Book Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab (Week 6)

Thursday, April 05, 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 7, Chapter 1 to 3. 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 7: Chapter 1

Jeanna: After throwing that sword out the window, Lila needed some fresh air herself. She decides to drink to lost adventures, since she basically just let adventure walk away from her. While she’s pondering over her future, Holland shows up. And I really didn’t think it would come to this. However, he drags her outside and starts torturing her, in order to make Kell come running to save her. In the biggest surprise of all, Kell does come back for her and gives her chance to escape. 

One thing to note here is the existence of magic scents, which I thought an interesting concept. Holland was able to find Lila because he followed Kell’s magic scent which smells of flowers. I recall in one of the first chapters, the King of Gray London adores Kell’s scent but Kell himself doesn’t really notice the scent and says it is actually the scent of Red London. So, does Kell’s magic—and all Red Londoners—smell like flowers?

Suspicious Step Brothers GIF

Jackie: Yes, I did not expect Holland to show up while Lila was still processing all that had just happened. I’m wondering as well how Holland knew that Kell had the Stone, since Kell had been asked by the White London citizen to deliver a message, where upon he found the Stone. Since you brought up the concept of magic leaving a smell, I wonder if when the Stone is used, it leaves a magical odor. Perhaps that is how Kell and the White London twins knew about the Stone. OR maybe they were the ones who sent the White London citizen to Kell so he could retrieve the Stone for them...I’m not sure if either of these theories are correct but it does open up the question of how did Holland and the White London twins know about the Stone?

I wonder too if the magic smell is based on the London location or if it is an individual scent that each Antari possess. I guess I can understand why Kell doesn’t like the flowery scent, I mean he is a guy so he probably does not want to be recognized by such a feminine scent. 

Jeanna: I was wondering that too. How did Holland know to follow him? The Stone was in White London and being so magic-greedy there, the rulers would probably notice if such a magical artifact vanished. And who else would it be since Kell is the only other person who can move between worlds. I have to think though, is White London trying to set him up?

And how does Rhy’s gift of strength come into all this?

Also, Lila does mention that the Stone has a scent like sea and wood smoke. So, if all Red Londoners smell like flowers and all White Londoners smell like metal and ash, is it possible that the Stone originated in Black London? 

One thing I was so surprised about was that Kell would go back for Lila. I never pegged him as the sort of guy to fall for the damsel in distress set-up. I think it does fit into his character though, as I think he must have felt responsible for her in some way. 

Part 7: Chapter 2

Kell falls for it, even though he knows it’s a set up. It’s interesting that he can recognize Lila’s scream without even seeing her. Also, he doesn’t seem that surprised that Holland would go to this length to get him to show himself. Almost as if Holland has done this before, though this may just be a usual White London welcome. 

Lila escapes Holland’s clutches, or he just lets her leaves. After all, she is just a human and Holland’s real goal here is to what? Get the Stone. Kill Kell? He says he is under orders from the rulers to take back the Stone. Kell stands in his way, so there’s a small magic fight which is not looking good for Kell. He starts bleeding from everywhere. It does not sound fun at all. I was so worried for him. Despite Holland saying how hard it is to kill an Antari, whatever he was doing to Kell was certainly not daisies and sunshine.

In an attempt to stop Holland from torturing him, Kell takes the reasonable route and plays to Holland’s desires. This, of course, backfires. Kell mentions that the Stone could break the seal but what Kell didn’t know which I have long since suspected was that the necklace is not the binding spell at all, like that rumor had convinced him. Holland is soul bound which is unbreakable. However, based on the power the Stone has shone us, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Stone could actually break a soul binding spell. 

And it doesn’t seem Holland was all that interesting in using the Stone for his own gain. He seemed to have lost hope of ever being free of the twin rulers a long time ago. Another interesting thing to note in this chapter is how Holland thinks of Kell, as an inferior. Kell finds a sort of kinship with Holland since they are both Antari but Holland definitely doesn’t see it that way. 

Stranger Things GIF

After the torture session, Lila comes back and saves the day. This about made my whole day! She came back! She hits Holland over the head and uses the Stone to wrap him in these chains/a cage. Lila and Kell are turning out to be quite a pair! They most definitely need to go on adventures together! 

Jackie: Yeah when Kell and Holland started to battle, and then all of the sudden Kell was bleeding from everywhere, I was thinking that Antari are hard to kill, but I’m not sure how long he can last like this. I know if I just started bleeding everywhere that I would not last long. 

I was curious to see too if the Stone could break his bond, but the way that this bond was described it was over his heart and went through his body to his back. I mean first of all, how is this type of bond even created and how did Holland let it happen to him? That sounds like a super intense ordeal and I’m wondering what the motivations were behind Holland letting the White London twins have their way with him. 

Yeah, I thought that Kell was a bit intimidated by Holland but wanted to be able to work together with him since they were both Antari, but Holland doesn’t have the same ideas unfortunately. He was just sent here to complete his mission of retrieving the Stone and then giving it to the White London rulers. I think they could actually make quite a powerful pair if Holland did not give up any hope of escaping the control of the White London rulers. 

the hobbit i love you mom GIF

Lila, our hero enters from stage right! I have a feeling that since they both keep going back to save one another that they will be going on more and more adventures as the book continues on. I was so glad to see that Kell was not killed by Holland, but just pretty beaten up since Lila came in to get rid of Holland, for now. I think that Lila’s character continues to develop, and it ties back to her pirate ways of saving those who have an impact on her life, whether it is a selfish or selfless reason. 

Jeanna: I would like to know more about Holland’s backstory too. He tried to take over White London himself and how did he not? What did these twin rulers have that he doesn’t? He’s an Antari. However, if he’s showing his true colors here, and not just following orders, White London would be even more terrifying than it is now.

Part 7: Chapter 3

Lila saves the day! She is able to help Kell who sounds to be on the brink of death, up to her room at the Stone’s Throw Tavern. She all but drags him in the pouring rain to get there. Dedication, that is. Barron stops them on the steps. So, now, he knows. 

Harry Potter Shrug GIF

I thought the reveal of him finding out what is going on would be much more dramatic but Barron doesn’t ask many questions about it, instead letting them both sleep. He, also, is the one that wraps Lila in a blanket when she falls asleep which I thought was sweet. I wonder if Barron himself has feelings for her.

I thought it amazing that Lila thought to mask the scents since Holland did mention to her that that is how he followed her, because she smelled like Kell or his magic. She is hoping the rain masks the trail that leads to the Tavern and then she burns some herbs in the room to hopefully confuse any trackers. Also, she put the Stone in a box with other strong scents to make it difficult to find by scent. I hope all of this helps. I thought it was incredibly clever. 

When Lila wakes, she busies herself by counting Kell’s scars which I thought was incredibly intimate, rather private. Lila had told Barron that she felt like she had to come back to save Kell because he had saved her life, first. However, even though Kell and Lila are still strangers, I think Lila feels something—or is it just her curiosity getting the better of her? 

Jackie: This chapter is interesting in that you get to see a more sensitive side of Lila and Barron. I wonder too if Barron has feelings for her or if he is just that good of a person to just help Lila out like this all of the time. He and Lila seem to have a very deep connection, and I would love to know more of the backstory of their friendship if we ever are told more about these two. 

Pride And Prejudice GIF

As far as Lila goes, I wonder, much like you had mentioned, if Lila feels something more for Kell than a friendship, or if the adventure and excitement that surrounds Kell’s life if getting to her, and that’s why she wants to continue to be involved in his shenanigans. 

I also thought it was clever and wise of Lila to cover both of their scents, and the Stone’s scent from Holland. At least, for now, they can have some time to count more of Kell’s scars and also get to know each other more. I’m hoping Lila will be sticking around with Kell since they both have shown that they are willing to save one another’s lives already. 

I also admire how strong of a character Lila is. Even after being tortured by Holland, we end the chapter reading about how next time she has to face Holland, assuming that she will be around Kell that long, that she will be ready to shoot him without missing. She definitely is courageous and unafraid of the people or things that most others would find frightening and would want to run away from. 

Like I said, I hope their friendship, or whatever this is called between Lila and Kell continues. 
Who knows, maybe Lila will find her way under Kell’s 50 Shades of Pockets.

Jeanna: Yes, maybe. After all, Lila did find out about his many pockets when she was checking for some magic item to help heal him. I wish she had described the coat a bit more there since she didn’t seem too astounded at how this coat seems to have so many pockets and so many sides. I would have freaked a little, despite knowing that Kell has magical powers.

I hope sometime soon we get a bit more backstory of Lila and Barron too. I want to know the whole story—what kind of past do these two have together. We do know that Barron and Lila had gotten into some fight which caused Lila to refuse to come back to the Tavern for a bit. But what about? Schwab, please tell us soon!

Also, I agree with you that Lila is very strong. And I didn’t catch that she is already anticipating Holland’s next meeting with her. I read it more as a mantra to make her feel better, “next time… next time, I won’t miss” or something along those lines, but never guessing there will be a next time at all. However, I much prefer thinking that she is already thinking of the adventures her and Kell are going to have. After all, she is already involved so how could Kell leave her after Holland had already made her a target?

Are you Team Barron or Team Kell—or is too early to tell at this point? 

I Ship Them GIF

Jackie: Love how you are shipping Lila with Kell and Barron, that’s great. I know for me, it’s still a bit too early to tell since I need to know more about Barron’s and Lila’s relationship with one another to compare it to the possibilities I see with Kell and Lila. 

I hope Schwab tells us soon as well since the only background we had been given was a fight that Lila and Barron had gotten into, but literally we no ideas or leads other than that. 

I would hope that Kell would not leave Lila now since Holland has tortured her and knows who she is. That would be awful. I would not be Team Kell ever if he were to do that. 
Jeanna: Yeah, you’re right, it’s a bit too early to tell. It’s just that Lila counting his scars seemed so private. And are we talking just the scars on his hands or were there other scars in other places that she made note of? I wonder if she noticed his memory loss spell—that left a scar, right? On his elbow. I wonder if it looks different to non-magic folk—if it looks like a normal scar.

But until we know more about Barron, I guess we can’t pick sides. Especially since there is a chance that Kell might choose to leave her behind - which is still possible (after all, she can’t transport between Londons like he can). No ships sailing today.

Jackie: Like I said earlier, maybe Lila decided to go beneath Kell’s 50 Layers of Pockets and has found more scars in mischievous places that she is not sharing. I wonder as well if the memory loss spell looks like any other scar. I mean Lila would not know the difference I believe unless the spell looked extremely different from a normal scar. 

That is true about Kell, he seems to always be on the inside of adventure, travel, and intrigue, so who knows whether he would even want to come back to Lila? Anyway, I guess we will have to keep reading in order to find out if Lila has any ships to sail and who her passengers will be. 

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

  • Why do you think Kell came back for Lila?
  • Since the Stone is so powerful, do you think it could break the unbreakable and free Holland from his bound servitude?
  • Why do you think Barron keeps letting Lila back into his tavern, and, in turn, his life? She hasn’t really been the best to him, but time and time again he does not give up on her. 
  • I’m loving all these one liners in the book so far, what do you think about what Holland said, “Hesitation is the death of advantage”? 

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