Reader Review: A Darker Shade Of Sorcery – Will Collins
Darker Shade Of Sorcery: ★★★
When I was first sent the description of the plot of this book, it definitely did catch my attention pretty quickly. Admittedly, it’s not the most original premise, but I was interested in how this rendition of the idea had been constructed and how well the idea was developed. Therefore, in exchange for a review, I offered to be sent the book to read it, and I, honestly, sped through it in a way I didn’t expect.
The book follows two main teenage characters – Evan and Brooke – as they find out that they’re revealed to be ‘demon hunters’ and are given the chance to attend a training school that will allow them to hone their magical abilities and progress through the ranks of the school. Throughout the plot, relationships are formed and tested, secrets are revealed, and they discover details about their own lives which, effectively, turn their worlds upside down even further.
As I said, I found the premise and the plot interesting from the get-go. I didn’t go into reading the book with high hopes, I wasn’t actually expecting all that much, but I wanted to explore this version of a rather well-known idea to a further extent.
Starting the book, I felt that you got a good idea of the general premise and the opening was definitely interesting and immersive. The readers are able to get a good idea of the main character fairly quickly, which helps them feel involved. As the story quickens, the pace isn’t too slow but it’s not rushed either – so it’s rather easy to read, follow, and maintains attention well. This is something that continues throughout the book as the plot grows and changes – and it’s quite nice to see the time progression take a steady pace without the story growing tiresome.
Another aspect of the book that I liked as I read through the story further were the descriptions. I thought that the descriptions were indeed immersive and go that definitely drew and pinpointed the reader’s attention to the details more specifically. When the action picks up in the book, it’s definitely written in a captivating way, so it feels dramatic rather than just feeling two dimensional and boring.
I did have issues with the book, however, and, as I said, this is mainly linked to the way that the plot has been constructed. Throughout the story, there are definitely some stereotypical tropes that seem rather ‘copy and pasted’. What I mean is that re-using well-known tropes is completely fine, though, in the case of this novel, they haven’t been developed and expanded independently enough. Due to this, some of the plot points were predictable and weren’t all that surprising when they were meant to be because they became expected. The world is, without a doubt, developed, but there’s still a lot of potential for it to be explored and built up further, which may appear to be achieved the following books. Some of the names of the characters, actions, and creatures sound rather generic in the sense that they’re not all that creative – so at times that is also off-putting. Referring back to the fact that it feels like the tropes haven’t been expanded enough for this story itself, I kept getting the feeling that it was a story aiming for a mixture of ideas taken from Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments, though I also felt as if was aimed at younger child audiences (definitely younger than my own age which is 18). The plot wavered because some elements were meant to take the reader off guard more than they actually did – the shock factor was too reliant on typical tropes at certain points.
When it comes to the characters themselves, I wasn’t really able to bond or get to know any of them. I didn’t feel like they were developed to the point where I wanted to get to know them, but, again, there’s definitely potential there because there’s evident depth on the surface. Brooke was written like she was largely based off of a typical ‘quirky’ teenage girl trope – throwing in random facts like her being a gamer but not developing that or having that play a part to the detail made her feel more two dimensional. The characters were rather plain compared to the potential of the story, so that could be expanded on or improved.
Another thing I didn’t enjoy about the book was the use of romance subplots. This could be due to my own personal taste and preference, but I felt like the ‘romance’ was being forced into a story which didn’t need any romance at all. It didn’t expand the plot or make it more interesting, and I found myself wanting to ignore the ‘romance’ subtext as much as possible. It didn’t feel real or authentic and I wasn’t interested in the relationship dynamics either. It just didn’t feel required of the story.
However, with all that being said, the book definitely leaves the reader with unanswered questions. We know there’s more to the story, so there’s further incentive to expand the plot, the characters, and the world through the continuation of the series.
To put it simply; despite the book having a somewhat unoriginal premise, it hasn’t been constructed badly. The pacing and descriptions of the book are immersive and there’s absolutely a lot of potential for it. Though the premise makes use of too many tropes that seem ‘copy and pasted’ rather than being points that have been independently expanded and developed. This makes the story feel unoriginal, even though it doesn’t need to come across that way. The series definitely has a lot of elements to it that will interest younger readers, and the read was an enjoyable one overall. It was fun to experience this take on the idea.
Thanks for reading and I’ll write you later.
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, or just a general fan of kicking demon ass, check out this series.
If you have a knack for wishing you had all the abilities of a sorcerer like I do, give this book a shout – you may be pleasantly surprised.