“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
Author: V.E Schwab (Victoria Schwab)
Publication: February 24th 2015 by Tor Books
Alright FAM, I did it! After prolonging this for ages, I finally read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab and OMG this is a masterpiece. A STUNNING MASTERPIECE. Although I would say that it takes a few pages (60-70 pages) for the plot to thicken but OMG once it does, you are in for a fantasy thrill ride since the pacing just keeps you on the edge of your seat! Even when I reached the half point of the novel I knew this would become one of my favorite books of all time and yes, it has! As of now, I still have yet to read the other books in the series but so far, this is a phenomenal start. I am so happy I picked this one up!
Within the A Darker Shade of Magic, there exists parallel Londons identified as Red, Grey, White, and Black and each world/society is very different from one another. Red London is the world which thrives with magic, White London suffers due people’s urge to control magic and Grey London is the world where magic does not exist. The fourth parallel universe is called Black London and this world used to exist long ago but it has been closed off from the rest of the Londons.
Kell is from Red London and he is an Antari or beings who have the rare ability to jump between the different worlds. His role is to serve the Maresh Empire as an ambassador to deliver messages between the leaders of the different worlds. Kell also tends to smuggle tokens from one world to another until one day he smuggles something which he is not supposed to and this sparks a magical but also dark adventure across the different worlds.
Kell – Reserved, Understanding; Protective; Sassy, A sweet darling OMG – it is impossible not to like him; Kell was such an interesting character to read about. You could almost feel the loneliness he goes through each day but even though he carries this burden, he is very protective and shows his empathy and care for those around him.
Lila – Brave, Ambitious, Cunning; Lila was an absolute pleasure to read about. She is so fierce and adventurous and always tends to get into dangerous and crazy situations but she is smart enough to know when to run and when to fight back.
Prince Rhy – Overconfident, Charming, Adorable lol; We do not see a lot of his character in this book but I hope to see more of him in the future since although he is a Prince and tends to be spoiled at times, he has a lot of empathy as well and you can’t help but love him.
Holland – A very complex character with layers and I found myself on the border at times. There were moments where I would pity him and other moments where I would have nothing but anger towards him but he is a very interesting character and I did like reading about his role in this book.
Overall, there are so many things to love about this novel: Those nail-biting action sequences, the witty banter between the characters (seriously though, the moments with Kell and Lila – I couldn’t help but laugh out loud), the mystery and intrigue of the parallel worlds, the unpredictable and dark magic system, the list is endless.
The writing is also so well done! It had the perfect blend of details to paint the image of the various Londons but also simplistic to keep the plot fast paced. Victoria also adds a lot of heart and raw emotion to the book which is why she does exceptionally well at storytelling. The world-building is spectacular. When sculpting a world within fantasy novels, one of hardest things to do is to make your world/society believable but Victoria does this effortlessly. Everything is explained so well that there is no confusion at all.
All the characters have multiple layers to their personality and some of them tend to be not fully good or bad – they would sometimes operate in the grey area but you still can’t help but cheer for them. I think this is partially why the characters are so well loved in this series, they have their strengths but also some flaws as well but that it what makes them human and relatable to readers.
In all honestly, this book definitely lives up to the hype. I strongly recommend it!
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Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all again with another bookish post!