Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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.

Ever since the book was announced I was dying to read it. I didn't manage to snag one of the rare ARCs, but you better believe I bought it on release day. I was in no way disappointed. In fact, I kept delaying reading the ending of the book because I just didn't want it to end, and I never do that. 

I am so enamored of the world of ASDOM. The clothes, the magic, the parallel universes! Every moment reading the book was adventure because everything was just so cool. I want to visit the Isle in red London, and I want to experience all the magic of the scrying boards, the floral scent of magic, and witness the night market. This is one of those rare books where I'm genuinely upset that it's fiction. Can it be real please?

Now, world aside, let's talk about the characters. Kell is awesome, and I can't wait to find out more about his backstory in future books. There's secrets there. I want to know all of them. Then there's Lila. LILA. Such a badass. We need more female characters like Lila in the world. And of course, there's a special place in my heart for Rhy. 

I'm aware that this has been more fangirling than an actual review, but that's all I have to give. This book is a masterclass in world building, character development, close 3rd POV, and plot. The ending left me both satisfied and wanted more at the same time, which is an impressive feat. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to A Gathering of Shadows. Now go but this book!

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