A Darker Shade of Magic || V.E. Schwab || Fantasy || 400 pages || Tor Books
*I received a free preview of this book from the publishers in exchange for my honest review.*
Recently, I got my hands on a preview of A Darker Shade of Magic which is the first in a series by V. E. Schwab who is also the author of the immensely loved Viscous and The Archived series. V.E. Schwab has been on my radar for a long time and so, for me, this is a highly anticipated book and I’m so glad it’s coming out so early in the year (and so near my birthday yay). Here’s a summary from Goodreads:
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.
If writing styles were foods, V.E. Schwab would have a chocolate way of writing. When she writes, it’s smooth, gorgeous and it’s difficult to stop reading because you’re so immersed in this world. It’s the kind of writing that I could comfortably read from morning to night and that’s one of the reasons why I absolutely flew through this extract in one sitting and was immediately wanting the whole thing when I was done.
Seriously, who wouldn’t want to read a story set in London? And not just one but multiple Londons! I absolutely adore that city and everything about it so I was really excited to get into the book when I found out about where it is set. The different versions of London that we encounter aren’t really like the touristy version I’m used to but that city definitely has a certain charm surrounding it which is why I fell in love with the setting of this book. Not to mention that the idea of multiple versions is interesting and very original.
From what I can tell, this is going to be a duology, therefore I was really glad to find that the fantasy and the magic is not over-complicated. I wouldn’t say it was basic, because that would downplay how wonderful that element is but it’s simple in the way that we’ve seen both elemental magic before and most can visualize someone travelling in a portal-like way, right? I felt like that’s exactly what needed to happen for a short fantasy series and I wasn’t disappointed.
From the 130 page preview that I’ve read, I’d definitely give it a five-star rating.
Is it 24th February yet?