A Darker Shade of Magic

22055262A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Series A Darker Shade of Magic #1

Published February 24, 2015

Rating 5/5

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

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand 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.

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book! I actually recommended this series to two people I knew would enjoy it, and they ended up reading all three books before I picked the first one up myself! The world of the four Londons is enrapturing. Schwab’s exploration of the differences between the planes of existence is seamless and leaves the reader feeling as if they’ve lived in the world for years.

Kell is the perfect morally ambiguous hero, with his straight-laced job and dangerous compulsion to break the rules, which makes him the perfect partner for Lila (or is the partnership supposed to be the other way around?). Lila’s desire for adventures is a lure that pulls at the soul of the reader, urging them to embark on adventures with her. While Kell is my magical ginger baby, Lila is the knife’s edge that draws the attention. I probably love her so much because she reminds me of another one of my favorite characters, Aelin from the Throne of Glass series, with her sassy remarks and take-no-prisoners attitude.

The magic system is unlike any I’ve read about before. The way the different cultures perceive magic was very interesting, and left me with many questions I hope to find answers to in the later books. And I will definitely be reading those soon! I already own the next two thanks to luck at a used bookstore and Bookcon sale 😉 and they’ve rocketed to the top of my TBR pile. Definitely check these books out if you haven’t already! I can’t wait to read all of Schwab’s other books.

Thank you for reading!

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9 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic

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  3. This book (and the rest of the series of course) are already on my to buy list. This has made me want to buy them so much more now. I just know how good these books are going to be from all the reviews I’ve heard/read about them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is such a hard question because Throne of Glass is so near and dear to my heart! Throne of Glass starts off much more YA as a series (you have to consider the author started writing it when she was 16), with the later novels being much more NA (with some sex). Because the series is 7 books long, I find that there is more character development and world building than the ADSOM series. I personally prefer the Throne of Glass series, but this may be slightly influenced because I grew with it and have been aging along with the heroine/writing style. I know a lot of people who enjoy Shades of Magic more and/or don’t like Maas’ writing style. If you like Schwab’s more “adult” writing style, the first few books in the ToG series may get on your nerves because of the YA vibes. The Throne of Glass series keeps getting better with every book though, and I do love and highly recommend it!

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