Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.
Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—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, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, 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—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a 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—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.
This is my first Victoria Schwab book and I’d read so many great comments that my expectations went through the roof. It truly is a fantasy novel in style, characters, magic and even a new language and I’ve never read any other book quite like this one.
For me, the first few chapters were a bit boring and it was hard for me not to give up, especially when I found myself trying to keep up with a whole lot of characters from God knows which London. Thankfully I kept up, gave it another chance and at some point the story picked up the pace.
Kell, the protagonist is as badass as I was hoping for; he has a coat with many sides that he turns depending on which London he’s going. I immediately liked him because underneath his badass attitude lies a caring and loving one.
Lila, on the other hand, I despised immediately for stealing the stone from Kell… Oh, how I hated her! But, she grew on me and towards the end of the book I finally liked her a little. Anyway, she is tough, fierce, determined and infuriating.
We have an unending assortment of supporting characters such as the royal family (specially the prince), the blood slave villain, the sadistic twins, and many more that are mentioned throughout the three Londons all of which I found it hard to keep their home-London straight and that was a down for me.
I don’t really like it when the details are too much (I confess they slowed me down considerably), but in this case I understand they are necessary for us to picture this world in our heads.
I pictured the worlds and the characters, traveled between alternate Londons and almost could feel the magic… but, unfortunately there was something that left me unsatisfied. I couldn’t find depth within the plot, it is a great idea that could have been faster paced but I just didn’t feel the adventure, the heartbreak, the spark, the cliffhanger, nothing.
This is why I’m rating it with 3.5 stars, 3 are not enough but 4 are too much.