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

 
5.0
 
4.3 (1)
1362 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

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Bohring-home to 453 people, 2,053 alligators, and one...
Where the World Ends
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Winner of the 2018 Carnegie Medal! New from Michael L....
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
“Fast, funny, frightening—and filled with shocks and surprises. These books...
Prophecy Untold (Shadow Realms book 3)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Finding out my mother was taken by the demons...
Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut about first love and second...
Six Goodbyes We Never Said
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Two teens meet after tragedy and learn about love,...
Golden Crown
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
No longer only a warrior. Not just a queen....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first vampire. The last Nephilim. The end...
The Galactic Adventures of Hazel - Gurecoa
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
What is it like to live in 4519 AD...
Batman: Nightwalker (The Graphic Novel)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Rose Hemmersbach aspires to break out of small town...
Stuffed
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us,...
Merged
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seven of our country’s most gifted teens will become Nobels,...
Bury Me
 
0.0
 
4.7 (1)
No one ever leaves Copper Hollow. It's a town with...
Estranged #2: The Changeling King
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Enter a world of faerie magic and epic adventure in...
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The exciting follow-up to Mightier Than the Sword, the humorous...

Latest Member Reviews

The Monster Hypothesis
 
5.0
"THE MONSTER HYPOTHESIS is a really fun middle grade investigative mystery. Kick is living with her grandmother, a fake psychic..."
Carnevil (Monsterstreet #3)
 
5.0
"Ren and Kip aren't sure what to expect when they visit their Aunt for Halloween. She works at an Old..."
Stuffed
 
4.0
"STUFFED follows Clark and Foon. Clark is a boy who loves stuffed animals and feels that they keep him safe...."
The Edge of the Word (Mightier than the Sword, #2)
 
5.0
"THE EDGE OF THE WORD is another absolutely delightful interactive story, where you are the main character in the book...."
Rat Rule 79: An Adventure (Yonder, #1)
 
5.0
"RAT RULE 79 is charming, ridiculous, and completely engaging. Fred is about to turn thirteen in a new place, as..."
Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot
 
4.0
"Jack and Annie get an invitation from "M" to spend Christmas in Camelot, which excites them since they haven't heard..."
Awesome Dog 5000 (#1)
 
4.0
"Marty Fontana and his mother move to a new town for her job, and have a house that belonged to..."
The Big Game
 
4.0
"Danny lives in Texas with his mother and former Pittsburgh Steelers player father, who now sells farm machinery. The father..."
Pippa Park Raises Her Game
 
4.0
"Pippa loves to play basketball and struggles a tiny bit in school. She lives with her much older sister, Mina,..."
Superman of Smallville
 
4.0
"Clark Kent is trying to be an ordinary thirteen-year-old boy but he has a very extraordinary pastime. He loves saving..."
Magic Tree House Deluxe Holiday Edition: Christmas in Camelot
 
5.0
"Jack and Annie are so excited when they receive a Royal Invitation to attend Christmas in Camelot! However, they only..."
DC Super Hero Girls: At Metropolis High
 
3.0
"SUPER HERO GIRLS brings us Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Green Lantern, Bumblebee, and Zatanna as teenagers. When they aren't trying..."
Laugh-Out-Loud Adventure Jokes for Kids
 
4.0
"LAUGH OUT LOUD ADVENTURE JOKES FOR KIDS is packed from cover to cover with humor that are made for the..."
Black Canary: Ignite
 
4.0
"Dinah wants nothing more than to help keep Gotham City safe by following in her dad's footsteps and become a..."
On Snowden Mountain
 
4.0
"ON SNOWDEN MOUNTAIN is a heavy historical middle grade read, which deals with depression, alcoholism, war, domestic abuse/violence, and child..."
The Little Grey Girl (The Wild Magic Trilogy, #2)
 
5.0
"THE LITTLE GREY GIRL is the second book in a trilogy, but I found that it could be read on..."
Mightier Than the Sword (Mightier Than the Sword, #1)
 
4.0
"Part mad libs and activity book plus fully developed fictional story, MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD is a delightfully interactive read..."
Someone Else's Shoes
 
4.0
"Izzy is very interested in comedy, perhaps because her own life is anything but humorous. Her parents are divorced, and..."
Notorious
 
5.0
"Keenan ends up living with his father on an island that is part Canada and part US when he is..."
Midnight on Strange Street
 
4.0
"The town of Callaway, Texas, is a refuge from the global war that is going on and affecting Los Angeles...."