A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1)
Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
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.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is the first book in the Shades of Magic Trilogy. It follows Kell who has the ability to travel through parallel universes; to be more specific parallel Londons. Along the way he meets Lila and he gets trapped in a smuggling conspiracy. Now he must try and stop White London’s tyrant rulers from crossing over and taking over.
I never doubt Schwab’s ability to create distinct and memorable characters, which is the case for A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell was a such a joy to read. He was cool and intriguing. I know there are many layers to him as a character that I can’t wait to explore further into the series.
Lila was loud and abrasive at times. Always fighting to get her way. I liked that she never stood down from a challenge and she stuck her neck on the line to help Kell when he needed it most.
I listened to A Darker Shade of Magic on audiobook. This format enhanced the dialogue for me to a higher level then I would of had if I physically read it. Because of this I got to hear how witty and intelligent it was. Kell, Lila and the other characters had such distinct voices and mannerisms to the way they talked.
Schwab must have worked hard on getting the dialogue and London lingo right. She really did her research and it shows with how she chose to write it.
Top-Notch World Building
Not only did Schwab create one distinctive London, but she created four of them all together. It takes some serious skill to do so. Not a single one was like the other. It was a fun journey following Kell as he traveled between Londons. The people, the customs, the kingdoms were all so vivid in description!
I can’t wait to see what Schwab will have in store for us in the rest of the series.
Lack of Interest in the Plot
I’m not going to lie. The plot was lacking for me. I thought A Darker Shade of Magic was going to be totally different than what it was. I was a bit disappointed that nothing overly exciting happened until the very end.
Now I understand that it is the first book in a series and that the full scope of the plot won’t be revealed right away. I was just hoping for more, if you understand.
I highly recommend this one if you like parallel universes, magic powers, and tyrannical rulers. Let me know what you guys thought of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab! I would love to hear your opinions as well!
Until next time,
Victoria 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 also tells stories.
She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.