October mini-reviews

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade final for Irene

Keywords: four different Londons (AKA worlds), adventuring, Lila: an aspiring pirate who is stubborn, brave, and bold, Kell: a magician who is kind and loyal and owns an awesome coat
Last sentence: That one’ll do.
As you probably have too, I’ve heard so many good things about this series, but because I didn’t like V. E. Schwab’s This Savage Song, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But all my doubts were completely destroyed by the first page. Actually, more like the first two sentences.
“Kell wore a very peculiar coat. It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.”
Isn’t that AMAZING?? This is a perfect example of the type of writing I love: sometimes plain, sometimes complex, and always quirky. Also, did you know that V. E. Schwab is a pseudonym? And on Goodreads it says that the books authored by Victoria Schwab are young adult and the books by V. E. Schwab are adult. A Darker Shade of Magic doesn’t seem like an adult book to me, but explains so much. The only reason I didn’t like This Savage Song was because the writing style was too simple, but it was because she was writing for a younger audience. (Dang, if that’s true, I feel like my intelligence is being insulted.) I have to say, I do like my long sentences. (Unless they’re boring and confusing. Then no thanks.)

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay


Keywords: two cursed princes (one of whom is actually a princess), fairytale retelling, a prophecy, orges
Last sentence: “I think that can be arranged.”
Thoughts: This book’s plot includes the “girl pretends to be a guy” trope which is one of my favorites. (Along with hate to love relationships.) Just like A Darker Shade of Magic, this book was hard to put down. Wait, the two books actually share a bunch of similarities. Both sets of characters have something that the antagonists want. Both sets of characters are being hunted down non-stop until they finally reach a safe haven in the later part of the book. But then they leave. Of course. Because they all have to go save the world and stuff. Or in Lila and Kell’s case, saving the worlds, plural.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi


Keywords: memoir, surgeon, the heavy questions of life, tragedy, hope
Last (two) sentence(s): When you come to one of the many moments of life where you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing. (Me: OH MY GOODNESS THAT IS SO SWEET.)
Thoughts: When Breath Becomes Air did not come into the world quietly. I would say that it’s a well known book, and I still managed to get it mixed up with Into Thin Air, which is about a failed Everest expedition. This book was everything people said it was going to be, but I couldn’t get into it. It’s a reflection on living and dying and the journey from one to another and here I am, worrying about whether or not I’m going to get points counted off for having opaque cytoplasm in my animal cell model. I can see that it is good, but it is not for me right now.


My mom bought candy for Halloween, and turns out, she really likes Snickers. People in my grade are having a party, but I’m not going because homework, of course. I realize that I’ve kind of turned into a hermit. Which might be part of the normal human growth process. Are you celebrating today in any way? And drinking hot chocolate and watching Stranger Things counts.

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