Monday, May 11, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, 1) by V.E. Schwab, February 24, 2015. 400 pages. Published by Tor Books. Source: library.
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.
First Sentence:
Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

Since I really, really enjoyed Victoria Schwab's The Archived series I knew that I would want to check out A Darker Shade of Magic even though its' an adult novel. As you've guessed, I have not had the best luck with adult books lately and have pretty much given up on them, so, call me surprised by my enjoyment of this one.

First off, the thing that pulled me into A Darker Shade of Magic was the world that V.E. Schwab had created...or should I say worlds. The similarities and differences between the different London's  was one of the things I enjoyed most about this book. The way each one was described and how the magic affected each of them was quite interesting; not to mention that there were only two people who could cross the lines between worlds.
   The descriptions of the different London's and how the travelers, i.e Kell and dude whose name I forgot, traveled between them were definitely, for me, one of the things that set this book apart from other adult fantasy books. It was just so well done and interesting that I needed to see more of what the characters experienced throughout the book.

I've noticed that after the world and setting, the characters are one of the things I love best about this author's writing. She just writes such interesting and...and just so entertaining. Off the bat, I knew that I would like Kell because his story just pulled me in and the mystery behind his backstory, as well, as the role he played within Red London, well, let's just say it caught my attention. I'm still waiting to find out about that mark and what happened in his past.
  The other character that caught my attention was Lila Bard herself. Ah, what a crazy yet interesting girl we had there. What I liked about Lila would have to be how she didn't let fear rule her. I really liked that she was willing to chase adventure, like crossing worlds, even though the odds of safely getting through were not high.

The dynamics between Kell, Lila and the prince (I'm horrible with names) are some of the points in the book. Between the witty banter and, even some, funny times the play between the three is something that really shakes up the book.

I officially have no more words for A Darker Shade of Magic and the awesomeness that is V.E. Schwab's writing! Give me book two!!

Final Verdict: A Darker Shade of Magic- One of the best, if not the best, non-young adult fantasy books I have read in ages. The world building and characterizations are perfect in V.E. Schwab's latest work!

A Darker Shade of Magic earns
this book was borrowed from my library; all thoughts are my own.

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