Friday, December 4, 2015

Review- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)

Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1 
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Tor Book (Feb 2015)  
Hardcover - 398 pgs
Source- Purchased 

Rating: 4/5 

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. 

London is one of those cities I dream of going to and it enchants me from afar. To think Kell travels between three different Londons sounded like the best kind of adventure and, of course, it was!

The Londons are so fascinating. At first it is hard to grasp that they are all “London” but not London as we would think of it. Over the course of the novel though, Schwab makes them more and more distinct. The whole process is lovely and the writing is fantastic. Overall the world building is excellent and I can’t wait to see more of the Londons in the next book, A Gathering of Shadows. Also this is another recent read that included some Victorian London so of course I loved that aspect! 

While I think the world building was the strongest element of this book, the characters were a dream team. Kell and Lila are two fascinating characters. Their lives intersect and immediately you know these two will never be the same again. Lila is a cross-dreading thief who aspires to be a pirate. I was in love with her immediately and Kell is the magician who travels between Londons. These two are amazing and I fell in love with both of them. While we slowly peel back the layers of their characters in this book, I imagine we will see more character growth in future installments.

Don’t be worried if you feel like the story is sluggish at first. There is a lot of world building that, while it isn’t info-dumping, does slow the plot at first. We are introduced to a lot of characters at first, but slowly the story kicks in and all the pieces start into motion. I could name the scene this started rocking for me it was that distinct to me. Like I said, it is a little slow at the beginning, but Schwab makes up for it later.

Quick Thoughts: At the end of the book I wanted to start reading it all over again. It was fabulous and I really enjoyed it. I feel like a true Victoria Schwab fan now and an anxiously awaiting book two. 

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