Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor – Tom Doherty Associates)
Published: 24 February 2015
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
“It belongs in Black London,” he said. “I have to take it back.” – A Darker Shade of Magic
If you ask my friends and family what my favorite place in the world is the answer would most likely be London. This book lets me traverse through three very different versions of my favorite place. I loved every second of this crazy ride.
In A Darker Shade of Magic, Bell finds himself in trouble when an artifact of Black London falls into his hands. The artifacts presence proceeds to wreak havoc for Kell. The story follows Kell, as he races to save his city, Red London, while bearing the weight of his foolishness. Along the ride is Grey Londoner, Delilah Bard, whose thieving ways proceed to give her the perfect escape from the life she wants to leave behind.
I truly fell in love with this story. I would have thought it capable of being a stand-alone novel if I hadn’t already known it was a trilogy. The story held its own. I love to read books with elemental magic, and this book is steeping in it like a well brewed cup of tea. The magic in this story was perfectly executed for me. I appreciated its intricacies, but at the same time appreciated how simple it was to understand and follow.
Another plus for me were the settings and imagery. The settings brought you deeper into the story because you spend a decent amount of time running around each London with our protagonists. V.E. Schwab’s beautiful depictions bring you seamlessly through one London and into the next, whilst showing the beauty and terror of each city. The world building was truly incredible and I can’t wait to dive right back into this series with book two, A Gathering of Shadows, and book three, A Conjuring of Light.
I’m so glad I finally picked this book up off my shelf. My suggestion is that if you love magical and dangerous adventures that you give this book a read. I don’t think you will be disappointed!
Thanks for reading this review and my blog! I’ll write to you all again soon!
Kimberly – Whimsical Narratives