Published by Tor Books on February 24th 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.
You know that book that comes around once in a lifetime. The one that as soon as you read the first page grips your body and soul like a rabid squirrel. A Darker Shade of Magic is that book for me. It whispered to me “Read meeee…” and even after the last page was turned it still whispered. It whispered to me all the things that could happen, had happened, and what the hell I was going to do until the next book came out.
Let me preface this review with the fact that A Darker Shade of Magic has been whispering from my bookshelves since the first week of its release. That’s right, I rushed out to get it and promptly put it on my shelf. Why might you ask would I put an anticipated book on my TBR and not pick it up in the whole year since its release? Fear. I was afraid that this book would not meet my expectations and I didn’t want to start my blog out on such a note.
Boy was I wrong. I should have read this book so long ago! Although, I’m glad that I waited because now I don’t have to wait SO long before A Gathering of Shadows comes out. Go me!
I’m not going to give too much of the plot away and considering this book has so much love already and you can find all about it. I will though give you two reasons that I loved it and one thing that I wish there was more of.
I am a sucker for a good magic system and I feel like Schwab did such both a fantastic and beautiful job coming up with the magic system. She didn’t lay it out all for us in the first ten pages which I LOVE and cannot stand. I love explanation, but some books start off info dumping and it becomes too much too fast. This is not one of those books. You’re constantly getting information about the different types of magic, what can happen, and how it effects in each of the different London. There is something about the magic that makes the magic ten times more interesting than most books, but I won’t give it away because it’s a big part of the book. But believe me when I say, it’s awesome.
I absolutely enthralled with the setting of this story. My curiosity was piqued by the idea of there being different London’s and each representing a different brand of people, places, and even magic. Boy, I can’t wait to read more about these London’s and how everything goes together.
Now for the thing that I wish and hope that I see more in the book
1. Character Development
Don’t get me wrong, there was some character development but I kept wondering if there could have been more. Considering this is the first book in a series I think that I can live with the amount of character development and not writing off the series (like I have in the past for absolutely zero character development). I was completely enthralled with the settings and the magic (what I feel like the book discussed more). I just can’t wait for more interactions between Kell and Rhy!!
So, there you have my thoughts on A Darker Shade of Magic. If you’ve been on the fence like I have please give it a shot. It’s such a wonderful read and you won’t regret it!