Book review: A Darker Shade of Magic, by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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. Goodreads

Hesitation is the death of advantage.

Four kinds of London and magic, I don’t need anymore reasons to want to read this book. I mean, sure, I was a bit put off when I knew that this was actually part of a series, but I was too curious about all four Londons that I decided to just kept on reading. Oh, and yeah, I was a bit put off also with the cover, but on my defense, the cover for the other edition is quite nice, so yeah I’m not complaining too much. But, did I complained about the story? Well, let’s find out.

I can’t believe I almost gave up reading this book! I really can’t! The book started off really slow, and I almost gave up, even though I was still curious about the four Londons and whatnot. But then the story picked up itself and I really couldn’t put the book down (well, it also helps that I’ve been in a seminar for the past two weeks and basically all I’ve been doing was just low-key reading books). For a first installment in a series, this book really is way too interesting. Halfway through and I kept on guessing what’s going to happen next, what’s the whole story arch, whatever going to happened to Kell, Lila and Rhy, will they ever be on an adventure together? Oh gosh, I’m dying with questions here!!!

Okay, excitement aside, I have a question for the author, HOW COULD YOU?? How could you give us really detailed backstory of a character and then just kill them? How could you? Why would you do that? I have lost count (obviously I am exaggerating here) at how many were killed in just the first book! I dread the day I read the second and third book, I don’t know how I will cope with so many heartbreaks. I weel for Parish (okay, on hindsight I should have put a possibly a spoiler alert on top, sorry).

I can’t believe how this book could give me a heartbreak (more than once, actually) but still gripping at the same time.

The characters? Oh man, don’t even get me started. The fact that I weep for characters that I’ve only gotten to know for a couple of pages should have told you how invested I am. And to have me overly invested in a character shows how interesting and well-written the characters are. Okay, honestly, not all of the characters are well-written. Take for instance the Dane twins; they are your typical evil character, cold, evil (it bears repeating), borderline psychopath, too ahead of themselves. And after all that typical evil character thing, it seems like the process of killing me them was too easy. Okay, maybe not too easy, I meant too simplified.

Apart from my complains on the unnecessary-way-too-often killing of characters and the too-typically-evil-characters that are the Dane twins (not too mention the too-simplified killing of them), I still would recommend this book. It’s an amazing experience to travel with Kell and Lila through the three Londons (will they even go to the fourth one, though?)

Yes! A total recommend. Just ignore my complaints and read the book, ‘kay?

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V. E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy, Fiction

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads link

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