Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Publish Date: February 24th, 2015
Date Read: March 24, 2019
Number of Pages: 400
Summary on Back:
“Welcome to Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, with one mad king—George III. Then there is Red London, where life and magic are revered, and White London, a city slowly being drained through magical war, down to its very bones. And once apon a time, there was Black London . . . but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler—one of the last magicians who can travel between the worlds—acting as ambassador and messenger between the Londons, in service of the Maresh empire. Unofficially, he’s a smuggler, which is a dangerous hobby for him to have—as proved when Kell stumbles into a setup with a forbidden token from Black London.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lospy aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachury lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to survive.”
One afternoon, I was in the school library with my friend, Natalie, and as I wandered through the shelves, she presented me with A Darker Shade of Magic. I had never heard of it or V. E. Schwab before but my friend told me she thought I’d like it and after reading the summary, I was intrigued. It took me forever to get around to reading it because I lacked the time, but once I started reading it, I was in love. I could not put it down.
I thought the way the book was set up was interesting because it had 14 small parts with around three chapters each. It was mainly in Kell’s point of view though at time’s it changed to Lila’s or other minor character’s perspectives.
I definitely liked that the romance wasn’t prevalent through the novel. I can enjoy a good romance, but I also love it when books don’t focus on the romance. It was barely touched on but it was enough. I also like how it was implied that (at least in Red London) it didn’t matter if a girl wore clothes that were supposed to be for men or what the gender of your lover was. It was an important detail and the way it was written was perfect.
There are so many things I loved about this book. If you like fantasy novels, definitely read it. The magic system and the 4 Londons were intricate and woven together masterfully. I also definitely loved all the imagery and how the scenes were described. Even with all the blood.
*spoilers ahead: read at your own risk*
Barron’s death definitely made me tear up a little, same for Beloc. They deserved so much better. I even felt for Holland as he died. I wonder how he would have been had we met him before he had been branded by Athos. What would he have been like? What would he have done? What was his real personality like? Rhy’s death hit me the hardest. I grew attached to him and when he was killed I was so sad. When he was revived I was definitely relieved though there was a cost for Kell.
Speaking of Kell, I definitely want to learn more about his past, specifically the part he doesn’t remember. I’m sure that all the questions Kell has about his past are ones I share.
I already checked out the second and third books and I’m excited to read them!
"I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."