Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab)
Release Date: February 24
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Macmillan-Tor/Forge on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
Kell is a traveller between worlds, he delivers messages between the different versions of London. His home world, Red London, is strong and wealthy, the other two realms, White London and Grey London, aren’t as strong. White London is violent and struggling with its magic, while Grey London is lacking in magic altogether. Kell is an Antari, a blood magician, and is able to travel between these places using blood magic. While he’s officially supposed to deliver messages he also smuggles in exchange for trinkets. One particular trinket almost gets him killed however, and he flees to Grey London. There he meets Lila, a pickpocket with dreams of to become a pirate and find adventure. She steals this dangerous trinket and threads their journeys together, perhaps finding just the adventure she’s been looking for.
I received a sample of this book from the publisher on NetGalley. It features the first 5 parts of the book, coming out to about 130 pages. The main thing I really want to say about this book is: GIVE ME MORE. This book was so intriguing and exciting. Obviously I can’t guarantee the whole book is amazing, but the introduction and the build up to the main action in the first 130 pages is exceptional. I cannot wait to get my hands on the full book and gobble up the rest of this book.
The plot of this is very interesting. There’s travelling between worlds, which in some ways reminded me of Doctor Who. I thought it was really interesting to have these parallel worlds. Especially because Schwab has created a great deal of history and politics which are well written and well formed. They are also interesting, a lot of times the politics are heavy and uninteresting, but the politics of A Darker Shade of Magic are really interesting. And then there’s the magic. I love the idea of the magic in this book, the elemental magic especially is a good base. And then the rare breed of Antari who use blood magic is an interesting element. There’s also this world which has rotted away, Black London, which is meant to have been wiped clean. This is where the dangerous trinket comes in, it’s a surviving piece of Black London. It’s a bit like the ring in The Lord of The Rings which is exceptional and a very intriguing idea.
The characters are also really interesting. All of them so far have really caught my attention. Kell, the Antari, is an adopted Prince, and he doesn’t know where he comes from or who he really is. I think his want for understanding his past is really interesting and is part of why he smuggles things between worlds. Then, Lila, the thief is searching for life and adventure in a world that is fighting against her. She’s a woman first of all, but also poor, and wanted by the police. I’m definitely intrigued by her and can’t wait to see more of her in the rest of the book. Then there’s the twins of White London who are somewhat terrifying, but also super interesting “villian” type characters. Definitely excited to see more about these characters and all the others throughout the rest of the book.
I am so excited for this book! I cannot wait to read the rest of it, and really encourage others to check it out too. This is one of the most interesting intros to a series I have ever read. The idea is so interesting and so exciting! Highly recommend! (This mini-review got pretty…far from mini.)
Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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