Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab


Publication: February 24th 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages:  398 pages
Source: Bookmobile
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, Adult
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤⛤

Magic, thieves, and three different London’s (well, four, but we don’t talk about that last one). These are all aspects of the world V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, but there’s also so much more.

A Darker Shade of Magic follows Kell, one of only two people part of a dying race of magicians, the Antari, magicians who can travel to parallel universes. There’s Grey London, with little to no magic, White London, a world where magic is taken and controlled  by any violent means possible, Red London, Kell’s London, which thrives with magic, and Black London, a myth, a nightmare, a world consumed and lost to magic.

Kell has been adopted by the royals of Red London to deliver letters and news to the parallel London’s and see how each of the worlds (save Black) is doing. While Kell enjoys his job as ambassador, he feels lost, and begins smuggling and trading objects from the different worlds to people of the different worlds, an illegal hobby which Kell finds out for the worst when he finds a black stone that hums with dark and evil power which dangerous people want to have at any cost. Kell flees to Grey London and finds Lila Bard, a pickpocket and wannabe pirate who he forms an unlikely partnership with in hopes of getting the stone back where it belongs: Black London.

As seen from my tiny synopsis, A Darker Shade of Magic has a lot going on in it. But even though the story follows the stories of many characters, and works to establish the pasts and motivations of these characters, it never feels rushed or dragged. Learning about the histories of these characters, these London’s, these worlds is exciting. Usually when a book follows more than one character, one character’s story is more interesting than the other’s, but in the case of Kell and Lila they were both interesting. Maybe it’s because they were so different. Kell comes from a world of magic and learning about the world(s) of magic through him was interesting for reader’s to understand the world he’s from. Lila though is also interesting, though she comes from Grey London (our London), a world without magic, it was interesting reading about her life as a thief, her dreams of becoming a pirate, and what happened when she was introduced to the world of magic.

Kell and Lila were both incredibly interesting characters, and I loved how they contrasted each other and how that made them a perfect team. The Dane Twins were also interesting. I loved the imagery and colours (or lack of) associated with them, and how twisted and cunning they both were.

I also really like Holland. I want to know more about the other rare Antari. Despite what happened at the end of the novel, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the beginning of what I’m sure will be an amazing book series that will bring in more people to the world of magic, and endless possibilities.



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