Hey all! Today I (Sasha) will be reviewing a brand-new high fantasy novel, A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab! This book released in February, 2015. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads!
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.
Well, this book was a ROLLERCOASTER. It was truly an epic novel–even the synopsis says it all. Parallel Londons? How much better can it get?
Our main characters, Kell and Lila, were very likable. I enjoyed reading from their perspectives and learning about their characters, too. Especially since they come from very different backgrounds/lives. But what I most enjoyed about this novel were the surprise narrators. There were so many awesome connections woven throughout–you have to read it to believe it!
This book layers the world-building really well. Learning about the different Londons was super cool; there’s Red London, flourishing with magic, where Kell lives; Grey London, where Lila is from, and pretty dull compared to the other Londons; White London, which is ruled by the evil Dane twins (woo twins! boo evil! …); and finally, Black London. In my opinion, that’s the most interesting London of them all, and it’s also the London we know the least about, because it’s been sealed off. It was corrupted by magic years ago, and no one has been there since. Now, Kell is caught in whirlwind of trouble–and I know that sounds very vague, but trust me, when you learn what he’s gotten himself into… well, the story only gets more interesting from there.
I didn’t have many problems with this book at all; it just took me a little while to read, around a week. However, I will say the last 100 pages were jam-packed with action, and even though the ending wrapped up pretty nicely, the synopsis for the sequel sounds like not everything has come to a close. I can’t wait for A GATHERING OF SHADOWS!
Overall rating: 5/5 stars