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.
Author: V.E. Schwab
My Rating: 5/5
My Favourite Quote: “I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg.” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”
I was both very excited to read this book, but also a bit hesitant because I knew it was the first in a series. I don’t mind reading a series but I hate the anticipation of the following book and the inevitable cliff-hanger at the end. I am happy to report I was most pleasantly surprised how well this book stands on its own and I hope it’s not a spoiler to say that the end is quite satisfying in it’s own right.
The bulk of the advertising for this book likens it to Neil Gaiman and as a lover of his work I would agree. The fantasy aspect seems quite familiar but a Darker Shade of Magic’s world is much less absurd and a bit easier to follow. It was a really fun fantasy style book in a beautifully crafted world, that was both interesting, but not so overly complex that it falls into some of the issues I have with High Fantasy.
I really loved this book. All of its elements are so well done. The world building is great, and so captivating. The main characters Kell and Delilah are both wonderfully compelling, and a joy to follow. The magical aspects and mythology added so much tot the story without being over done. The world really feels magical and mysterious, which is such a fun world to read about!
I really don’t have many negative feelings towards this book. The only thing I might say, though I know this is unfair, is that I slightly preferred Vicious. If you are unaware, Vicious is another very popular book by V.E. Schwab which is also amazing, but rather different. That being said I really loved both books, so take that with quite a few grains of salt!
Overall this book is an absolute recommend to anyone, as I think there really is something in it for most readers to enjoy!
If any of you have read it I’d love to hear your thoughts!