A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, Book 1) by V.E. Schwab
Synopsis: 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.
About the Author: Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. She currently lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and when she is not wandering in search of buried treasure, fairy tales, and good tea, she’s tucked in a cafe, dreaming up monsters.
Genre: young adult, fantasy, adventure
More Info: paperback, 400 pages, published by Tor Books on February 24, 2015
- The writing is AMAZING! Many times I’ve found myself skimming over excessive details in paragraphs. However, in this book I read every word. The setting, dialogue, and clothes were so awesome that I pictured every description given to me. After I finished the book, I had the intense desire to draw every aspect of Schwab’s worlds. The book is also quite clean; there is no explicit sexual encounters and I only found one excessive swear word. The only dirty aspect is the blood and gore.
- The characters are COMPELLING! I loved getting to know Kell, Holland, Lila, and Rhy. I actually want more of their backstories, but then the book would be all background and no plot. 😕 They all had so much chemistry and tension between them. I loved watching the characters grow and evolve with the trials and connections they made.
- The world-building is FANTASTIC! A Darker Shade of Magic is set in London. Not just London, England, but four different Londons: Grey London, Red London, White London, and Black London. Each London is different and set in a different world, with different countries. They are all connected and contain similar landmarks, but are very unique in the people, clothes, atmosphere, and monarchs.
- The magic is DANGEROUS! The magic literally takes on a life of its own in this story. The uses of magic and its foundations are also very well developed. A reader understands the limitations and consequences of using magic. With Kell being the exceptional at controlling the elements and doors, I wonder how the common folk use the magic on a day-to-day basis. The only other thing that was lacking was more of Kell’s training and some of the language.
- It’s all about the ACTION! There is never a dull moment in this book, even in the beginning when the plot is building up to the main conflict. It is also about action rather than romance. While there is flirting, playful banter, kissing and tension between the main characters, there is no romantic relationship fully established. I enjoyed how the book focused on the real peril and formed relationships naturally—without instalove.
DO I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK? ABSOLUTELY!!! 5/5 stars!
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