Monday, 22 February 2016

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab

Source: Borrowed ebook from the library. / Purchased audiobook from Audible.
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: Already Released.
Number of Pages: 398 (Hardcover) / 11 hrs & 34 mins (Audiobook)

Description from Goodreads:
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.

Fantasy has always been one of my favourite genres, but in the last few years, I haven't read it as much as I used it. Every once in a while though, I'll pick up a fantasy book and remember just how much I absolutely LOVE the genre! A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC was definitely one of those books that brought back my love of fantasy. It was an amazing story⎯intense, interesting, and centred on a world that was diverse and fantastically intricate!

 Kell is an Antari, a very rare magician that possesses a powerful way with magic and can travel between worlds. In Kell's world there are multiple universes all with their own version of London. There's Kell's London, Red London; the London of our own world, Grey London; a much more violent London where another Antari, Holland, lives called White London; and Black London, which has been separated from the other Londons for a very long time.

Seeing the other Londons through Kell was one of my favourite parts of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. I loved how vast the world-building was, and V. E. Schwab's attention to detail was remarkable. Each world was absolutely unique, but they still held certain similarities that makes the connections between the worlds even more interesting and mysterious. And the magic was AMAZING! Kell's world has tonnes of magic and uses it freely. It's beautiful, and I really loved seeing everything in his world. In Grey London, magic has virtually disappeared and the only magic that really exists there is what Kell brings through himself. White London, is completely different. It's dangerous, and magic is a commodity that everyone fights for.

Clearly, I really loved the magical aspects of the story, but I also absolutely adored the characters! Kell was fantastic! He was so interesting, and I really enjoyed seeing the worlds through his perspective. And Lila (a.k.a. Delilah) was AMAZING! I loved desire for adventure, and greatly admired her strength. She didn't always make the smartest choices, but I really loved that she always fights for what she wants and she does all that she can to achieve her dreams. I also loved Kell's brother, Rhy, and I really enjoyed seeing their relationship with each other. The only thing I love as much as a budding romance is a fantastic bromance, and Rhy and Kell have an amazing one!

I read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC just a few months after its release and I absolutely loved it. I was swept away by the magic, and desperately wanted more of Kell's world. So to prepare for its sequel, A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, I listened to the audiobook of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. While it was a totally different experience listening to the audio of the book, I still love it so, so much! The reader, Steven Crossley, was wonderful and he did a fantastic job bringing the story to life. It was just as wonderful, mystical, and magical as it was when I read it the first time!

Overall, I absolutely loved A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC! It was one of my favourite books last year, and this year, it's easily been one of my favourite audiobooks, too. It's the kind of story that will draw you in, possess you, and you won't want to stop reading until there's nothing left to read. It's compelling, intriguing, and just a truly remarkable story. If you're a fan of fantasy who loves magic and intricate, well-crafted world-building, you will LOVE A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC!


Have you read A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC yet?
Are you desperate for A GATHERING OF SHADOWS, too?
And if you haven't read it yet, is it on your to-read list?


  1. I need to hurry up and get to this book. I got it when it was the Audible daily deal and I haven't listened to it yet. Your review has completely convinced me to hurry up and get on it! Fantasy isn't my go-to genre, but I have been finding that I am enjoying it more. I am really looking forward to reading this one!

    1. You sure do!! I can't recommend it enough! :D That's when I bought the audiobook version, too! I'm so glad that I did because it's a wonderful reading of the story. :) Yay!!!! I'm so glad that I've convinced you to get to A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC sooner rather than later, and that you've been enjoying fantasy more lately. That's always great to hear!

      I hope you love it as much as I do! I'm pretty sure you will though. This book has everything⎯great characters, awesome story, wonderful writing, and magic!!! :D

  2. Your review basically reminded me of all the reasons I adored this one in the first place. The MAGIC ♥ THE CHARACTERS ♥ Gah! AGoS is on it's way to me at the moment and now having read your review I wish I could make it arrive right this second :D

    1. Thanks, Micheline!!! That's high praise! I always love when reviews remind me of what I loved about a book! :D Agreed!!!!! So much freaking amazing stuff!!!!! Yay!! I hope it gets to you soon! :D

  3. Great review! I still really need to read this one. I've heard so many great things and I've loved Victoria's previous books too. It's good to hear that you really enjoyed the audiobook because I may download this one next then. I'm excited to meet these characters and jump into this world.

    Traci @ The Reading Geek

    1. Thanks, Traci!! You definitely do! :D It's fantastic!! I still need to go back and read her other books! I definitely recommend the audio! When I first read it, I read an ebook of the book, but the audiobook was just as amazing! :D I hope you love it, too!

  4. :):) I always love the parallel world concept and I'm SO intrigued at your description of the multiple Londons here. Schwab always impresses me - she has such a crazy inventive mind and she has a way of writing these creative concepts in the most engaging way! Such a talent.

    1. Me too, Eilidh! I love the whole parallel world concept too, and I always love magic! :D Thanks!! It's extremely well done, and the "rules" of magic in her world are super fascinating!!! She is pretty amazing! I definitely need to go and read her other books because she really is extremely talented! :D


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