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

Hot
 
5.0
 
4.3 (1)
4374 1
A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1)
Publisher
Age Range
16+
Release Date
February 24, 2015
ISBN
978-0765376459
Buy This Book
      
STEP INTO A UNIVERSE OF DARING ADVENTURE, THRILLING POWER, AND MULTIPLE LONDONS.

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 Rhys Maresh, the rougish 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 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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Magic, murder, intrigue, and fabulous coats
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
As with most high fantasy, A Darker Shade of Magic starts slow and quiet, building a world that is like ours, and not like ours, brick by brick. We meet Kell, a mysterious wanderer in a fabulous coat, who travels between worlds as easily as stepping from one room to another. There is Grey London, which plays like a straight historical fiction of our world, Red London, Kell’s home, which is rich and teeming with magic, and White London, which has been all but burned up by magic and treachery. And then there is Black London, which no one travels to anymore, not even Kell.

The world of each London is established subtly but confidently, and through Kell’s eyes, the rules of each overlapping London gradually become clear and distinct. Once we’ve gained our footing in the magic of Kell’s world and have a sense of the difficulties he faces in each London, we meet Lila, a cunning thief from Grey London with a quick hand and a taste for adventure. It takes a while for all the building blocks of the story to fall into place, but there are plenty of rewards for the patient reader, from the lush details of the worlds to the charming characters to Schwab’s signature poetic prose.

Then, once Lila and Kell inevitably cross paths, the story takes off, plunging both protagonists into a London-jumping whirlpool of courtly intrigue and deception while playing up the conflict between Lila’s lack of magic and Kell’s abundance of it to maximum, satisfying effect.

What V.E. Schwab did so well in Vicious, and what she does again here, is establish each of her characters, from heroes to villains, as fully realized, fleshed-out individuals. While Lila and Kell are both brave and charismatic, they are also criminals, and while the main antagonists – the terrifying sibling rulers of White London – are undeniably sinister, the people they use to carry out their dark deeds are in many ways conflicted and sympathetic. Blurring that line between hero and villain is a tricky game, but Schwab accomplishes it masterfully.

As I said before, the first half of the book may be a slow burn, but it’s a delicious one. Readers shouldn’t expect to plunge straight into adventure and murder and intrigue, but there is plenty to enjoy along the road to chaos. And once the book hits its stride, there are payoffs aplenty as the story builds in intensity all the way through to its twisting, bloody conclusion.

A Darker Shade of Magic will have a sequel, but this first installment ends on a perfectly satisfying note. I can’t wait to join Kell and Lila on their next London-hopping adventure, but I was utterly sated with the ending of this book. There are no cliffhangers here, only the graceful bow of one adventure while another waits in the wings, peeking around the corner.

If you’re in the mood for a refreshingly unique spin on alternate universes, magic, and devastatingly gorgeous coats – or if you just want a beautifully crafted story told in a mesmerizing, lovely, and occasionally creepy voice, then you should move A Darker Shade of Magic to the top of your list.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
3.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
Already have an account? or Create an account
Four Londons and a magic coat?! I'm in!
(Updated: April 29, 2017)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
"No London is truly without magic."

I love this series! SO SO MUCH! There are so many instances of foreshadowing that made me squeal with absolute delight!!
I love the characters and Kell/Lila is my ultimate bookish OTP of all time!

"What was that for?" he asked, dazed.
"For luck" she said.
*HOLY SHIP*

One thing I resent this book is the little screentime the Danes were given.

"Rumor had it that a man once spat at her for refusing to wear a dress; she'd cut off his lips."

"The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea."
*drools*

Being me a super-fan of twisty fictional characters doing twisty fictional things I would have enjoyed a much heavier presence of theirs in this instalment.

This entire series is a little treasure, I'd recommend it to anyone!!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Be Our Guest!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Gray Malin’s menagerie of wild animals for a stay...
Hat Tricks
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Hattie the magician―she’s a natural performer, and you’re invited...
Stanley's Toolbox
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
It’s another busy day with Stanley and friends! ...
Spring Is Here!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When spring arrives, baby animals come out to play with...
10 Things I Hate About Pinky
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s...
The Child of Chaos
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This is what fantasy fiction should be." --Piers Anthony, New...
Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars Preview Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
“O say can you see” begins one of the most...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
July 20, 1969. It’s a day that has earned a...
Thurgood Marshall
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Thurgood Marshall—the great grandson of a slave—was born, African...
Down Under the Pier
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
There’s lots of fun to be had up on the...
Lali's Feather
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Book three in a hilarious new series featuring one boy...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everything starts with a question, like this one: Why do...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Worries, fears, and anxieties are all dragons that sneak up...
The Copycat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A funny, unpredictable, and heartfelt new novel from Wendy McLeod...
DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The DC Super Hero Girls learn what it's like to...

Latest Member Reviews

Rival Magic
 
3.0
"Antonia, wizarding apprentice to Master Betrys, may not be the best at actual magic, but she tries her absolute best..."
Be Our Guest!
 
4.0
"BE OUR GUEST! is a colorful book of photographs. The book takes us to a hotel, where a monkey named..."
Hat Tricks
 
3.0
"HAT TRICKS is a story of magic. Hattie the rabbit pops out of her magic hat to perform some magic...."
Stanley's Toolbox
 
4.5
"STANLEY'S TOOLBOX is a delightful board book that shows many tools in action as Stanley helps to repair Little Woo's..."
Spring Is Here!
 
5.0
"SPRING IS HERE! is a delightful board book that features several animals in the springtime setting. The book is extra..."
Lali's Feather
 
5.0
"LALI'S FEATHER is a delightful and colorful picture book that explores birds and imagination. Lali is playing when she finds..."
A Friend for Mole
 
3.5
"A FRIEND FOR MOLE is a cute picture book that speaks to unlikely friendships and shared experiences. Mole is happy..."
 
5.0
"This book is a winner the moment a reader lays eyes on that cover--and the title. My niece--who is picky..."
 
5.0
"This book is absolutely adorable. Dragons can suddenly show up wherever the characters are and they have to..."
The Girl and the Ghost
 
4.0
"5 Reasons to Read THE GIRL AND THE GHOST 1.) Beautiful prose- This was my first time..."
Brother's Keeper
 
5.0
"BROTHER'S KEEPER is a highly engrossing and heartfelt read about a 12-year-old girl and her dangerous journey from North to..."
Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention
 
5.0
"IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION is a delightful, rhyming book about staying true to yourself and getting creative. Izzy..."