☾ about the book
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic
Format: hardcover, novel, collector’s edition
Trigger Warnings: attempted rape, torture, self-harm, self-mutilation, violence, blood, talk of parental abuse.
☾ the synopsis
Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes―Red London―and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
☾ the characters
Kell is the first of two Antari. He is a member of the court of Red London, raised as a brother and protector to Prince Rhy, who likes to get into trouble.
Lila Bard, a con-artist and pick-pocket who robs him and then helps save him and Red London from the court of White London – the Danes and their Antari Holland.
☾ the magic system
The Antari can work magic using blood and a language called the Antari language.
Normal people can become magicians by wielding the elements.
☾ the world building
Red London is the London of good magic. It flourishes because it values magic and life the same.
White London is the London of strarvation, and its King and Queen harbor pain and suffering.
Grey London is the magic-less of the four Londons.
Black London is the London that was destroyed.
☾ what i liked about this book
I had no expectations for this book and V. E. Schwabs writing absolurtely blew me away.
There is something quite poetic about A Darker Shade of Magic, and as the title suggests, it is filled with magic.
I really enjoyed the characters – Holland and Kell were definitely my favorite.
☾ what i didn’t like about this book
I’m going to be honest here and say that I didn’t like Lila Bard as much as everyone else does.
She is the embodiment of the “I’m not like other girls” trope, which is one I am not a fan of, and I found her quite annoying at times,
☾ should you read this book?
A Darker Shade of Magic is a very hyped book – but I definitely enjoyed it, and I would recommend it to all my fellow fantasy lovers.
The world builing is a lot more complex than just the existence of four Londons and magic, I just always do a very bad job at it.
Also Rhy and Kell just have an awesome dynamic that I feel like those readers who have siblings will relate to.
If you like books that have a bit of darkness lurking in the back, so to say, you will enjoy this one.