Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Magic
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: February 24, 2015
Pages: 400
My Copy: Hardcover From My Too Be Read Pile

Book Summary:

Kell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. 

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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.

Book Review:

A total blast. I really enjoyed this first book in this series. I totally found that Kell and Delilah are so enjoyable right from the start. These two individuals are very different, but find themselves having a grand adventure.

One of the things that drew me to this book was the fact that there was magic and different worlds where magic is treated differently depending on which London you inhabit or live in. I totally love how Kell can travel to these different London’s or worlds. Delilah is one character who has a lot of spunk to her. I like how she doesn’t let anyone or anything get her down when her luck isn’t going the way she plans. These two don’t seem like they would be a pair, but sometimes fate has other ideas in mind.

We get to see all the different London’s except Black London since the doors were closed a long time ago. So we don’t know what’s going on or if magic can even be let into Black London. When things get found or artifacts come from Black London, people tend to covet these items or objects. Sometimes they are dangerous and cause bad things to happen. Of course we learn that Kell knows some dangerous individuals as his travels take him to some nefarious individuals in the other Londons.

Nothing is ever easy as when an object comes into his possession, because of someone trying to smuggle something into another London. We learn that this is in an object from Black London. Black London objects are forbidden. No one is sure what these objects can do exactly but they are dangerous. People get punished for having these objects. Of course Kell comes into possession of one of these objects and chaos ensues. He gets robbed and the robber is of course Delilah. Delilah takes the stone that is from Black London, not realizing what she has or it’s value at first.

Delilah quickly finds herself entangled with Kell and his situations. Plus we get to meet some of the other more interesting, but dangerous characters like Holland, another traveler, who is you could say Kell’s arch-rival as he does some nefarious things and has a very different reason than Kell for traveling dimensions. Then there is Rhys, the Danes and so many other characters that make this book so much more interesting and intense.

Everyone has motives and reasons for doing the things they do. Traveling between worlds can be dangerous and unpredictable. Plus the rules are different for each of the Londons. We also learn that some people are plotting to take over the other London’s as well. Holland is really bad and manipulative as he helps cripple Red London in a way that is totally unexpected and something that you don’t see coming. 
Delilah is an interesting character as she helps Kell out of some real sticky situations. He finds that she has abilities and skills that come in handy when they find themselves in a bind. I totally love the twists and turns as everybody in the different worlds have things that they want to achieve for very weird reasons. I really love that this was more about getting to know our characters. I want to see what happens next in this series and get to see more of the different London. I’m kind of curious to see Black London, since we didn’t get to see it, but we know the doors are closed, but who knows, maybe the doors might be open in the next book. 

Totally enjoyed this book. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series.


4.5 Hearts


  1. it's great to know loved this! I don't think I've actually seen anyone dislike this. I've had this on my shelf for half a year now. not really sure what's stopping me from reading it. I really have to put it at the top of my tbr. Great review, Grace!

  2. I don't know how I have not read this book yet. It seems like everyone loves it!

  3. Love the idea of the different Londons! I wonder if we'll ever get to visit Black London? Great review!