A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is the first in a YA fantasy series where magic is scattered throughout four London worlds.
“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.”
The concept behind this book really peaked my interest into buying the series. I love worlds with magic hidden inside, but not only does this book have that, but it is also scattered throughout four different worlds: Red, White, Gray, and Black.
At first, I was a little confused as we were quickly introduced to all of the worlds, but after about a quarter of the way through the story, I was able to distinguish what was going on. With this being said, I did have to read a chunk of the book before I was able to really get into the action-packed story.
But the second half of the book was definitely a fast-paced read. The ending itself wrapped up quickly, but again, I was a little confused at the very end. I was left feeling as though the whole book wrapped up to where it could be a stand-alone, but at the same time we are left with one dilemma that will need to be continued on.
One character in particular ended in a sort of mystery as I thought they would be more involved instead of going off on their own. I don’t know if I just quickly read it, or if I even read the ending wrong, but that’s how I feel about it. It’ll be interesting to see how the whole series continues into the second book..
Overall, I gave this 4 out of 5 stars. The plot itself was very intense and kept me reading, but it was just the first half of the book and then the ending as a whole that brought down my rating from 5 to 4 stars.
I feel like I need to read the next book in order to have a more accurate feeling of how I like the series. I loved the magical elements that are played through the different scenes and Londons and how the darkness is the main focus. Overall, great book, but I don’t think I would recommend this if you want a quick read. A Darker Shade of Magic is a book for those who want to take their time, but it is a book that I recommend those who love magical realism and who want a sort of historical read.
Published: 24 February 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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