Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Book One in the Shades of Magic series)
Author: V.E. Scwab
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr and Twitter
Publisher: Titan Books
Format and Price: Paperback at $12.74 and E-Book at $6.29
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author:
Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.” She also tells stories.She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

About The Book:
Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–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, ambassador of the Maresh empire, 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. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive

General Observations:
~Jumping On The Bandwagon: Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m rather late to the “Victoria Schwab is Awesome” party, but I figured better late than never, but it does give me the feeling that everything that could be said about this series has already been said.

~Plot and Structure: The plot is brilliant and the narrative pacing is fast and fluid but not so fast that I couldn’t figure it out and there were also slower introspective character-orientated moments (more on this later) that worked well as a contrast. I loved the political intrigue that was spread out throughout three similar but different worlds, after all Royalty acts similar regardless of dimension, however, I also love the very concept that a being like Kell, someone who could travel between dimensions, could exist and what kind of life that would be like.

~Three Dimensional Characters: I loved Lila Bard and Kell, but I also kind of had a soft spot for Holland, he did have a point with some of his speeches and his Fate Worse Than Death situation made him super sympathetic (though it doesn’t excuse all his actions). Holland’s position was easy to understand, Holland was certainly a product of his environment, but it was clear his hand was forced and he was the lesser of the two Evils the Danes twins represented, but even then, their motivations were also understandable (although their characters were reprehensible).

In conclusion, an excellent blending of intriguing plot and interesting characters, I’ve already begun to read A Gathering of Shadows and am looking forward to the third book coming out this year (or at least I think it’s coming out this year). I’m happy to recommend this series.

Available For Purchase From: Book Depository | Kobo Books | Amazon

The Shades of Magic series:
01. A Darker Shade of Magic
02. A Gathering of Shadows
03. A Conjuring of Light

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