Mar 18, 2015
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
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.
I had the opportunity to ask V.E. Schwab one question about her new book A Darker Shade of Magic. Find out what she had to say below!
Question: A Darker Shade of Magic, has multiple universe’s and magic, but can you tell us what makes this series so original?
Answer: I think every story has been done before, what sets books apart are the characters. There are so many genre nods, some purposeful, others inevitable, in ADSOM—a powerful talisman, a quest/race, an unlikely pairing, magic—but what I hope sets ADSOM apart is the cast. Kell is an powerful magician, yes, but he’s also self-conscious and a bit emotional. Delilah Bard is an orphan girl, but she’s also a cross-dressing street thief with a passion for weapons and a reckless streak. She’s not a damsel, and she rescues Kell far more often than he rescues her. Rhy is a prince, but he’s also a bisexual youth trying to find his place and power in the world. Holland is a rival magician, but he’s also a slave. Each one of the main characters, and several of the secondary ones, are the central figures of their own narrative, and I tried to realize them as fully as possible, because I’m a big believer that a plot is rather useless unless you care about the people involved, and I hope people care for this motley crew.
V. E. SCHWAB‘s first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound, and the Everyday Angel series for middle grade readers.
Here are some fun links to follow for A Darker Shade of Magic.
· Darker-Shade.com – a special website for A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC that is full of information and materials for readers.
· A video featuring V. E. Schwab exploring London and discussing the book.
· A fun Buzzfeed Quiz you and your readers can take that will sort you into a magical London.
Kell completely stole the show with this book. It was absolutely freaking amazing. I am not generally a fan of male perspectives, they are generally crude and immature. Kell wasn’t immune to those attributes, but he definitely wasn’t JUST crude and immature. He was a well-rounded character that very much cared for his non-family, family. Lila was a tough cookie, and her tell-it-like-it-is attitude was very endearing. My favorite part? NO ROMANCE! I love romance, and love triangles, and drama as well as anyone, but this book was better for leaving Kell and Lila out of romantic entanglements. It is a solid book without the romance, and I really feel like romance would have tainted the awesomeness contained within this book.
The world building that V.E. Schwab did in this book, is among the best that have ever been done. Period. It was amazing how it felt historical, magical, and sinister all at the same time. It was even better that there were different Londons, and at different points it was almost as if I could feel them overlapping and sharing their stories with each other despite how different the worlds were. I don’t think I had a favorite London, all of them had their upsides and downsides. White London had a few more downsides, but still overall I don’t think it was a terrible place just ruled by some terrible people. Red London may have appeared perfect, but they also had cracks in their veneer, and Grey London was a place that I am familiar with. This concept was beautifully done, and the artistry and way the prose sucked me in was wonderful.
This book was brilliant, and I can’t believe there hasn’t been more hype about this book. People, it’s the next big thing. I know I mentioned before that Red Queen was going to be a stand out novel this year, but this one is going to be right next to it on the bookshelves. Do yourselves a favor, and pre-order this bad boy. I promise you won’t be disappointed, in fact I’ve been suffering a book hangover, and nothing I’ve read as matched up to this yet. It was a full 5 out of 5 stars, and I am so so so so grateful for Tor Books for including me in their ARC and Blog Tour. I was NOT disappointed and you won’t be either.
5/5 – MUST READ, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**
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