A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Kell is one of the last Travelers — magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring without any magic, and with one mad king – George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered – and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London – a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpse of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, then 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.
First Sentence: Kell wore a very peculiar coat.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher and author in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Before I got my hands on a A Darker Shade of Magic, I would have sold my soul to get the book in my hands. Vicious was one of my favorite books of 2013 and I just knew that A Darker Shade of Magic would also be one of my top favorite books of 2015 too – obviously. Add that gorgeous cover into the mix and I also automatically knew that A Darker Shade of Magic would get at least a four star rating from me – and I was right. A Darker Shade of Magic is definitely one of my favorite books of 2015.
The first seventy-three pages or so of A Darker Shade of Magic was filled with world-building and slowly introduced us to the characters’ background. We steadily learn more about the different Londons Kell can go to, the background of those Londons, and how they came to be the way they currently are. After the first seventy-three pages or so, Schwab continues to slowly give us more information about the world-building here and there throughout the book, but not as much as before.
…but she’d made a decision not to use the magic again, not unless she had no other choice. It took too much, and did so with the quiet cunning of a thief. No, if there were another way in, she’d find it. (283)
The characters in A Darker Shade of Magic were well-written and full of personality. Kell was steady and daring while Lila was rash, yet she slowly grows on you as you read on. However, I do have a minor issue with one particular character in A Darker Shade of Magic, specifically Rhy. Rhy is portrayed as a guy that everyone can’t help but love and the beloved prince of Red London. However, I feel like I barely got to even know Rhy – he played such a minor part in the book in my opinion. What little parts he played didn’t make him “beloved,” in my eyes, but more like “annoying” and a little bit too playful for my taste. Hopefully that’ll change in the sequel.
Let’s not forget about all the feels A Darker Shade of Magic bought out of me. While reading A Darker Shade of Magic, you could either find me being totally engrossed in the book, panicking like crazy, crying out “my feeeeeeeeeeeeels!”, or going on twitter and typing up a tweet about WHAT IS HAPPENING, only to delete it before tweeting it out. A Darker Shade of Magic pretty much crushed my feels. I wanted to read on to know WHAT WILL HAPPEN and also not want to read on at the same time because I just couldn’t handle all of the feels! You’ll get exactly what I mean once you read A Darker Shade of Magic yourself. By the way, that’s also a strong hint for you to read it asap so we can talk about it. So, yeah, go on, read it. -waves you away-
“Please,” Kell gasped, breath ragged. The dark stain beneath him was spreading too fast. “Don’t…do this.” (174)
Overall, WHERE IS THE SEQUEL. I NEEEEED IT. I have theories about what will happen next and hopefully I am proven wrong because I like it when authors manage to catch me off guard, which is not often. As for you, I demand you go out and snag yourself a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic. It is everything you could ever want in a book, trust me.