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The Silver Witch & A Darker Shade of Magic

Hi Guys, will have a couple new posts coming shortly. Been working on a Pokemon display I’ve been coerced into doing and running a fun STEAM activity later today that I’ll report on at somepoint.

In the meantime, another Thursday book review. Two books for you today. I was originally only going to review A Darker Shade of Magic but I just finished The Silver Witch and I have thoughts. So here goes…

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston is the first book I’ve read from this author. It is a standalone and a quick read. A semi-historical fictional novel with a good heaping of magic thrown in. Just what I like.

The Silver Witch  is written from two points of view. The first is Tilda, a ceramic artist who moves to the Welsh countryside a year after witnessing her husbands tragic death. Living in a secluded cabin on the other side of a lake town, Tilda hopes to deal with her grief and find a measure of peace. But Tilda is drawn to the lake, despite her fear of water, and weird things start happening. Tilda is plagued by visions and apparitions. She feels different by the lake, like a part of her is waking up for the first time.

Our second narrator is Saren, a witch and shaman of Celtic times. Saren’s story is one of duty, betrayal, bravery and love. Saren is a seer and her visions foretell the ruin of the community she serves and the man she loves. Can Saren avert her visions?

These two stories merge as Tilda puts aside her grief and explores the magic of the lake and the mysteries it holds.

Okay, so I liked the story a lot. It was right up my alley–magic, bits of history, some romance, mystery. Great. But there were a lot of things the story introduced that could have been really great twists or accompaniments, that weren’t actually dealt with at all. And yet there were a lot of things that were really thought out; the ancestry connections, the bits and pieces that crossed over from Saren’s time to Tilda’s. And there were parts that definitely kept me guessing.

Spoilers—Here is one of my peeves about the story–readers, let me know if you thought this too? Brackston introduced the character Lucas and made it seem like he would be a big part of the story. The way he “analysed” Tilda when others would look away; the animosity between Dillon and Lucas over Tilda; even the way Thistle (Tilda’s dog) would cuddle up to Lucas and growl at Dillon. Dillon’s “ease” of understanding Tilda’s powers; how quickly he entwines himself into her life. I honestly though Dillon was going to be evil in some way and that Brackston was setting up Lucas to save the day. Instead the character of Lucas is just dropped and never mentioned again. I guess, my problem is that we were given several story arcs to think about that I was left questioning.

Overall, I did like the story. Brackston did a great job meshing past and present, while giving us a bit of history and satisfying our need for action. It was a good book, but one I kept thinking up alternate story-lines.


I was super hesitant to read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. The whole story appealed to me. I’d read Vicious and enjoyed it. But several of the reviewers I follow had mixed feelings, so I put it off. In the end I gave it a go and it was alright. I sort of have mixed feelings toward it.

A Darker Shade of Magic is a fantasy of an alternate London, well several alternate London’s each differing in varying degrees. There is Grey London, dirty and dull with no magic to speak of; kind of reminiscent of the dark ages. There is Red London, where magic flourishes and the city thrives. There is White London, where magic is sought after and where magic fights back, draining the city and all it’s inhabitants. And finally, there is Black London, which has been cutoff and sealed for it’s corruption and all associations with it has been destroyed.

These four London’s were once connected by doorways, which were all locked once Black London’s corruption became too much. Now only rare traveling blood-magicians can traverse the realms, acting as liaisons and messengers. Kell is the messenger for Red London and adopted son to the king and queen. On one of his missions dark magic falls into his hands and he is forced to go on the run. While attempting to stay ahead of his pursuers Kell runs into Delilah, a grey worlder with a lost past and slippery fingers. Together they must stay alive and in doing so, keep their worlds alive as well.

This book has such a great concept. Alternate, but connected worlds; each different and greedy for what they don’t have. The world building was great. Like Vicious the pace was a little quick, with a lot of the action happening in quick bursts. The characters were OK. I liked Kell by the end but Delilah was a little irritating, although I think she will get more dynamic in books to come.

I think what was missing for me in this book was that I wasn’t quite invested in the characters… yet. This book is a trilogy and I think we are going to get a lot more depth in the subsequent books. I hope.

Ultimately, I had low expectations for this book due to the varying reviews. But it turned out to be a fine read and hopefully a good series. We’ll just have to wait and find out.

That’s all for today!


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