Thursday, October 15, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Borrowed from Library
Where to find: Goodreads / Amazon / Book Depository
Summary: 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.
"Love doesn't keep us from freezing to death, Kell, or starving, or being knifed for the coins in our pocket. Love doesn't buy us anything, so be glad for what you have and who you have because you may want for things but you need for nothing."
Victoria Schwab is one of those writers that you cannot help but love. She is quirky and eccentric and has an amazing ability to write amazing worlds. I had only read The Archived and Vicious by her but I knew going into this book that I was not going to be disappointed in terms of writing or character development. I do not even know why I put off reading this book. I should have read it as soon as it came out.

Parallel universes are a very interesting topic and recently there has been a increase in these kinds of books. But what I love about this topic is that every book is different. The genre itself is vastly different because the parallel universes each author creates can vary in so many different ways. I loved how this book focuses on four different Londons each with varying levels of magic and power. I also appreciated that it was not just those who could travel from universe to universe that knew about the alternate Londons. It was interesting to see how other people reacted and lived knowing this information.

This book focuses on Kell and Lila who meet during one of Kell's trips "abroad." Immediately I loved their banter and the connection between them. Both are very independent and capable individuals, but you could see they worked better together. 

This really has nothing to do with the quality of the book itself, but Kell's reversible (reversible isn't even right because it appears to have an infinite about of sides) jacket is pure genius. I loved how everywhere he went he would have to switch his jacket around to find the right style for his current project. The jacket just added to the quirkiness and the oddity that is Kell and his ability.

There is so much left to explore in this trilogy especially with all four Londons. This book really only focuses on two of them. I would really love to see more of the other two, which I think we will get. I also have so many questions about Lila and how she was able to help for the whole book and if there is more to her than we are being told (which I highly suspect there to be).

I really had no issues with this book. It was a fascinating tale in other Londons filled with magic, power, and secrecy. I cannot wait for the next book to see where Kell and Lila's story goes next. One last thought, this is considered an adult book, but I would say it is one of those books that is really fine for everyone. It is definitely a good book for people just starting to go from YA Fantasy to Adult Fantasy. 

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