I woke up early last Saturday, and knowing that I had an awesome book lying around with almost 18% left, I didn’t start my day until it was finished.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab is book 1 of the Shades of Magic trilogy. It follows the journey of a Red Traveler named Kell, last of the travelers who can magically travel between parallel universes. The book is based in a world that has 4 parallel versions of London where each one is named after the color it mainly projects: Red London; the bright magical city, Grey London; the dull and boring city with no magic, White London; the cold and pale city with magic, and Black London; the dark city that was consumed by magic and where no one goes to anymore.
Kell is an Antari (someone with special magical powers), and an ambassador for Red London. By using blood magic he can open a door that allows him to travel between the different Londons and carry correspondences among the rulers of these cities. However, he has a bad habit of smuggling items between them and because of this dangerous hobby he gets himself in trouble in Grey London where he meets a thief named Delilah ‘Lila’ Bard. Through various encounters, both Kell and Lila find themselves fighting to save their lives and Red London from evil that attacks them from right next door.
What I liked about it:
- I loved this book, it’s very different from what I’ve been reading lately. Travelling among parallel universes is one of my favorite topics in Fantasy and this book covers it very well.
- This is the first book I’ve read for this author. I liked her writing style, it’s engaging and easy to follow.
- The new world and magic system were well built. The concept of the parallel Londons, the characteristics of the people who ruled and lived there and the way magic is used to travel among them was interesting and the author portrayed it quite well in the story.
- I loved the main characters, Kell and Lila. Each one had their well defined personality and it was fun following their journey together.
- I thought the plot was intriguing, it had a lot of action, magic and kept you wanting to know what happens next.
What I didn’t like about it:
- There isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. The only comment I have is one thing I thought could have been a bit better. Don’t read ahead if you haven’t read the book already. [Spoilers]
The ending. I had a feeling that the ending could have been a bit more complex and a little left with an obvious cliffhanger, even though I know a lot can still happen in the next book from the way things ended.
[End of Spoilers]
I’d place this book between young adult and adult categories. The second book in the series was published today, so I plan to get it sometime soon. If you’re into parallel universes and magic then I recommend you check this book out.