thought on walking in on murderous, half-naked Kell, real but weary Kell, and then Lila? That would have been some sight...

Jeanna: Barron would have backed away slowly. Like, what is even going on here?


That’s an interesting point because Kell, making his escape, mentions that he has a strange feeling about Lila but then shrugs it off like its nothing. No, Kell, it’s definitely something.

Part 6: Chapter 4

Finally, Lila is able to free herself from the wall after hacking away at it for quite some time. She wants to keep the sword but after seeing what this Black Magic could do, she doesn’t think she is going to risk it. So, she does what any normal person would have done when they want to throw something out. She throws the sword out the window. Like, what?

She’s on the second floor, but still! There are warnings all over skyscrapers that you better not be throwing your coins off the side of the ledge because people could die. Well, Lila is just throwing her sword out the window. Thankfully, there wasn’t anyone out there at the time so no one got stabbed - at that time.

Booth, a total stranger to us, but I’m sure he will make an appearance later on, has to pee and decides the best place to do it is outside. He finds this gorgeous sword and decides to keep it because finders keepers and all that. Except that this sword is made from the Stone, unknown to Booth, and has a mind of its own. It goes crazy on him and makes him stab himself - this is some horror movie stuff! Basically, the human Booth bleeds out and the Stone takes his place. So now the Stone has two people, one in Red London and another in Gray London, walking around. Something’s definitely going to go down.

Jackie: Yeah, I mean like there is some etiquette to throwing out stuff from a window. I mean I walk under windows all the time on my way to work, and I’m thinking, if I saw a sword flying down at me, or if I didn’t…

Anyway Lila needs to take a look before throwing. 

I thought that this was interesting too, the Stone is definitely planting it’s compelled seedlings around the London locations. I wonder what this Stone must be starting to plan since it wants minions all around the Londons. There’s a fight a brewing me thinks. 

I’m also wondering what this Stone is seeking and why. There must be some type of thing or person that it seeks, or maybe it just wants world domination. 
I’m trying to imagine being ruled by a Stone. I imagine it may look like this, except a Stone in the place of the conch: 

Image result for all hail the magic conch gif

Yeah, Kell better figure out what is going on with the Stone.

Jeanna: It’s interesting because has this Stone been asleep this whole time? Kell got it as payment in White London, right before he was set up. So, does whoever set him up, know the power of the Stone? And how did this Stone remain quiet in White London of all places. That’s the most terrifying place, and they’re so power hungry there. Why did no one feel the Stone? Maybe it needed to be activated by an Antari but then how could Lila use it? And I’m still trying to think of who set him up and why? The only thing those attackers in Red London wanted was the Stone, so the message from the girl was a set up to have the attackers waiting for him there to jump him. And then take the Stone. That would mean that someone from Red London knows about the Stone and wants it for themselves, right? And who could it be? And why did the attackers have Royal Blades? How did they get them?

We just don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to keep reading.

This concludes this week's chapters of the discussion. What did you think?

  • Will the frozen man - now a servant to the Stone - become a bigger threat later on in the book
  • What do you think is the ultimate goal for the Stone?
  • Do Kell and Lila share a connection through magic? Lila was able to wield the power of the Stone as was Kell to gain strength in his powers at an earlier point, how are these two connected through this Stone? 
  • “A life worth having is a life worth taking,” stated by Lila. What are your thoughts on this? 

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