I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
A Darker Shade of Magic
by V.E. Schwab
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

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.


I find it so hard to write a review about this book somehow.  It's just so magical.  The world-building alone was tremendous.  Just really immersive and believable, with a clear idea of what each "London" was like, and how different and how it affects the people who live there.  I loved that so much about this book.  I truly felt like I was traveling between universes while reading.

The story starts off with two separated main characters - Kell and Lila as our guides to their respective Londons, and it's not clear where the story will go from the beginning as the differences and the restrictions of the worlds are set up.  But Kell and Lila were such great, powerful characters on their own, that it was wonderful to just get to know them as story developed.  They are so very different from each other too - but it's touching how they come to trust and depend on each other.  Although there are touches of a romantic interest with them, their relationship is really founded on friendship, and that was refreshing and enjoyable to read about.

This was a fantastic read, with world building, plot development, and action paced perfectly, to a very nail-biting finish.  The villains in this story are so chilling as well - completely devoid of ethics and consumed by their need for power.  I didn't really have any idea of what I was in for when I picked up this book, and I feel like that vagueness about the plot details when starting really helped bring me into the story.  Kell and Lila have a very hard battle in front of them, and it's a wild ride to see their story come to its conclusion.

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