A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic is a book that already has a ridiculous amount of hype, which is kind of crazy since the book only came out a few months ago. Everyone seems to have loved this book and well, if you came to my blog looking for the black sheep review, I'm sorry but you're out of luck. I adored this book just as much as everyone else! I was swept away by it's alternate Londons, each more wondrous than the last. I fell in love with it's characters, and found myself captivated by the heroes and villains alike. The story was fresh, exciting and beyond imaginative. And the magic? Well, the magic was unlike anything I've encountered before. And being an avid fantasy reader, that is saying something. All I know is that I need more. Even more than the two expected sequels, I'm talking about needing a whole mess of sequels. Yup, this is a world I could spend all my time exploring.
A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Published February 24th 2015 by Tor Books
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby 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 another world for her 'proper adventure'.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.
Admittedly, A Darker Shade of Magic felt a little confusing to me at first. All the alternate Londons were described in such an offhand way by our main character Kell, that I was worried I'd never get them sorted. Have no fear though, because things fall into place soon enough - and that's where the amazing stuff kicks in. See, as one of the last travelers, Kell's ease in describing all of the alternate Londons makes sense, since he's one of the only people who can travel between worlds. As soon as the reader catches on to what makes each London unique, all you have to do then is strap yourself in and enjoy the ride! At the start of the book, Kell already makes his way through Grey London, Red London and White London, so the reader gets to experience all of them first hand, along with him. Then it becomes easier to see what sets each world apart, which one feels the most familiar, which one you'd give anything to visit, and which one scares the living daylights out of you.
As the titular character, Kell is exactly what I look for in a hero, because he's not looking to be a hero. He's content to go about his royal duties delivering correspondences between Londons, and smuggling the occasion item from one world to the next for collectors and whatnot. Basically, he's a good guy who like to play by his own rules *swoon* But, when his antics get him in a big mess of trouble, he never falters, not for one second. He has a strong moral compass and he knows that if he got himself into this mess, he's the one who must fix it, whatever the cost. Luckily for him, Lila shows up just around that time - to rob him - but then that she sticks around to help him out of one tight spot, and then another, until they're as thick as thieves -pardon my pun. Lila is an interesting character in her own right. When we meet her, it's a little hard to connect with her, mostly because she's probably spent her entire life putting up a front to scare people off. As the story moves forward though, she proves herself time after time and it didn't take long for me to warm up to her. She's got a smart mouth, a fiery spirit and the way she and Kell play off one another is a whole lot of fun.
Plot-wise, A Darker Shade of Magic delivers, and then some. It starts off almost unassumingly but then before you know it, it's crossed over into epic and you find yourself hopelessly sucked in and compulsively turning the pages until the very end. It was like one second, I was enjoying this pretty cool book and in the blink of an eye, I was devouring it like there was no tomorrow. It was kind of crazy. The progression of the story happens naturally and effortlessly thanks to V.E. Schwab's insane prowess as a writer and by then end, you won't know what hit you!
Between the action, the magic, the character-development, the plot and the lighter moments, A Darker Shade of Magic is a story that captures your soul and leaves you begging for more. Highly recommended for fans of adult and young-adult fantasy! You all need to read this book.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars