Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.
Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that 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 take her with him for her proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.
I was a little late to the reading of this, but I was sort of afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I’d never read anything by V.E Schwab, so I didn’t know if I’d like her writing or not.
Yeaaaahhhhhh shouldn’t have waited.
I could not put A Darker Shade of Magic down. This was one of those books where if I had 5 minutes to do something, I was picking up this book and cramming in as many pages as possible.
First off, the worlds in this are amazing. I love how each London has a different colour associated with it in Kell’s mind. It made it a lot easier for me to keep track of where he was and who was associated with that London. And too be honest, after I got into it, not once did I mess up the worlds. They were each so vastly different but wove together wonderfully.
Kell is a great character. I found his chapters a little…lighter feeling than Lila’s. He really did take on a sparkle for me like Red London has (was Red London supposed to sparkle in the book or is that just me making shit up as I go?). Whereas Lila felt very grey for me, but in a good way. I could FEEL the smog of Grey London sticking to her clothes. I felt invincible and at ease when I was reading Kell’s chapters, while I felt anxious but determined reading Lila’s. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this intensely for two characters in a book.
And the plot. Mhm. I loved the way V.E worked the plot. It was a simple idea but it had SO MUCH complexity that it gripped me from page one.
I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so well that, even though I borrowed it from the library, I went out and bought it as soon as I finished it. I plan on rereading it and then reading the sequel. I want more of this world!
I’ll also be checking out some more of V.E Schwab’s work.
Oh, and if anyone could make me a duplicate of Kell’s coat that would be GREAT. K thanks.