Author: V.E. Schwab
Read: May 2017
I feel like A Darker Shade of Magic probably deserves more than 3 stars, but it took me a while to get into it. The book has a really interesting premise. There are 4 parallel versions of London: Grey London, Red London, White London, and Black London. Grey London is essentially our world and doesn’t have any magic. Red London is a vibrant world filled with magic, as was White London once upon a time. But Black London is also known as Dead London and the dark magic that destroyed it has slowly been leeching into White London.
Our main character, Kell, is an Antari from Arnes in Red London. Antari are the only people who can create doors and travel between the Londons. Kell acts as ambassador for the king of Arnes, travelling between London’s to deliver messages to the other reigning monarchs. On the side Kell is a smuggler, sneaking objects between Londons. But when he mistakenly transports a dangerous magical stone from Black London, he is forced to pair up with Lila Bard, a cross-dressing pirate from Grey London who is in great want of an adventure, to try and destroy the dark magic that begins wreaking havoc in Red London.
I was intrigued by the concept of multiple Londons and I really liked the diverse set of characters in this book, but I found this book to be pretty slow paced at the beginning and it wasn’t really until the halfway mark that I got into it. I was really busy while reading this one though, so I’m optimistic about the rest of the trilogy and I’ve jumped right into A Gathering of Shadows and I already think it has a much stronger start.
I loved all the characters in this book, from Kell and Lila, to Holland and the evil Dane twins. I really liked that Kell and Lila both has strengths and weaknesses and both helped each other out of scrapes. I felt like they both made so many bold and stupid decisions, but that it was realistic of two young people bumbling along trying to make the right choices and not be seduced by the power of the stone from Black London. They both had a lot of vulnerabilities and I enjoyed the honest portrayal of their characters.
I really hope Holland returns in the next book because I found his character fascinating and I would really love to learn more about his background. I liked Rhy too, but I feel I haven’t got to know enough about him yet either. Kell obviously loves Rhy and I’d like to know more about his character so that I can better understand their relationship.
There were a lot of plot points that weren’t addressed in the first novel and the story still has so much potential, so I am excited to see where it’s going to go in the next book. I’m hoping for something a little more fast paced, but I did still enjoy A Darker Shade of Magic. Onwards and upwards!