A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab Series: Shades Of Magic (Book #1) Published by: Tor Books Date of Publication: February 24th, 2015 Genres: Adult Fantasy Pages: 400 Format: Hardcover (I own) Rating:★★★★ (4.5 stars)
Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.
Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.
I’ve owned a copy of A Darker Shade Of Magic for quite some time now and finally decided it was time to see what all the hype is about surrounding a certain author by the name V.E. Schwab. I can now say that I’ve read a Schwab book & that the hype is well deserved. The writing is flawless (at least in my opinion) and at times gave me Brandon Sanderson Mistborn vibes which is a VERY good thing (again, at least in my opinion lol). This was a fast paced read that takes place in parallel London’s. There are four London’s however, we only get to see three of the four through Kell who is one of the last remaining Antari. I found the world building & magic system to be one of the best I’ve read in a long time. We learn about all of the different London’s as well as how the magic works & the commands used for specific spells. We also get introduced to DeLilah Bard aka Lila who is best known as a thief with ambitions of becoming a pirate (just as soon as she can steal herself a ship). Kell & Lila’s paths cross and our adventure begins.
“Lila Bard lived by a simple rule: if a thing was worth having, it was worth taking.”
― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic
I gave ADSOM a 4.5 stars as opposed to the full 5 because I wanted more character development. We get some background on Kell throughout the book however, Lila’s back story only starts to surface towards the last few chapters at which point we learn something that Lila herself is unaware of (this alone makes me want AGOS lol). Based off of the last few chapters, i’m hoping that we will get character development in A Gathering Of Shadows (Shades Of Magic #2). I’m also looking forward to hopefully *fingers crossed* getting to see Black London which has been sealed off from the rest of the London’s including the Antari. Being that I thoroughly enjoyed V.E. Schwab’s writing style and world building, it’s safe to say that i’ll be reading the rest of the series and checking out her other books.