This weeks blog is going to feature two of my favorite things: chocolate and fantasy fiction. I actually did make time to bake this week, even if it was stress baking and I put other stuff off to get it all done. It was slightly challenging considering all I got was “dark chocolate” which isn’t necessarily a dessert in and of itself, but I made it work! So this week we’re having some dark chocolate fudge merlot cupcakes!
These cupcakes were surprisingly easy to make and have been well received so far! I was able to do most of it without the standing mixer and I only needed it for the icing. The recipe comes from Jessica Merchant’s blog, how sweet it is, which I’ll link below. But yeah! I used a cake flour in place of Merchant’s all purpose just because it usually makes for a lighter and less crumbly cupcake in my experience. With the one that Kathy and I taste tested last night this was not the case but they were still warm and it probably didn’t help that I shoved my thumb in it for a temperature test before I put icing on them. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
Now, about the book! I love this book. I feel like I say that every week but to be fair I try not to pick books that I don’t think I’ll like and I guess I’ve just been lucky so far. This is another book that I am super happy that I bought for this blog. This book and I actually have a little bit of history in the sense that I’ve been looking at it for over six months. Its cover always caught my eye when I went into Barnes and Nobel and it was the book that I would carry around the story for thirty minutes, sure that this would be the trip where I would actually bring it home, but I would ultimately put it back in favor of something else. Having finished it this song and dance was such a waste of time! It’s a great book! The only silver lining to this whole thing is now the whole trilogy is published so I can power read the last two books at the end of the semester!
So A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book of the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. She actually just recently got featured in The Times, which I thought was super convenient, and she just seems like a really cool lady. She told Gregory Cowles from the Times that “This series is my love letter to Harry Potter” and I think that statement says a lot about the series as a whole. I’ll link the brief article below for anyone who is interested.
So the premise is that there are multiple Londons: faded Grey, vibrant Red, dying White, and dead Black. While the nature of these worlds is incredibly different they are all geographically the same and have the same name. While in the past the doors between these worlds were open to anyone with the power to pass through after the fall of Black London the doors were forced closed and only a select few, the Antari, were allowed to pass between on official royal business. This first novel follows Kell, an Antari of red London who feels out of place and restless. Amidst his royal errands, he also has a habit of smuggling items across the borders, something that is strictly forbidden, fancying himself a collector of sorts. But when a powerful item falls into his possession on accident, it threatens to overthrow the carefully maintained balance between worlds. While facing unforeseen challenges and making unlikely allies, Kell has to face the dangers of all three Londons in order to fight his way back to the fourth in a desperate attempt to maintain the peace.
This book has great pacing and it grabs your attention and keeps it the whole time. The characters are wonderful, and while they initially seemed kind of tropey in terms of fantasy fiction I think that Schwab has left a lot of room for them to grow in the next two books. I enjoyed the world building as well because you can note the subtle similarities throughout the Londons but their differences are stark and vibrant as Schwab works to engage all the senses through her writing. The concept behind the novel is just really well crafted and interesting and the way that Schwab chose to handle the magic in her worlds was also fascinating. I just really enjoyed this book, it was great and you guys should read it if you get the chance.
Well, I guess that’s it from me for now? Prynne’s good, works good, everything is going smoothly (knock on wood). So yeah- get outta here. Go enjoy the beautiful day and read a book, eat something you like, pet a dog, and I’ll harrass you all next week. Thanks for reading!