A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Publisher: Tor Books
First published February 24th, 2015
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Pages: 398
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

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.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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.

Captura de ecrã 2017-06-30, às 18.09.21This book was so exciting and gripping! I can’t even believe it took me this long to finally start reading this series! It’s incredibly fast paced, full of amazing characters and worlds that will leave you open-mouthed! It’s just awesome and dark and I can’t wait for more!

In this book, there are 4 Londons in a parallel universe and they are distinguished by color. We have:

  • Red London – where magic thrives and is present in people’s daily lives; and where Kell, one of our main characters is from.
  • Grey London – which is the most normal of all the Londons. Magic was forgotten and so it’s the one most like our world. It also from where our other main character, Lila is.
  • White London – a ruthless London where magic is a means to an end, and the end is destruction and murder. It’s ruled by two cruel rulers who are the strongest in that London.
  • Black London – once full of magic and now nonexistent.

Once upon a time, there were doors between the worlds, that were used to travel between the Londons. But now, the only ones with that power are called Antari and they are a race almost inexistent. We know of two tho: our MC Kell, and Holland, who is from White London. Their job is to carry messages from the royals between worlds, but that’s not the only thing Kell carries – one day he carries something that almost destroys all Londons!

One of the best things about this book is the characters! They are AMAZING. I absolutely love Lila! She is such an amazing bad-ass character! Her life hasn’t been easy but she does everything she can to survive and not to show her soft and vulnerable side! Oh, but I loved to see that side! She has a golden heart under all that bravado. But on the outside, we have a cold, calculative, clever and tough person! She is a head-strong person, incredibly stubborn and sarcastic and it’s impossible not to love her!

Kell was also an awesome character! He is an extremely good and caring person. He is a bit lost in the world but he is also mature and tries to always do the right thing (failing miserably…). I loved his power and how strong he is! He uses his magic for good and is careful with it, with the exception of his hobbies… I really liked to read about him, although I feel that we got to know more about Lila than him and I hope to know him more with the next book! Also, he has a coat that is pretty much the best thing EVER. It’s so creative and unique and it completely blew my mind!

As for the other characters we have Rhy, the Red London’s prince, who to be honest I didn’t get to connect too much. I did like him. He is fun and I liked his sarcastic answers and his tough outside and melty soft inside, but we don’t get too much about him? At least not as much as I needed to care that much about him. I feel that the reason I liked him was Kell and so I want more to fully have an opinion on him…

Then we have the White London’s rulers, the Danes twins. They are horrible! They are the most sadistic, cruel and scary creatures ever. They are the type of persons that are bad because it’s fun to be, they relinquish in their cruelty and on how much people fear them. They are a really good addition to the book tho, because I can never get enough of cruel and gruesome villains. They just made me explode with anger and make me care even more for the other characters! And lastly, we have Holland… I don’t know what to think about him. We have a bit of a love-hate relationship. I believe he is like he is due to his life and I just can’t fully blame him, but I can’t deny that he is cruel and a horrible person…

This book has an incredibly interesting and unique world. I thought it would be confusing when I first read about this book, but it’s actually pretty clear and well explained. I really want to know more about it tho. I loved how it was but I wouldn’t mind to get more world explanations and fully and deeply understand everything, because it is that interesting! The concept of magic here is incredible, mesmerizing and slightly scary. It feels a bit like artificial intelligence, or maybe it’s because I recently read Illuminae and it reminded me of it? I don’t know but the thing is that magic in this world has life… A mind of its own. I think it could have gone farther and more in-depth in that but hopefully, the next book has all the answers. I can’t wait to know more about it!

There’s just so many amazing things about this book! I already liked V.E. Schwab’s writing but I like it even more now! Her way of creating worlds and magic is beautiful, gripping and unique. It really grips you and immerses you in the book. I loved all the sarcasm (like always) and how it actually contained gruesome and violent scenes. It’s not overly much, but it did have something to it… Also, I LOVED the languages the author created and all the elements to it! It’s just so damn cool! Look at this:

“As Athera. To grow.
As Pyrata. To burn.
As Illumae. To light.
As Orense. To open.
As Anase. To dispel.
As Hasari. To heal.
As Travars. To Travel.”

Overall, this book is emotional, impactful and full of action and I can’t wait for the next adventure! I hope the next book is even more complex than this one but with all the good stuff this had! Highly recommended!


Awesome quotes:

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg.” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”

“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

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Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!

6 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  1. I adore anything VE Schwab writes and the Shades of Magic trilogy really did tick all the boxes for me. The world building and characters are sublime and constantly keep you on your toes. I admit that the first one is a little lacking when it comes to Rhy and Holland but you get to know them better as the trilogy progresses and I love them both! FYI, my heart broke for Holland in A Conjuring of Light. I don’t often sympathise with villains but wow, the complexity with which they are written completely changes how I think about them, especially when they are VE Schwab characters. I seem to love every dark character she creates!

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  2. “Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.” was my favorite quote of the whole book! I literally laughed out loud! I love Lila!! I just read this last week and I am reading A Gathering of Shadows right now! I’m loving it! Great review! I agree the Dane twins are horrible! How they control Holland and wanted to do the same thing was just awful!

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  3. I’m really looking forward to reading this – I love V E Schwab! The world in this series sounds so complicated! I’m in love already! ❤️ lovely review!!

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