5 June 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication Date: February 27th 2015
Source: Bought

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.

An epic fantasy involving multiple London's, captivating characters and dangerous magic that kept me reading into the early hours of the morning. The story and the world were both enchanting and I couldn't wait to find out more about the characters and each of the different version of London.

Kell is a mysterious character. I was unsure of what to think of him to begin with. Kell is a Traveler which means he can travel through special doors to different Londons. He keeps trinkets from other London's - which is against the law - but he can't help himself. He's an intriguing and powerful character. Rhy is the spoiled Prince of Red London and Kell's adoptive brother. Rhy tries to get Kell to indulge his wants, but Kell doesn't give into him. Holland is very mysterious, dark and powerful. He could also be extremely creepy and scary. But everything Holland does is against his will. He's been bound and he must serve his masters. Lila is impulsive and reckless She doesn't think about anything before she acts which gets her into a bit of bother. She wants something more from life and she's determined to get it.

Magic took over Black London like a plague so all of the other worlds sealed their walls to prevent the plague from spreading and destroying everything. All trinkets found from Black London were destroyed - or so they thought. Red London is the powerful London where blood runs through the city in the form of a river. Grey London is basically normal. All magic has disappeared. In White London, magic is scarce, so people are always fighting over the little power that remains. Black London has been destroyed as far as anyone knows. No one has returned since they sealed their worlds.

Kell and Holland are Antari and are the only people that can travel between worlds. They travel to bring messages from the rulers of each world, but they aren't supposed to bring anything back with them. Kell can't help himself and he has become a trader and a collector. A woman asks him to bring a message to her only living relative in Grey London, but Kell soon finds out he's been tricked and he's in possession of a stone from Black London with immense power. Kell knows he needs to get rid of it, but he's robbed by a young girl while he's weak. He tracks her down and that's how Lila and Kell meet properly. After an encounter with Holland where he tortured Lila and tried to hurt Kell for the stone, Kell and Lila team up to travel to Black London to get rid of it.

I got completely drawn in by the world Schwab created in A Darker Shade of Magic. I wanted to know more about each of the Londons - especially Black London - and more about the mysterious, intriguing characters. 

A Darker Shade of Magic was a fantastic beginning to what is probably going to be an amazing series, and after the ending, I'm definitely intrigued to see where A Gathering of Shadows is going to pick up. The synopsis for the next book is making me desperate to have it in my hands.


  1. I've yet to read a Schwab book. And guess what? I own four of them... Story of our life, right?
    I'm really excited to get to this one. I think I'll probably start with Vicious first since it's a stand alone. But man this book really sounds great. I'm sure I'll love it just as much as you.

  2. I've heard good things about this one, glad to hear you enjoyed it too! It's most definitely on my TBR list, it sounds so interesting :)

    - Wattle @ Whimsical Nature