May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

young-adulters-book-club-a-darker-shade-of-magicOh, guys. Guys, guys, guys. I have failed as your leader again. I could not finish this book. I promised myself a long time ago that I would not waste my time with books I wasn’t enjoying, but I tried. I tried so hard. I just…didn’t care. Couldn’t care. In the slightest. I’d read five pages and just stare at it, thinking, But why is nothing happening? 

Some of my thoughts:

  • I was deeply disappointed by my inability to get into this book because the premise is so good. Four Londons, all stacked on top of each other, all with a vastly different relationship with magic that plays out in myriad, unpredictable ways? Fascinating! A pair of magical individuals, night and day of each other, but with the same abilities and the same goal? Compelling! But in execution, it just left so much to be desired. By page 170, which is nearly halfway through the book, nothing had happened. NOTHING.
  • I wish I could have connected with Lila as a character. Intrepid, brazen, convention-breaking female? Everything I love. But she just felt so flat to me. Like, she wanted to get out. But that was it. What else did she want? I couldn’t get a read on her, I didn’t feel that blazing, burning, wanting from her. All of the characters felt like cardboard cutouts to me, actually. Except for, funny enough. Rhy, who was barely in the book (at least the part that I read) at all. He seemed real to me. Genuine. Like I could reach out and touch him. But he was the only one.
  • There wasn’t enough information about Black London for me to feel interested in their journey there. There was a vague sense of foreboding, but that was about it. Oh, boy, there’s a stone and we have to take it back. ….Oh…kay?
  • It got a little bit more interesting once Lila and Kell had gone from Grey London to Red London. Particularly the bits where Lila was lost and alone, trying to find her way in this strange new place, with no idea at all of the ways and customs of the place that she had stumbled into. Still. It wasn’t enough to hold my attention.

I am, however, looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Perhaps there will be something in them to convince me to continue and finish the book. Is anyone going to go ahead and read the second one? Let the discussion begin in the comments below!

Also, make sure you vote for June’s book selection here.

May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

7 thoughts on “May Discussion: A Darker Shade of Magic

  1. Jeri says:

    I am struggling to finish this book for all the reasons Jessica has mentioned. It just isn’t appealing to me on any level. I have 79 more pages to go and I will probably not bother to finish as I feel like Jessica has given me permission. Thanks Jessica!

    I would like to suggest “The outside circle : a graphic novel” by Patti LaBoucane-Benson for the next read.

    1. It’s funny, Jeri, because it was YOU who gave ME permission to stop reading books I didn’t like way back when I was in 9th grade. So I guess I’m just returning the favor! 😉

      That is a GREAT suggestion! I was thinking yesterday that I’d love to read a graphic novel or two for book club, and here you are suggesting one. It’s like fate!

  2. shaun says:

    I actually quite enjoyed the novel, and I raced through this one. I also loved the second in the series, perhaps even more. I found the lack of information about the black London more enticing to me as it gave it a stronger sense of mystery. I, like you didn’t find myself finding a lot of depth in the characters, but I also didn’t find it necessary. For me, I find that in novels of this style, or where the world is vastly different from our own, the belief in the world trumps the need to develop the characters immediately, and it being a trilogy, I think you can grow and evolve the characters’ depth over time. But, you must commit to the environment and the circumstances surrounding them, because, without that, even the strongest characters won’t matter. There are obvious tropes throughout and many of the plot points are predictable and cliché, but I found it to be an enjoyable read, and I am looking forward to the third in the series.

    1. Buy in is definitely important in fantasy novels and I found I just couldn’t buy into this one. I don’t really know why, as the world was certainly fully fleshed out. Something just didn’t click for me.

      As well, character is absolutely essential for me. It doesn’t matter how much I buy into a world if I don’t care about the characters! I know not everyone is like that, but it certainly affects my reading experience.

      I am glad that you enjoyed the books! It kind of sucks when it feels like everyone disliked the month’s selection, haha.

  3. Carlia says:

    I was really excited for this read as another friend on goodreads gave it 5 stars and raved about it. I’m just over half through and i’ll probably finish it but i’m no where near in love with this book. I’m sensing something brewing between Rhy, Lila and Kell but again only being half-way through I could be completely wrong, and ugh please not another love triangle. I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series, I’ll have to see how this book ends.

  4. Valerie says:

    I did finish the book but I was tempted many times not to. I didn’t realize it was a trilogy. Perhaps the next books ‘go’ where this book just didn’t for me. LIke our last book, I just couldn’t get into the characters, and for me, that is where it is at. Even good plot suffers from bad characters although the read may still be enjoyable.
    I did like the characters. I guess I just wanted to cheer for them and I found myself not really doing that.
    The love triangle does seem to be a theme that runs through these YA books; even if it is subtle.

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