A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Okay, let’s just take a moment here before I start screaming about this book – because that’s exactly what I’m about to do. This book was magic – truly. To be completely honest, V. E. Schwab is one of those authors that is supremely hyped up. Everywhere you go, you hear about her magic – and honestly, I swore I would never to read one of her books because I mean, insane hype is never right. But I was wrongggggggggggggggg, and now I’m V. E. Schwab trash.
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
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.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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.
Oh, where do I even begin? V. E. Schwab’s writing is gold. Seriously. Every sentence she writes just works perfectly. You easily get lost in her world and her writing style and even when I was staring down this book, in no way did I ever think I was going to fly through it. But with her writing style and quick, brief chapters (without ever being too choppy), I flewwwwwwwwww through this. I will literally pick up any book by her now because I know her writing is that good.
The world building? Amazing. I mean, you’re taking the most used city in fantasy and creating four distinct versions of it. How epic is that? There’s no way that she could ever do it perfectly, but she does. I will admit that I got a touch confused in the beginning with the kings, but once you get into the groove, it doesn’t matter or happen again because she helps the reader along so well. And the plot? It keeps getting crazier and crazier until you’re flipping the pages faster than normal and you’re afraid that you’re going to get yelled at by your best friend for accidentally ripping her book pages.
The characterssssssssssssss. I totally see how Lila Bard could win against Inej in Book Madness this year. They are both epicly fierce ladies – mentally, physically, and emotionally. She’s totally a Mulan character, and I just want characters like her in every book – kicking butt, taking names, and totally just showing some major girl power.
And Kellllllllllllllllllllllll. Oh, Kell. A++++ hero. Kind, level-headed, fighter for what he believes in.
And I can already tell Rhy is going to be a fun one.
Oh, I don’t even know what else to talk about. Characters were complex, detailed, and a lot of fun. The writing was amazing – both in writing style and plot. I was enthralled with each twist and turn, and the world building was exquisite. There was no real ship to talk about, but I was excited that I didn’t even care. Everything was just great. Of course I had to finish this at the end of the month, right when I was deciding to go all contemporary, but I literally canNOT wait for the second one.
Five crowns and an Aurora rating, since it’s a true classic!
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