Book Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Week 7)

Thursday, April 12, 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 8, 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 8: Chapter 1

Jeanna: Kell wakes in Lila’s room, barely rested but alive. He’s gone through quite an ordeal and it’s not over yet. Not until he destroys the Stone. However, now that he’s gone and involved Lila (unintentionally, but still), she can’t just sit back and return to her old life. Lila wants to join him in his quest, to follow him on his adventure. It’s all she’s ever wanted, to get out and see the world—to experience it for herself. She insists on keeping the Stone until he agrees to let her come with him.

And, surprisingly, he agrees. His reasoning is a bit too morbid for my taste but I’m not Kell. He agrees to let her come with him so he can leave her in Red London to tell the royal family of his plan and probable death.

This chapter is a bit longer than we’ve read recently and I feel like a lot of it was recapping what we already know. Kell gives her the shortened version of the different Londons, which Lila catches onto quickly. There’s a lot of banter which is so much fun to read! 

Lila mentions the strangeness of his coat which I found hilarious. She used a healing salve, which Kell himself created and lost some time ago. She found it in his coat pocket, in one of the sides. That was hilarious; Kell misplaced it and it’s been in his coat this whole time. It makes you wonder how many lost items he could find if he only searched his pockets more often. And she tried the salve herself before using it on him! What does that mean? That’s so risky—it could have been poison. Is Lila brave or was that just stupid?

And we finally get some answers about the Stone. Kell’s been holding out on us. We finally know now that the Stone is, in fact, from Black London and that magic source is what brought Black London’s demise. It’s a little like Lord of the Rings. The Stone is the One Ring and must be destroyed before it falls into unwanted hands. It must be returned to the place where it was made – the depths of Mordor and Black London. Someone should write a compare and contrast paper on the two series; it would be really interesting.

Ring Elijah GIF

Jackie: Yeah, I really enjoyed the banter between Kell and Lila, and it made what we know even more clear, but gave great insight into some other things that the reader was not told as of yet. 

We got to hear more about the Stone and Kell’s desire to bring it back to where it belongs.

Wait a second...if they bring the Stone back to Black London, but the only people who can travel across London’s are Antari, wouldn’t Lila be stuck in Black London? I don’t know the extent of Kell’s magic, but when he was talking to Lila about the traveling between London’s he seemed to say that he could do it himself but could not bring another person along unless they had something like the Stone, which the Stone would be the relic to help Kell travel as well as Lila travel. I’m not sure if I’m correct, but hey if I am, this poses a big problem for Lila in the future.

Speaking of Lila, I thought it was interesting when Kell was asking her of her intentions on this adventure, and she finally says that she wants to go with Kell because she wants to explore the world and basically feel like she is spending her life doing things where she can discover and travel to new places instead of being stuck where she is, which is the pirate response I would expect from her.

Excited The Lord Of The Rings GIF

I thought their departure was interesting since Barron wasn’t even told goodbye, I guess Lila just knows that she will find her way back and Barron will just be ready to accept and help her, like that anchor he is. I wonder as well why he has made himself her anchor to rely on, maybe because he knows she has no one else that would do that for her? 

Also, this I mentioned in the question for this week, but I’m beginning to wonder how much Rhy is concerned about Kell. Kell keeps mentioning him and his memories of when Kell would come back from a big adventure and what Rhy would do, but we haven’t read about his perspective in ages. Does Rhy have concern for Kell? Or maybe it’s just that we haven’t heard from him since Kell has yet been back to visit him. I’m not sure, but I keep thinking about the “gift of strength” that Holland left him with and wonder how it connects with what has happened thus far in the story.

Jeanna: Yeah, I was also thinking that it may become a problem in the future—that Lila will get stuck in Black London when they try to give the Stone back to its rightful place. It's a good plan if Kell is meaning to do this by himself. But with Lila involved, he will need a power source like the Stone to get her back. They're already taking a huge risk that the Stone will be able to transport her into other Londons. I think Kell is planning on abandoning her in Red London to tell the royal family of his quest. He's most likely going to try to get rid of her at some point after he is able to get the Stone from her. So this issue may not even come to pass. 

You Shall Not Pass Lord Of The Rings GIF

And I also was thinking of Rhy and his gift of strength. We know that Holland is nothing but bad news at the point so this gift, whatever it was, was probably for White London's own gain somehow. Kell and Rhy are supposedly like brothers and really tight but we haven't seen much of Rhy’s side. I would love to get a snippet of what is going on in Red London at the moment. 

Lila is such a great character. I noted a quote from her that she mentioned, “I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” this really resonated with me. I agree wholeheartedly.

Jackie: That’s true about Lila, maybe Kell will just leave her so that he doesn’t have to deal with the trouble of having her stuck in Black London. 

Yeah, I’d love to know what Red London is up to now. I mean, I feel like so much has happened, we have learned a lot and have had a lot more questions asked since we last heard from Rhy and the King and Queen. I’m just wondering where or if they will have a role in helping Lila out or something like that. 

Lila is very interesting. I enjoy her banter as well as her optimistic view of what she wants out of her life and how she is not afraid to chase it. It’s important to be motivated in life and want to have purpose. Lila has an everlasting amount of curiosity and the thrill-seeking side of adventure.

Jeanna: I agree with you there that it's good to be motivated to live and want a purpose but is she taking too far? Is she so caught up in finding a new life for herself that she doesn't realize the roots she has built for herself here? Without intending to, she has built something here with Barron. However, she doesn't want to say goodbye. I think she doesn't want to say goodbye for a variety of reasons: she doesn't want Barron to talk her out of it, she doesn't want to show Kell her weakness. She wants to leave on good terms so to avoid any confrontation of her crazy actions—essentially, she's leaving with a stranger on some quest. 

Say Goodbye GIF

Her leaving Barron in the dark about her whereabouts is both smart and stupid (which we found in chapter 3). 

Jackie: I see what you mean, but Lila is a pirate at heart, and I think that her being that way, she isn’t, or tries not to attach herself to solidly to one place alone. I think she knows that if she stayed at Barron’s that she would bore of the life there and want more, so that may be one thing hindering her time there. I agree with you about why Lila doesn’t want to say goodbye though. 

We will see what happens as she is leaving Barron now and see if the past follows her.

Jeanna: What gets me at the end of this chapter though is when Lila rests her hand on Barron’s door. Her form of goodbye translates to almost longing to knock but thinking better of it. It is difficult and heartbreaking. 

Part 8: Chapter 2

Kell and Lila are off to have an adventure! He explains to Lila as they start walking the streets of Grey London that it's best, in this case, to travel from one London to the next they should be near the place they want to be but not in/on it. This way, they hopefully can watch for people who are looking for them, who may be dangerous. In the end, Kell decides it's best to go to his collection room which is kept above a tavern in Red London. To me, since those attackers were able to find him even there, I don't think that's the best place for him to go first but we shall see. 

The banter is back with these two. And Kell even starts cracking jokes. Who knew, he can smile! 

Surprise Smile GIF

I feel like this scene has been dragged out a bit, since they both feel nervous about the next step—actually traveling to another London with a human. This is probably the feelings going through Lila’s mind when she lands that kiss on Kell. I didn't see it coming. First kiss. *swoon* And with that, they stepped through to the other side. 

Jackie: Yeah, I felt like this scene was a bit drawn out since they were anxious about traveling to another London, but that makes sense as to why. And then they kiss, and I thought it was funny since Lila was kind of the one to draw Kell in, so it was sweet as well as a bit humorous to me as well. 

I enjoyed the banter between the two of them, and I thought it was funny that Lila got such a kick out of Kell smiling that she had laughed for quite a while about it. 

I don’t really know any safe place for Kell to really go at the moment, but hey, at least he is trying to form some kind of plan. Hopefully this plan goes a bit more smoothly now, but with Kell’s nonexistent luck and Lila’s thirst for sweat, blood, and tears in the form of an adventure, who knows what will happen with these two. 

Jeanna: I'm guessing that Red London will be rather quiet. Unless we run into Rhy somehow who rings an alarm or something. The big worry is passing through White London. Lila will certainly get her sweat, blood and tears then. Imagine if the rulers got a hold of them—Lila would be toast. 

The Sandlot GIF

I thought that kiss was sweet and funny too. I wonder if anything will come of it. Kell and Lila would make a great pair. 

Jackie: Yeah, I’m hoping the White London rulers never got a hold of Lila, if anything could break her spirit, it would be those two. I guess we will have to see how this goes for Kell and Lila. 

Oh my gosh if they ended up together, they would remind me of my boyfriend and myself. Our banter isn’t quite as long, but we do enjoy going back and forth playing the “who is wittier” game.

Jeanna: You and your boyfriend are too cute! I hope it happens for those two. I was hoping for Barron and Lila, somehow. But that ship has sunk so fast. 

Abandon Ship GIF

Part 8: Chapter 3

Barron wakes to footsteps above. He knows the foot falls of Lila’s and even knows that she had left some time ago with Kell and those steps are definitely not Lila’s. He goes up to investigate. 

In this moment, I wish we could stop time and have him not investigate the noise. No, Barron! He opens the door to find Holland who is looking for Kell. We know that the rulers may have sent him to find the Stone and bring it back. But it's hard to think Holland isn't working for his own blood thirst at this moment. When Barron can't tell him anything useful, he kills him. Just like that. 

Barron is gone. I'm not okay.

Not Ok Martin Freeman GIF by BBC

Jackie: Yeah, I wish that Barron had not gone to investigate the noise, that’s like the number one rule of a horror movie, DO NOT go investigate the odd noise under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. 

But, I’m not convinced that he’s dead. I hope that he isn’t. It read in the book that everything went to “nothing.” So, I guess we will see...

Jeanna: For sure, whenever I hear a questionable noise in my house, at first I'll pretend I didn't hear it. Then I'll call out, hello or something and if no one answers me then I'm just going to ignore it. It is not happening. (Usually though, it's my brother who decides to surprise us by coming home from college on occasion. So not as scary as Holland, I assure you.)

I really hope you're right about Barron being alive. Do you think Holland would drag him back to White London to make a robot out of him? I hope that is not what's happening here. 

Jackie: Yeah, I know what you mean, except I’ve seen enough horror movies to not even call out to it, I just completely ignore the noise. 

Your brother would probably find Holland funny though knowing him, even though he is nothing like Holland. 

I don’t see Holland doing that, I think Holland was just ordered to find Kell and Lila and the Stone, and since Barron wasn’t about to give the information on their whereabouts, Holland probably decided that getting rid of him, or at least hurting him would get him out of the way for a bit so Holland could go see if Lila and Kell left anything useful behind to track them by. But I think Barron may still be alive, we will have to wait and see.

Jeanna: Yes, you've heard it here first: my brother is not at all like Holland. Just putting them in the same sentence is hilarious to me!

Ricky Gervais Laughing GIF

Let's hope that Kell left his healing salve behind so Barron can maybe magically heal all his wounds. 

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

  • Now that one person from Gray London and another from Red London are influenced by the Stone—do you think this “sickness” will spread in each place and ultimately, cause the destruction of the Londons?
  • What sort of feelings do you think Barron harbors for Lila as he thinks himself an anchor for her?
  • As Lila and Kell start off to travel to the other Londons, what will happen to Lila if the Stone was ever stolen from her? Would she have to rethink her pirating career in another London?
  • Does Rhy care about what happens to Kell? We haven’t heard from his perspective in a while, so does he really care about what Kell may be up to? 

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