Monday, April 20, 2015

*Book Review* A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Fantasy)

Series: A Dark Shade of Magic # 1
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: February 24, 2015
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Magic

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. 

In A Darker Shade of Magic, Victoria (V.E.) Schwab has created a wondrous world where magic is at the forefront. Schwab takes the reader's imagination on a fantastic journey filled with diabolical kings and queens, treachery and darkness on a scale rivaling the Games of Thrones. Schwab has also created FOUR totally different London's: Grey (Where no Magic exists), White (Starving for magic world), Red (healthy use of magic), and Black which was destroyed by the overuse of magic.

“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

Master Blood Magician Kell travels from one realm into another delivering messages, and collecting trinkets from each place he goes which is supposed to be illegal. He is one of the very last Antari (Travelers) who has control over all the elements, plus blood. Although not a member of the royal family, Kell is still treated as though he is their son, and his brother Prince Rhys tries hard to make Kell understand that he's not alone.

“I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” Lila Bard

Then, there is Delilah (Lila) Bard who dresses as a man, is wanted for her thievery, and would love to travel the world as a pirate. When Lila steals from the wrong person, Kell, things really pick up and a full out adventure begins. There's a whole mystery surrounding Lila that I sincerely hope we get more of an explanation in the sequel. I dare say that Lila is fearless, daring, willing to go on any adventure at the peril of her own life, and is definitely quick with her wits and comebacks.

A Darker Shade of Magic started out on the sluggish side for me. But, thankfully it got a whole lot better and gives me hope that the sequel will be just as amazing. I loved the journey across realms, and the descriptive world building that Schwab once again handles like a pro. I loved that the story is perhaps a bit on the traditional fantasy side, but mixed with an alternative reality London's. I loved that this wasn't a romance filled novel. It is dark, filled with evil on a large scale, and forces our heroes to work together to cull out the villains from their diabolical machinations.

For me this was a rather quick read, even with several dizzy spells thanks to allergies hitting me hard. I loved almost all aspects of the story itself. The characters, the villains, the FOUR different worlds, the magic, of course, and the fact that this reads more as a fantasy novel, than a paranormal one. I will be reading the sequel, no matter if I have to borrow it from the library!


  1. I feel like this book took a little bit before it sucked me in completely as well, but once it did, I was hooked! I loved the characters but the magic and alternate Londons were highlights as well. You're right too: Schwab weaved it all together like a pro! I can't wait for the sequel :D Lovely review^^

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

  2. I will definitely
    Treat myself to a copy of this