Thursday, May 14, 2015

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

"A Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab
First published in 2015
398 pages
First in a trilogy
My rating: 4 out of 5

Image from Goodreads

The Short of It:
This was a fun, charming and quick read about magic and parallel universes that I'd fully recommend.

The Long of It:
"A Darker Shade of Magic" was a rollicking adventure featuring magic, multiple versions of London and a female pickpocket aspiring to be a pirate -- not to mention a sinister magic rock, power-hungry monarchs and battle of good versus evil.

There are four totally distinct worlds in existence, each with a city called London on the same spot on the same island. Kell hails from Red London -- vibrant and bright and prosperous, with humans' innate magic held in perfect balance. Kell is an Antari -- one of only two people with the power to travel between the Londons, tasked with delivering correspondence between the monarchs.

Lila Bard is from Grey London -- our London -- whose residents are oblivious to the existence of magic. She survives by picking the pockets of the rich and has dreams of captaining her own pirate ship -- or at the very least, escaping the drudgery of her daily life.

Lila feels like there has to be something more -- and she's right. On a night when things go horribly wrong for Kell, fate brings the two together. And Lila, who until that night knew nothing of the other Londons or magic, will play an integral role in helping Kell save the world from some very bad people and some very bad magic.

"A Darker Shade of Magic" was such a delightful and exciting read and it'll appeal to readers who like adventure stories or magic or even historical fiction with a twist (the story takes place in 1819).

My only complaint is that I wish there were more to the tale. Schwab typically writes young adult books and I feel like that showed here in the occasional lack of depth to the plot and characters. There were a few questions raised (like what happened in Kell's childhood, which someone has blocked from his memory with a spell) that I would have loved answers to, as well as more information about the four Londons and what happened when one of them was cut off from the rest. But this is just the first book in a trilogy and I'm looking forward to getting answers to these queries and seeing how Kell and Lila's story in this magical world (err, worlds) unfolds.

P.S. I love this book cover!

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