Okay, I did it? I listened to the hype, even though it’s not always recommended. I listened. And all of you people were damn right. The hype didn’t lie. If it held some minor drawbacks, A Darker Shade of Magic definitely lived up to its praise, taking me on an unexpected journey.
SLOW BEGINNING, BUT AMAZING WORLD-BUILDING.
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
Four different London, defined by their color, separated by doors that only a few lucky, or unlucky people can cross. Magicians, heirs to the throne, power envy, darkness, fights and a little bit of blood. I won’t sum it up for you, because you certainly know the story already, and if not, Goodreads does that perfectly. But this is just to mention that this book is totally out of my comfort zone. I’ve said it a thousand times, I love contemporaries, but I do want to shake things up a bit, because you guys are making me want to read ALL the books. And erm, I’m definitely glad I did read that one, because it was SO good. I’m not sure if this is because that book is a bit outside of my usual reads, or if it was that way for a lot of people, but I did have a hard time getting into it. I found the beginning a little slow, I was eagerly waiting for the characters to meet up, the action to finally kick in, the whole hype to finally come alive before my eyes. It took some time, I’m not going to lie, but that time was taken to build an intricate world, to show us the ropes and the ways the different London work, to get accustomed to such a new universe. So I’m not really mad, I’m kind of grateful, actually, because WHAT an amazing world-building that was. And what a great idea for it. Different Londons, so many different people and worlds and abilities, magicians, possibilities… so I’m not used to it, but damn I could get used to this awesomeness -sometimes slightly terrifying world- very quickly. I wanted to see more of the different London, to KNOW more. But I get that it’s a series, and I’ll swallow my impatience silently. For now.
KELL, LILA, TWO FIERCE, AWESOME CHARACTERS
“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg. I was myself entirely.”
A Darker Shade of Magic has so many different characters that, at first, it was hard to keep up. Like I said before, it’s probably because it took time for the world to build, and for us to understand the ropes. But let me reassure you before you panic, there aren’t THAT many POV, actually, it all comes down to the two AMAZING main characters, Kell and Lila. Where Kell wants to be discreet, Lila wants to draw blood. Where Kell wants to be careful, Lila wants to jump heads first into the mess, and just DO something. Both are pretty awesome, I’d say, especially TOGETHER. Their dialogue and endless banter brought a smile on my face more than once, and it just shows how much of a talent Schwab has for this. Separated, I missed them together. If I loved getting to know Kell, and Lila, and all of their adventures, I wished I could have known them a little better, deep inside. Sometimes, I didn’t really understand Kell, because the writing is more in a direct way of saying things, taking us directly into action, and not forever dwelling on the feelings. You know me, I’m a HUGE FEELINGS person, so, erm, I missed that quite a bit, but it was still a great change. And LILA, damn that girl is FIERCE and I loved that about her so, so, so much. Yet I wish we got a little more into her story, too, especially her past. But once again it’s a series, so I’m wishing to know more in the next installment.
AND THAT ENDING? MORE, I ASK.
“Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.”
Noticed how I already mentioned twice the next book? Well, because YES I’m going to read it. I can’t not read it after that ending, after everything that happened. The middle and the ending really made it up for the slow start, with a lot of action, bloody bad things and new elements always making me turning the pages quickly, slowly realizing just how awesome this book was.
A Darker Shade of Magic is living proof -well, okay, writing proof, well just A PROOF okay?- that the book blogging community is awesome, and venturing outside of your comfort zone is sometimes so delightful you can’t wait to get back again. If the beginning was slow, and I wished MORE from the characters a bit, there’s no denying Kell’s coat is awesome and so is this whole book. I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series, because I heard it’s even BETTER.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Did you read A Darker Shade of Magic? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?! Do you want to read it? If you read the sequel, is it true that it’s EVEN BETTER? Share your thoughts in comments!
V. E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic, Published by Tor Books, 24th February 2015.
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.