Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Book 1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: New Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Synopsis: (Book 1) 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.
I normally don’t do full series reviews, but I finished the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, the night before leaving for a week long trip to New York, so I didn’t have time to write a review for it. By the time we returned I had also finished A Gathering of Shadows, so I figured I would just group them all together!
I am so, completely in love with this trilogy! These books were my first experience with V.E. Schwab’s writing, and man am I impressed!
Schwab wrote about four different versions of the same city and was able to give each of them a distinct look, feel, and energy. They may have all been Londons but I felt like I was in a completely different place each time we saw a new one.
And the characters – THE CHARACTERS! Each so unique both from each other and from other characters I’ve read about. They all had such intriguing personalities, and I’m honestly sad to be finished because I could go on a thousand more adventures with them and not be tired. Lila Bard has become one of my favourite characters of all time because of her confidence, bravery, determination, and slight recklessness. I find it seriously difficult to pick favourites between the five main characters though, they were all written so well!!
This series is also FULL of diversity! From cross dressers, to homosexuals, to people of colour, you name it! It all flows beautifully and helps add to the individuality of the characters.
The plot of this series is also extremely unique! I don’t think I’ve ever read about parallel worlds before. The plot line also doesn’t come anywhere near following the general outline of a trilogy, which was so refreshing! I had no idea what to expect ever!
The only slight issue I had was with the second book as I found it to be a lot of waiting for things to happen. While I still enjoyed the events that took place, I felt like the real conflict was slowly brewing the whole time and didn’t reveal itself to us until the very end. Despite this, I loved the new characters we met and the development of the ones we already knew and loved. The third book, A Conjuring of Light, was right back to regular speed with crazy things happening the whole time and me loving the characters and the book more and more with every page.
If you haven’t read this series you need to! I’m desperate for more of Kell and Lila, Rhy and Alucard, and Holland!! V.E. Schwab, if you ever read this, please give me more!!!
Have you read the Shades of Magic series? What did you think? Which character did you like best?