Oh goodness. This book was AMAZING. *round of applause* THIS is what fantasy is SUPPOSE TO READ LIKE. No flimsy faux-badass girls, but an actual bad-ass girl. Lila and Kell will steal your heart and once you read A Darker Shade Of Magic you will never want to go on adventures with any one else. I read a chapter sample thing ages ago, but couldn’t really get into it. Now I’ve read the full book I realise that’s because there’s so much world building and gradual character introductions that it does take some dedication before you can really get into it, but if you stick with it you will get out what you put in!
This is not the kind of book you can read quickly, it’s the kind that needs to be savoured and loved till the final page and beyond.
Okay, wow. I’ve really given myself a task to try and describe this one. Here goes.
There are four Londons, each in a different world. There are magicians, and a few of them can pass through the worlds to see all of the different Londons, but not many people actually know of the other Londons existence. Kell, the main protagonist is one of those magicians and he has helpfully distinguished the Londons by colour. There’s Red London: his home, ruled by a King and Queen, a pretty happy place as things go. Next is Grey London: Lila’s London, as the name suggests it’s pretty bland, filled with thieves and trouble. Then there’s White London, which is basically EVIL London, rules by fraternal twins who are power hungry. And finally, there’s Black London, where no one lives. Everyone else has heard rumours of Black London, because it’s dark relationship with magic is infamous. Black London is where magic controlled people rather than the other way around.
A stone from Black London enters into the other realms and suddenly Kell and eventually Lila are swept up into trying to get it back to Black London to stop it’s tempting power from destroying everyone else.
That’s kind of it, in a very basic, boiled down form. If it sounds confusing or dull then it really isn’t and that’s even more incentive to pick up the book and find out what it’s all about yourself!
Kell: He’s so mysterious that it takes a while before we understand him properly, and I think that’s important. We know he has a lot of power, and he’s not stupid with it. He’s also worried about his brother and can be quite protective. He’s the kind of guy that keeps his cards close to his chest and doesn’t really know how to process unexpected surprises. Like Lila *eyebrow waggle*
Lila: bad-ass girl, taking names and…sometimes playing the thief. Lila’s an enigma because she has some magical potential, but she comes from a London where this is highly unexpected. Lila basically is the unexpected.
Rhys: cinnamon bun forever. Bae. Cutie Pie. Innocent bystander just try’na help.
Holland: Evil enigma. Vicious, ruthless, more than meets the eye, He’s got a thirst for power and isn’t afraid to do anything to get it.
W O R L D and D E V E L O P M E N T
Character development is actually insane. It’s so GOOD. You really get a sense of their journey, both individually and as a pair. The worlds build and open before your eyes too, so there could not be one thing wrong with this writing style. I just get the overwhelming impression that Victoria Schwab really takes care with the words she used. Everything is so artful placed and every. single. word. has great intentions. Each line either adds necessary detail to the world or the characters, but more importantly it all drives the plot forward. There was not one moment where I was bored, or uninvolved with the story.
I think part of this is down to the fact that the noel is split up into some many different sections and then those are split into relatively short chapters, that’s it’s easy to read even if it’s a meaty book with some grist because you can set yourself easy check-points and targets. There’s nothing I love more than a good short chapter. It’s the kind of thing you find in Laini Taylor’s writing too!
V E R D I C T
I’m sure if you’ve already read a V.E. Schwab book then you will need no more than her name on the cover to convince you to read this book. If you’re yet to read anything by this incredible author, then why not start here? It’s immerse, magical and will gip you in and never let go. And the best part is: the second book is ever better.