Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab


V.E. Schwab

SeriesShades of Magic #1
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 400
Release date: February 24th 2015

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 Rhy 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 the royals of each London. 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.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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.

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

A Darker Shade of Magic is a dark, complex, and magical story. It has great world-building, developed characters, lots of Londons, and the coolest magic system. The pace might be a bit slow, but the novel takes us on a rollercoaster ride of the best kind: filled with twists and turns that take your breath away!

V. E. Schwab already owns my heart. This is another book by her with beautiful writing and a really cool concept. The execution is done very well, and the story grasps your attention right away. The hype surrounding this series is definitely deserved, and ADSOM is a wonderful introduction to the new worlds Schwab has created.

I have to admit I was dreading picking this up. When there’s so much hype surrounding a book, you can’t help be a little afraid it won’t meet your expectations. So I’m super happy to say that this is great!! I really enjoyed this, from the characters to the world-building to the magic. It’s very easy to get into this world, and I’m so glad I finally took that jump.

The characters are all really interesting to read about. The book is mainly told from Kell and Lila’s POVs, and they couldn’t be more different. They each have a very unique look on life, and their perspectives serve to enrich the story. I did have a little trouble liking Lila, with her reckless attitude and whatnot. But her bravery won me over in the end. Rhys is also another favorite, and Kell and Holland both hurt me a little bit.

It does take the reader a little while to understand the world-building. There are 3 — 4? — Londons in the novel, and it’s a bit confusing to separate them at first. But slowly you come to understand what’s going on, and it’s super cool reading about these new places and their different rules. The magic goes about the same way, and it sweeps you off your feet and into a different world altogether!

There is very little romance in this book. It focuses way more in the adventure and danger of it all, which I appreciate a lot. The little that is in it, though, doesn’t seem to have a lot of spark to it? I personally didn’t care for the main characters’ romantic connection, as I thought they worked a lot better as just friends. Maybe they’ll be developed throughout the series, but as it stands I was much more interested in two other characters being together. 😛

Overall, I’m so glad I finally read A Darker Shade of Magic! It’s a great Fantasy series, which I definitely recommend to Fantasy fans. It’s a great introduction to the Shades of Magic series, and it shows a lot of potential for what’s to come. 😀



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