A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab (2015)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Adventure
Reading Time: 27/02/16 – 05/03/16
I fell in love with the story for this book when I picked it up because the cover reminded me of Shadow Web by N. M. Browne. It gave me the nostalgic feel of the adventures I used to read about as a kid. I didn’t buy it straight away though, so you know it was bound to be good book because I went back the next day after debating it over night.
I am glad I read this book when I did, it offered an easy and effortless release with some really interesting characters. Kell is immediately painted as this dark and sexy man that we don’t really know enough about and Lila is the troublemaker we edge on throughout their journey. The pair’s relationship is refreshing, they are good friends who have a comical back and forth going on. Both are very independent, usually you see one dominant character helping the other, but Kell and Lila are both strong protagonists.
This novel features four different London’s, each has a defining trait from the next. Kell is able to move between these worlds, he is one of the last of the travelers. Each London has a certain degree, if any, of magic and this places this book right into my favourite genre. Kell is of course very capable of using this magic, and it is exciting when he does so!
V. E. Schwab has written a novel that you can put down and then pick up again and get immersed straight back into the story. This is a fast paced novel with lots of action, I read this in a week but it probably would have been less than that if I had not been at work. The description paints each London beautifully, separating them cleverly from each other. The concept of four different London’s is really interesting; Grey London is clearly the most similar to a past London we may have known, whereas Red London is a magical and beautiful place that I am sure we would all want to go to. Of course there has to be a villainous side to the story and this is shown through White London, a darker city that has been taken over by the magic and is slowly dying. The fourth London, Black London, is immediately dismissed as a ruined city, destroyed by the magic it encompassed (this is all on the blurb, so I’m not spoiling anything).
I find this idea fascinating, that Kell can jump between these worlds, some of which are so obviously suffering, whilst others thrive. Here lies the pull this book has, you want to see more of each London and so you read more and more. This book is very easy consume heavily in short sittings. I found myself hooked to it for a few hours last night until I finished it.
Overall I would say this is a book for those who love a fantasy themed adventure, you will meet characters that you admire and characters that you aren’t really sure how to feel about. Whilst the climactic point for this novel is fairly near the end, you are most definitely going to enjoy the getting there.