Book Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Week 13)

Thursday, May 24, 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 13, Chapter 4 to 6 and Part 14, Chapter 1 to end. 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 13: Chapter 4

Jeanna: Uh, where to start? For a quick recap, Kell was able to defeat Athos and Lila is currently in some trouble fighting Astrid. While Kell is catching a much-needed breath, Lila is practically dying in the throne room. We all knew this was coming, right? Lila going up against Astrid is suicide. Astrid is one half of the evil duo of White London, possibly the deadliest in all of the Londons. And as much as Lila has brains on her side, she also doesn’t know magic nor White London language. She’s out of her weapons pretty quickly. Astrid smiles through the whole thing. Just like Athos, she thinks this is hilarious. Look at this human trying to defeat me, hilarious. And, also like Athos, she finally bites the dust!

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Astrid knells on top of Lila and does some spells. Even without the necklace she is able to change her form to look like Lila. Lila is knocked unconscious and left in the throne room while Astrid seeks out Kell to murder him. Jokes on her though, because even though she’s disguised as Lila, Kell sees right through her. He stabs her using the Stone, which is now the full Stone (he reunited the pieces!). With that power, he is able to stab her then turn her to stone. Then he uses his Antari magic to shatter her to pieces. Astrid dead! Yes! For Rhy! For Lila! 

Jackie: Not good enough Astrid, not good enough. I mean, like this beginning chapter that we are discussing was so satisfying. Not only because one of the worst villains of the books was finally vanquished, though that was a part of it, but we finally get some closure and answers in this chapter and the last chapters of the book. Anyway, I remember reading this section, at first thinking, oh my god is Schwab really going to kill off Lila now?! Especially when Astrid disguised herself as Lila, I was not sure whether Kell would fall for it or not, and I thought Lila may die at this point if Kell didn’t figure it out, but he did! Go Kell! 

I thought that this violent and relatively quick way that she was killed suited her character. I mean, in reality she was a magic-hungry monster out to seek control over Kell and the Londons. I was so happy that Kell was able to figure out her true identity and get rid of her. I believe that she had no idea what was coming to her. Again, SO SATISFYING. For an evil character like that to be taken out by surprise...pure genius, Schwab.

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Jeanna: I was terrified when I was reading this chapter. You had told me a few days ago that the book was crazy and all I could think was that this was how it was going to end. Lila is going to die. And Astrid is going to go have adventures with Kell and he won’t even know. I felt some real tears coming on. Lila is one of my favorites, if not favorite character and I wouldn’t have been surprised if Schwab had let it happen that way. I would be super disappointed but not surprised. 

And thank you! It didn’t go down as I thought it would. Lila didn’t die! Kell recognized Astrid! And Astrid was killed! Thank you! 

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Her death scene was so swift and powerful! It must have been a slap in the face to her. I would have loved to had been there just to see her face. And it’s amazing that Kell is able to know Lila enough that he knew almost immediately that it wasn’t her. At this point, he’s also struggling with the power of the Stone so with that taking up some of his brain power is even more amazing that he was able to focus enough on knowing that it was Astrid playing a trick. 

The worst part of the whole scene was Lila’s perspective on it - how she was ready to die. She had her adventure and that’s what she wanted and if this is how it had to end, she was okay with that. And I’m certainly not okay with that. Lila needs to go on several more adventure before I’ll ever, if ever, be okay with that. 

Also, I loved that Schwab brought more details in that we didn’t know about. We’ve been in the throne room before. And here Lila saw it for the first time last chapter and it’s like seeing it with new eyes. Plus, there also happens to be bones in the walls. That’s new. 

Jackie: I agree, I believe that she must have felt so slighted when her end came so unexpectedly from Kell. Which, by the way, you mentioned Kell’s connection and knowledge of Lila’s mannerisms, which was a BIG DEAL in this chapter. In reality, the events of this book were not over a long period of time, so that means that Kell knew Lila and her personality, thoughts, and actions well enough to decipher the fake Lila from the real one. I mean, that’s honestly an incredible amount of observation, listening, and meticulous in general to notice the subtle differences between the fake Lila and real Lila. But, I guess after all the time they spent together on this adventure, it makes sense in the end. 

I agree with you on Lila’s perspective as well. I was so upset at that point because I thought Schwab was preparing her readers for Lila’s death. 

Now that I think about it though, no other character, except the ones controlled by a soul seal, were prepared and ready for death on their own terms. Lila is such a versatile and intriguing character in the way that she was ready to let it all go if she had to. I mean in reality, who is really that accepting of death? Especially for a pirate who wants her lifetime of adventure? 
I was happy though that Lila made it through everything, and that hopefully she will be able to continue having awesome adventures with Kell. 

I enjoyed the extra details Schwab added in as well. I mean, this gave a whole new feeling to the chapter, the settings we were placed in, just everything. Truly, this chapter may have been one of my favorites because I felt like it was one of the most well-written of the book in the way of how every action, thought, and word was unexpected, yet not completely surprising because we know the characters so well at this point. Schwab, even though I suffered through the unknown of this book and begged you to stop with being so mysterious and high and mighty, you truly did well in wrapping up this book. I think this is one of my favorite endings and wrap-ups in a book in probably...ever. 

Jeanna: You just summed up everything so well! 

Kell knowing Lila extremely well just is icing on the cake. My ship is sailing right into the sunset, I can see it now. It is a big deal, like you said. All those times when we thought Kell was off thinking about the tasks at hand or having a good banter session with Lila, he was actually taking note of her and listening to what she has to say. The way he was able to tell so fast is probably the highest form of flattery, I’d say.

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Discussing the book with you, even though we are on our last group of chapters, has been so eye-opening and rewarding. I want to go back and reread the whole thing over again just to experience it all again. Schwab has definitely put together something magical here.

Part 13: Chapter 5

Am I the only one who went deja vu when the real Lila made it down the steps? She asked Kell how he was able to tell the two apart. And Kell replies that it was easy since Astrid had said, “please.” HAHA! I was laughing through my tears at that point. The end of the world is near but Kell and Lila can still joke together so all must be great, right? NO. It is not okay!

This tactic is used by Schwab again and again. All looks great, right? Must be great then. No, she’s about to kill some people. So, all readers watch out.

Kell is still fighting the Stone. And now since he has reunited the two pieces, it’s getting harder to fight in victory. He can’t control it any longer. Kell is about to run off to Black London and leave Lila behind in White London. (I’m still bitter about this plan.) Despite almost dying at the hands of the White London ruler, the White London citizens aren't big fans of her either. So, when they find out that the rulers are dead, it’s going to be total chaos. If I had to guess, there’s going to be a full-on war in the streets for who gets to be a ruler next. And Lila is going to be stuck in that mess, no, thank you. However, Kell doesn’t get very far in enacting this plan since he doubles over in power-overload.

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The Stone takes him inside his mind where he apparently looks like the villain from American Horror Story season 1- and believe me, that’s terrifying. Kell tries to hold on to something, anything that is not this power overtaking him but it looks like he is on the losing side. The Stone grabs his heart. From far away, Lila is able to speak with him, reminding him about what he has to fight for. He holds on to the notion that if he dies, then Rhy dies. He is able to push the Stone back a bit. Lila reminds him, also, of a spell that could make the Stone disappear. Kell should really study up on his spells if he had this spell in his arsenal the whole time and Lila is the one to make him remember it. He could have killed the Stone at any point, couldn’t he have? (Of course, then there would be no book.) He uses the spell and Stone’s power is gone. 

Jackie: Oh yeah, I was laughing when Kell said that Astrid said “please,” so that’s what told him that the true Lila was not present, and instead this was Astrid impersonating Lila. I think those two could joke through category 5 hurricane to be honest. 

That’s something else too. Kell and Lila’s humor. I think that this is one of the pillars of their relationships with one another and their friendship in general. They always are able to ground themselves in any situation by using their humor with one another. I feel like Schwab was living vicariously through these two characters and their banter with one another. Anyway, their relationship is just everything in this book, and makes every scene so much more versatile and intriguing to read. 

I feel like when Schwab is about to kill a lot of people that we needed a siren to warn all fellow readers and characters in the book to move away, something like this…

Yeah, I was not too happy about Kell still wanting to stick to his, no “Lila can’t go to Black London with Kell” plan, but I guess that doesn’t matter, because as you said, Kell is on like a power overdrive from the Stone and collapses to the ground. Thinking about the two halves of the Stone being together means like a big energy surge constantly coursing through Kell’s body, that’s got to be awful. Like he was having trouble enough controlling one-half of the Stone, now he has to control both halves? No way, brother, he’s going down for the count. 

I was so intrigued with how Schwab presented this magical force, like I could definitely picture something like this (below) as the magic that Kell is having a conversation with. I mean I know in the end that Kell ended up defeating the Stone and everything, but what if he had nothing left to fight for?

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What if something had happened to Rhy along the way, and that made Kell not able to resist the urge to just give up? I mean, sure maybe Lila would still be there trying to help him battle this foe, but would Kell have been strong-willed enough to defeat it? Honestly, I’m not sure if he would have been. I would have hoped that for his and Lila’s sake that he would save them, but his friendship and connection with Rhy was what stopped Kell from falling under and giving up hope. 

Anyway, just a fruit for thought. 

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Jeanna: Yes, yes, yes. You know exactly what to say, Jackie. In A Darker Shade of Magic, Schwab has given us the perfect balance of plot and characters. She makes you feel something for the characters as soon as they are introduced. That is some amazing writing! The relationship that Kell has with Lila and even the relationship that he has with Rhy is beautiful. They enhance the reading experience tenfold. We didn’t get many scenes with Rhy and Kell together. Nor did we get many scenes with just Kell and Lila together. However, somehow, Schwab was able to weave such amazing scenes using these characters that we will love forever. She has created the foundations and very high expectations for these characters that everyone is sure to be shattered if something were to happen to them in the sequels.

I don’t know if you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy but at the end of the movie, the main character, Peter, takes hold of the Infinity Stone which is this all-powerful stone. However, despite being a half-god, Peter cannot hold the Stone alone. I thought Kell was on the losing side of this. I was so worried for him. And even just having the scare of my life in the last chapter, I once again thought a main character was going to die. And this time it would be Kell. Thank goodness, Kell is stronger than Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy!

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For a moment there, it did look hopeless. And if Lila hadn’t mentioned Rhy’s name, if she hadn’t remembered that there was a spell to make this all go away, I don’t think it would have ended quite as it did. Kell would have become a mindless vessel. What pushed him to save himself, to save the world was all because of Rhy I think.

Part 13: Chapter 6

All the zombies drop dead. Just like that. It astounds me that no one seemed to notice all these zombies in the first place. I wonder if the people of Red London will notice all the DEAD zombies. This, of course, includes Gen which I’m upset about. Well, I think I’m more upset about Gen and Parrish since I really liked that duo but now they’re both gone.

I’m a bit mad at Schwab here. Now a few chapters ago, I thought Lila was a goner and then last chapter, it was Kell. Well, that leaves Rhy, doesn’t it? And this chapter… like, what happened there? Rhy was stabbed by Astrid’s sword. Okay, I remember that. And he barely held on; well, Rhy did die and then Kell just couldn’t stand it so he brought him back. And I thought he was using Antari magic but at this point, he was also holding the Stone so it could have been the Antari magic and the Stone magic mingling to bind Rhy and Kell together. So, when Kell kills the Stone’s power, everything that the Stone had ever touched would die too. And I couldn’t believe that that would have included Rhy. No. This chapter was less than a page but I’m still reeling from it. I thought that shivering and then lying still is Schwab translation for he DIED! And I wasn’t okay. 

Jackie: I mean, based on how no one noticed the zombies in the first place, we will see if they notice them now, I mean I would think they’d notice since so many people would have been affected by this sudden surge of the magic being defeated by Kell. I liked Gen and Parrish as well, but whoever we like dies in Schwab’s world apparently, and sadly. 

Yeah, I feel like we were never given a clear view on how the magic works in Schwab’s world. I mean we thought we were given pieces of how it worked throughout the book, but never all the pieces to fit the puzzle. I mean, Schwab likes mysteries, and I think that’s why she phrased that chapter in the way that she did, to make the readers think/believe that she may have just killed Rhy. I mean, I wasn’t thinking of it the way you were with how the Stone’s death was the death of everyone affected by it. I had a feeling that the soul bond and the Stone were kind of two different entities. Like, the Stone may have helped to forge the soul bond, but I think the only thing that could kill Kell and Rhy outside of that are more non-magical circumstances, like bleeding out, heart attack, or something like that. 

Also, I think if Schwab killed Rhy that no one would have wanted to read the next book she has out. 

Kell and Rhy are just too good to not keep together, I guess that’s why they are bonded, until death do they part. 

Jeanna: Red London must look like a war zone at the moment. All these dead bodies lying about. And people would be going about their day. They probably wouldn’t even notice them unless they tripped over them in the street.

If Rhy had died, I certainly wouldn’t want to continue. I’d probably take a long time to get over the fact and then end up reading the book anyway. However, I would be so angry at Schwab for killing off that adorable cupcake. 

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Part 14: Chapter 1

It worked! The Stone is nothing but a rock now. The power was dispelled. Kell checks the binding spell he had made with Rhy and notices that it is still intact. At this point, I was busy mourning Rhy and here Kell thinks he is alive because the spell is intact. Believing that he is still carrying the wounds of both himself and Rhy, he makes a portal to send the rock to Black London. It’s better to be safe than sorry. However, he doesn’t want to go to Black London. So, instead, he is able to make a portal to send Holland who is still alive somehow. AND HE’S BEEN LYING ON THIS BENCH THIS WHOLE TIME. I don’t know why I found this fact hilarious. Like, “Hold on here, Holland. We’ll be right back. We’re going to go kill the White London rulers then we’ll take you somewhere.”

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All in all, this plan of sending Holland to Black London is not the greatest plan ever. No one has been to Black London in years. What if Holland is able to live off the land’s power and come back to haunt them later? Sending someone to Black London, even if they are mostly dead, does not sound like the smart thing to do here. No one knows what is in Black London. For all we know, there could be more Stones of power that could help Holland heal and escape. Oh, no.

With Holland sent away, Kell calls it a job well done. It’s time to go home. Though, he isn’t entirely sure that he can take Lila with him. It was the Stone that helped with her portal travel all those times before. Kell gives her a kiss which seems so final! This whole scene seems so tired and morose. He makes the Red London portal and that’s the end of the chapter. Cliffhanger, as usual. 

Jackie: The thing that I find the funniest about all of this is that magic, which was inside of a rock, caused this much trouble. A rock. Wow. To think that now we will have to inspect all rocks to make sure they aren’t evil-magic-dwelling-beings-looking-to-take-over-the-world. 

Yeah, I found it to be funny too that Holland, almost-dead now, has been just chilling out on a bench this whole time. Like what a place to be during that epic win for Kell and Lila. I mean, I guess they must have figured that he can’t do much damage from there, and I also think Kell probably didn’t have that part planned out of where to put Holland’s body afterwards. 

Yeah, I think Kell should have just tried to end Holland, and not send him off...but wouldn’t that make for a great sequel for when Holland shows up to fight Kell and Lila again? That’s what I thought some of the purpose for sticking him in Black London was anyway. Nice one, Schwab. 

Well, I thought you would have mentioned your ship sailing since Kell had kissed Lila this time, but I think you’re right with the chapter definitely having that morose feeling to it. It’s just like a sad chapter, but also a chapter that wraps up some details, like with Holland, and gives them an end. But hey, why not another cliffhanger Schwab, right? 

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Jeanna: My to-be-read shelf is the size of Mount Everest and Schwab made me go out and get the sequel to this book because too many cliffhangers!

The next book will just be Kell in different locations picking up rocks and testing them for Black London magic. That does remind me: what about the White London ruler’s stash? Athos liked to find things. Are we sure this was the only dangerous item he found? Those items could still be out there and falling into the wrong hands. Yikes.

Initially when Kell brought Holland to White London, I thought he was doing it to bring Holland back to his land. For Holland to die in a place where he felt more comfortable, or the very least, in a place he spent most of his time. Yet, Kell practically pushes him right into that portal to Black London. Wow, Kell. That was vicious.

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If Holland comes back for the sequel, it’ll be one good sequel! As much as Holland is horrible, his story is so intriguing. Holland also being an Antari was interesting too, as there might only be two in existence. I think the fact that he was one wasn’t explored to its full capacity. Come on, let’s see more fights, more spells! I would love to see him come back for the sequel. 

If we are making our wishlists of what we want in the sequel now: Barron is alive and running the tavern, Ned gets his bit of earth, Lila is a successful pirate (and has earned the title THE SEA KING), Rhy and Kell go out drinking at least once, Kell gives up his black-market trading (I mean, has he learned nothing from the Stone?), and of course, number one wish would be Lila and Kell getting together. Schwab, please, make all that and more happen. Jackie, what’s on your sequel wishlist? 

Jackie: If Kell was going to do that in the sequel, I’d be thinking the whole time, “Didn’t you learn the first time Kell?” I have a feeling that in the books to come that we will see what else Athos had hidden in the White London castle. I’m sure there were other dangerous items he had stored away. 

I think after Holland was just trying to kill him not too long ago that Kell probably doesn’t have the same warm and fuzzy feelings for avoiding murder, especially for Holland. I don’t blame him, if I were in the book right now, Holland would be in the same situation Kell has him in now. 

Yeah, as much as Holland gave himself a bad rep, he is an interesting character, and perhaps if he came back in a less demented and evil manner, we could learn more about the Antari. I’m hoping that Schwab will revisit Holland and not fully kill him off. I’d like to get to know more about the Holland before the soul bonding...oh wait, which speaking of that, I don’t know if Holland has a chance to come back since he was soul bonded to the White London rulers. Yeah, I’m not so sure we will see him again since both the rulers are dead...I guess eventually we will find out. 

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Hmm...your sequel wishlist is interesting...I mean if all of your stuff were to happen, then I’m not sure what adventures they’d go on from there, but I’m sure Schwab has lots of tricks up her sleeve. 

On my sequel wishlist, I think I would also want Barron to come back; I’d want to see if Holland comes back, and if he does, what is the significance of the soul bond at that point; I would like to see Ned come back, but with vengeance for Kell, that would make things very interesting; for Lila, I think it would be cool if she had her own ship to call her own; Kell can keep doing his Black Market stuff as far as I’m concerned, it keeps things lively; and I think I’d like to see how Rhy is going to transition from being a prince to a king, and who his queen will be. 

Wow, my list just sounds like total destruction of Kell. 

Jeanna: Oh, no! Since Holland was soul bound to the White London rulers, he should have died, the moment the rulers had died. And yet, he didn’t. I feel like we are creating several more questions for Schwab that she will most likely not answer. Bringing Holland back would be awesome because then we would get to see him without the soul bond, so we would know that his actions would be his own.

I love your wishlist! It would be so strange seeing Ned looking for revenge since we had left him in this puppy dog state, waiting for the tavern to open so he could hopefully meet with Kell. And Kell doing his black-market stuff makes it “lively!” That is so precious. 

You know what will be awesome to see? I’ve already predicted a full-on war of White London to see who the new king or queen is. However, I wonder if the new king or queen will be any better than Athos and Astrid. Will history just repeat itself and keep giving White London the evillest royals ever? Something definitely will happen there.

Part 14: Chapter 2

I almost had a heart attack. Kell comes through to Red London and his arms, which once held Lila in White London, were empty. He tossed his Red London token away but a voice brought him out of his melancholy. LILA! She wasn’t stuck in White London after all. 

Since Schwab can’t waste one minute, the two can’t even get a decent hug in before they are rudely interrupted by the guards who are ordered to take them to the King and Queen. I’m surprised at how quickly they found them, considering it took forever to find Kell during the festivities earlier. Astrid had to even announce him missing before someone was able to locate him.

They are brought to the King and Queen where Kell explains the story of the Stone and Astrid and Athos’ plan to take over the world. Lila makes up a clever story on the spot which the King and Queen seem to buy for the time being. They are most concerned with their son, Rhy. Kell agrees to bring him home when the royal family releases their binds. 

Jackie: I KNOW! I was so worried about Lila, I thought she was gone for a good moment. 

Yeah, they can’t even get a good reunion session in before they are swept into more drama, yeesh! Can’t we get one scene of calm before everything hits the fan again? But, hey I guess that’s what made this story so interesting anyway.

I’m just so glad everything is starting to wrap itself up. Now, Kell can take his time in telling the Queen and King what had happened and then be done with the ending peak in the story. I’m sure they are wondering a ton about what is going on with Rhy and when he will be coming back, but at least they are satisfied with this story for the time being. 

Jeanna: I was ready to throw down the book if Lila hadn’t made it back. She would have been stuck in White London forever and that’s no place to live! No offense, of course, to the citizens of White London but it’s certainly not a place I would consider building a summer home. And despite what Lila thought, because she thought it would be fine if she was stuck in White London-- she’ll figure it out. I think we all know that it probably wouldn’t have been fine. The townspeople would get wind that Lila was one of the people to kill the rulers and she’d become a wanted criminal in no time. And something tells me they wouldn’t even give her a trial.

Thank you, Schwab, for letting Lila come back to Red London.

And what’s up with the guards’ arrival? That was so fast! Isn’t that a bit suspicious? All of these people of Red London had just dropped dead so sure, the guards may be out and about. But are there cameras in the sky? 

I loved the scene with the King and Queen. It’s the first scene we get with them in such a long time. The last time we saw the real King was when he goes to tell Kell that he has to send a message to White London. The last time we saw the Queen was when she insisted that Kell should call her “mother.” It’s been a long time. The only time Lila met the rulers of Red London was when they were being compelled by Astrid. Lila wastes no time here, telling them how it really went down with her and Kell. I thought she got super sassy! And I appreciated her even more for that - though, I must admit that I did suffer from second-hand embarrassment from how Lila conducted herself the whole time. Uh, Lila! You’re talking to the King and Queen here!

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However, when Kell cleared the air and took center stage, it seemed to run much smoother. And no one died or was kidnapped so I call that a good day! 

Jackie: I was freaking out about Lila too. If she had not made it I really don’t know what I would have done. 

Oh, actually I do know. I would have written Schwab a very strongly worded letter about my lack of approval of her character killing off choices. 

Yeah, I’m thinking that Lila would have been in trouble if she had gotten stuck there by herself. I mean, she doesn’t have the best people skills. Her most valuable skill is being able to kill those who oppose her or block her way to a goal she wants to complete. So, yeah, I think Lila would have definitely been in trouble there and would have been sent to die almost immediately. 

Yeah, I mean it’s a bit quick for them to be out and about so quickly, but then again like you said, they probably would already be outside due to all the bodies just lying around too. So, maybe it was a coincidence that they had arrived so quickly? I may be wrong, but with all the bodies everywhere, the guards were probably already around, so it wouldn’t have taken long to get to Kell and Lila. 

Yeah, I mean Lila has the social graces of hyena walking around with its kill still in its mouth. I mean, she is who she is, so I enjoyed the scene of sassy Lila talking with the King and Queen. I mean, I’m also guessing that since Lila was with Kell as they were talking to the King and Queen that the rulers assumed that Lila had something to do with their son not currently being dead, so maybe they just sucked it up for the time being since they knew she had helped out Kell, and in turn, Rhy. I loved her dialogue and thought it was hysterical, and so Lila. I mean she is a pirate that now has kind just helped to save Red London from being taken over by the Stone, Astrid, and Athos. I think she can afford some Lila sass. 

No one died today, HOORAY!!! 

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Jeanna: Lila was being Lila, that’s for sure. 

Do you think the King and Queen bought her story? Lila is very clever and comes up with this story that sounds very plausible, at the time. However, there are some questions about it, that I think will arise later on. At the time of their interrogation, the King and Queen seemed more interested in where their son was and if he was safe. Of course, they wanted to know what had happened, especially since they must have known that they were controlled by Astrid in some way. Kell is able to answer both immediate questions about White London and Rhy. And Lila is able to work an on-the-fly story about how she’s just from out of town and has known Kell and Kell asked for help. If the King and Queen were really paying attention, the story is a bit fishy. One, how can she speak perfect English if she’s not from around the city? Kell mentions something about that while Lila is lying. Two, Kell doesn’t seem to have too many friends. Actually, the only friend he does have is Rhy so it’s suspect that he never brought up Lila with anyone before. And three, Kell doesn’t seem to be the type to ask for help in anything.

What I am saying is: I think this story that she so cleverly spouts to the Red London rulers will come back to bite Lila sometime in the future. At some point, the rulers will not be distracted by White London or the safety of their son and will think how strange that girl, Lila, is. I wonder if Lila will get interrogated again by them in the sequel. 

Jackie: I think that maybe the King and Queen bought her story, and maybe not. I mean, the story is definitely fishy, don’t get me wrong, but I think the King and Queen have higher priorities right now. I mean, they want to know what happened for now, but probably more about Rhy and Kell’s well-being. I think that maybe in the sequel that this decision to lie to the rulers of Red London will come back to Lila in the form of karma. I have a feeling that in the sequel, if Lila is going to remain close to Kell and continue going on adventures, which I believe will definitely happen, that yeah, they will become more concerned about her role in all that happened with Rhy and how Lila came to be in their kingdom out of the blue. 

I’m sure that they will have a sit down with Kell and Rhy at first to determine what they know about Lila and where she really came from. As hinted at earlier in the book, if Lila possesses the magic powers that Kell’s mentor said that she did, then maybe this would be a turning point in that conversation. At that point, if she was a lost Antari, then that would change the whole perception about her in a second. Yeah, she would have still have been lying to them, but her story would have matched up more with what was going on if Lila tells them that in the sequel. 

Anyway, those are just ideas, but I’m interested what is to come of Lila in the sequel with all of this. Is she a lost Antari? If she is, and she learns the powers of one from Kell, does this mean she is supposed to protect Red London as well? How does all of that work in the politics of the different Londons? 

Jeanna: If she was a lost Antari, that would change everything. Would the King and Queen maybe offer her a position as a messenger, just like Kell? Would she go back to Grey London and become messenger for those royals? The questions are endless then - which is usually the case with V.E. Schwab.

Part 14: Chapter 3

RHY IS ALIVE! Schwab has brought someone back to life and I’m so glad it’s the adorable cupcake! The series would not be the same without Rhy. I mean, I’m going to believe that he did actually die when the Stone was dispelled. Maybe only for a moment, like a hiccup of time or something. In orienting to life without the Stone, it must have taken Rhy a moment to get his bearings, I suppose. So, he’s alive and on the mend.

The King and Queen have deemed Kell and Lila innocent of all charges but the townspeople are still a bit wary. Kell visits Rhy to get him up to speed on everything that has happened. It is confirmed, of what we had already suspected that, Holland had given him the compulsion necklace. Rhy had taken it for strength, believing that even without his lack of strength in magic, he could still be a strong king one day. Finally, Schwab answers that question. That’s one, a million more questions to go.

Lila barges into the room without any purpose. It seems she must have been looking for Kell because she says very little of note to Rhy besides some flirting. It was absolutely adorable! I cannot wait for more scenes with the three of them! This seemed like the classic reunion chapter where all the characters get together to chat about fantastic they feel to have survived the adventure. It was a nice change of pace. 

Jackie: I’m so happy Rhy is alive and back joking around with Kell. I don’t think I would have read the sequel if Rhy or Lila hadn’t made it through this whole journey that they all have been on. Honestly, I don’t think I would have even wanted to finish this book if they had both died. I think Rhy probably died for a moment there, but hey, he is alive and kicking!

Oh, my gosh. She finally answered one of our thousand questions that she set us up for in this book. At least we can say for sure now that Rhy kind of just wanted to be like Kell in the fact that Kell is strong with magic, so if Rhy could be promised “strength” from Holland, then he would be a strong king. I don’t blame Rhy for wanting to be a strong king, but man, could you go about that a bit differently in the sequel Rhy? I mean you almost died/did die and came back, like three times, Kell almost died like five times, Lila had a couple close encounters as well, and now Rhy is bound to Kell so that if one of them goes, they are both going down. Geeze Rhy, all that just for some so called “strength” from Holland. 

Oh, my gosh their little reunion session was so cute. It felt right to have this come up so we can see all the characters one last time before the last chapter of the book. I’m hoping these three musketeers can create some more adventures in the sequel, and we can enjoy the banter from all three of them on a journey together. That would be some comedy act. I’d pay money to see that. 

Also, I think Rhy could honestly flirt with a wall at this point. He never misses an opportunity, even when he is recovering from near death and has a soul bond. He is some character. 

Jeanna: I absolutely adore Rhy! Yes, he could flirt with a wall! He’s in his bedroom recovering and as soon as he sees Lila, his flirting switches turn on. I thought it was great that despite having just died, he was already cracking jokes and flirting. Classic Rhy. 

The three of them better join forces in the sequel. I need more scenes like this. The book will be so funny if Rhy kept flirting with everyone and everything. And, of course, we already know that Kell will be hunting down every stone in the land and testing it for Black London magic. And Lila better turn around that ship of hers and come back to the real ship of the book: Lila and Kell. That most definitely needs to happen in the sequel. 

I understand why Rhy wanted strength, feeling that he was lacking in magic. But next time, he should really consider talking to Kell or some other friends about his concerns. Like, you accept a magic necklace from Holland who doesn’t make unannounced visits. Holland would not be my first choice in accepting gifts/advice about how to best run the country on. Hopefully, like you said, Rhy has learned his lesson. He should hire an official gift opener, in case any more gifts are a bit strange. 

Part 14: Chapter 4

If the last chapter was the classic reunion chapter, this chapter is certainly the classic ‘until next time’ chapter. It was such a nice conclusion. There wasn’t a horrible cliffhanger here. And I was most definitely expecting one from Schwab. By the end of the chapter, I felt content. Even though there’s still a list of questions I have for Schwab, I can’t deny that in this last chapter, it concluded the book very well.

Happy How I Met Your Mother GIF

Lila can’t stay in the palace long. Since she created such a story to the royal family, they believe her to be just visiting anyway. There was going to come a time that she had to say goodbye. And that time was now. Kell walks her to the docks but saying goodbye is always hard to do among friends. For the occasion, he got her a present. In the reflection of Tieren’s words, there is magic in Lila so Kell gifts her the magic box we had seen from the beginning. It is usually a children’s toy but it does help magic users hone their magic element, whatever that may be. I’m looking forward to see Lila getting the box to work. And hopefully, with that, her being the an Antari will come to fruition.

Kell believes that their paths will cross again. We know they probably will too. The way he describes Lila as a fixed point is gorgeous. So cute! They part then and Lila makes her way along the docks alone. She takes stock of the ships there and picks out one just for her. 

Jackie: Yeah, I agree that this was a nice chapter, and there were no horrible cliffhangers at the end. I still have like thousands of questions for Schwab, but for now, I am content in the answers we have been given. 

Yeah, I figured Lila would be itching to leave and start a new adventure in Red London. I was so excited to find out the gift Kell had gotten her, I was like, this must be our hint that her magic powers are definitely going to come into play in the sequel. I know that this goodbye must have been hard, but I believe that all of these awesome characters will be back again in the next book. I really can’t wait to see what becomes of Lila in the next book, I hope you were right about her being a lost Antari. 

I loved the way that this ended with Lila scouting out and going after the ship that she had wanted for her adventures. I can’t wait to see how she re-enters herself in the sequel, maybe it will be docking in on her pirate ship to meet up with Kell and Rhy. I just can’t wait to see what comes of these three. 

Jeanna: As much as Schwab left us with a boatload of questions, I wonder if A Darker Shade of Magic was originally meant to be a standalone. It doesn’t really set up the sequel in any significant way. Of course, we have so many questions. And we definitely want to know more about Lila and what sort of powers she has. Yet, with the sort of ending Schwab gives us, it doesn’t really give any hints as to what the sequel will be about.

It will be interesting to see how the sequel begins and how Schwab will set everything out. How much time has passed since this book and that book? Will Lila be a pirate, terrorizing everyone and making a name for herself? Will Kell go back to working on the Black Market? I don’t even think we have to ask what Rhy will be up to because I bet he’s going to go back to being himself like always, adorable as usual. 

Since there are minimal hints on what the sequel will be about, it’s hard to say what adventure they will go on and what conflicts they will face: though, I predicted a while ago, judging by the title, A Gathering of Shadows, that there may be a gathering of Shadows. The Shadows were the group of people who had kidnapped Rhy. However, Kell believed that he had murdered them all so it’ll be an interesting turn of events to see if the group returns in some way. 

Jackie: I think that Schwab may have done that on purpose. Like design this book to have several open-ended questions, and only answer a few at a time. I mean she remembered the details with Rhy and Holland, and to explain that to the audience of readers. I think she just wanted us to suffer to be honest. 

Yeah, I’m excited to see what features and questions they will address from this book and bring into the next one. Like, who will be our new side characters? Is Ned coming back for Kell? I’m sure he has some beef with him you know, and Schwab briefly re-entered him into the book for that short chapter, so she hasn’t forgotten about him. 

John Cleese Aliens GIF

Yeah, I agree with your prediction. I mean, the way Schwab left it, there are so many unanswered questions with much adventure to come, I’m sure. So she kind of has a lot, in my opinion, to work with and to design as she wants. Which will be awesome, but so frustrating at the same time. 

Jeanna: She could go anywhere with adding a new slew of characters. Lila would have to hire a crew to help with her ship. Kell needs a new hang out since Holland destroyed the tavern he frequented. Rhy will need to celebrate his birthday again, since he missed it the first time, of course. 

Also, didn’t the Stone infect Grey London too? I know Booth died because he wasn’t a very good vessel. However, didn’t Booth infect others? Is there a chance that the Stone’s power may still be at large in Gray London?

By ending it this way, you are entirely right that she could do whatever she wants. It reminds me of this book I read last year where the first book ended with this magic spell that reversed time so literally the whole book that I had just read didn’t happen. In the sequel, the author had a complete clean slate to work the characters the way she wanted. Schwab does something not exactly similar but close-enough in that we know the characters now and we care about them. She doesn’t have to explain the logistics of the world to us and she can go wherever she wants. I wonder if we’ll make it to Black London in the sequel. That would be interesting to see the place that was only discussed in this book. 

Jackie: I’m still not clear on this whole Stone thing, to be honest. I’m thinking that maybe Schwab will never tell us the full story on it. I guess maybe in the sequel Schwab will bring us back to Grey London to check in with the characters there. 

Yeah, I would love to see them talk about and go to Black London on one of their adventures.

Maybe Lila, if she is a lost Antari, and discovers her powers, maybe she will want to repopulate Black London and be the Antari protecting that London. I could see her being there since there is mystery behind Black London, and there is still mystery to Lila, she would fit in well. 

Jeanna: Lila in Black London?! That sounds amazing! I wonder if they’ll end up opening the doors so all the people of London can once again find peace among each other. And Kell could stop playing mailman.

I guess there’s really only one way to see if all our predictions come true. And that’s to read the next book, A Gathering of Shadows, which is thankfully already released! 

Final Thoughts of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Jeanna: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab was so amazing! It is definitely worth all the hype and more. This may turn out to be the favorite book I’ve read all year. It has everything for everyone. It keeps you on your toes. It kills you every five seconds but makes you feel alive all the same. The story is well-structured and keeps you guessing about everything. The story is CRAZY with a wonderful cast of characters. These characters are incredibly well-written. I feel like I could become immediate friends with Lila, Kell and Rhy from the very beginning. The settings of the different Londons are so distinct. There is just so much to rave about this book. 

Jackie: This book...A Darker Shade of Magic was amazing! I did not know about all the hype surrounding the book, but I knew that if Jeanna had picked this book to do the discussion around that, it must be a good pick. I thought that the characters were well developed, and their choices and actions lined up with their back story and general personality. Although I was complaining A LOT about there being a lot of mystery to this book, I was very satisfied with it, overall. The mystery in this book makes you want to keep reading until the end, and then go get the next books in the series. All in all, I give this book five out of five music boxes. 

This concludes the discussion of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. What did you think?

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