Written by: V. E. Schwab
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Pages: 400, Hardback
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic, #1
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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..
All right, so I heard about this book on my twitter, specifically from one person, and then I pretty much started seeing it everywhere on my timeline. I hadn’t read anything by Schwab before, I wasn’t even really sure I knew the name at all, but the official blurb sounded interesting and there was more than enough fan support to make it clear this book was going to be one of two things. First Option: overly hyped up and I was going in with too many expectations and I was going to be disappointed in the end. Second Option: This book was going to be fantastic and life ruining and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
Survey says? Door number two!!
Okay, fine, ignore me mixing metaphors. But the important part is that A Darker Shade of Magic is a fantastic fantasy ride. It might feel like it’s starting out slow, but it hardly feels like a bump in the road; it all goes into world building. You understand how each of the Londons work, you understand how Kell’s magic begins to work, and you even get to know our cast of characters. All this happens in an extraordinarily short period considering how much there is for the reader to learn. But once Schwab finishes the world building? Hold onto your magic coat.