Friday, 18 March 2016

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab // hooked from the first page

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Adventure
Warnings: blood, violence
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Book Depository
The first book in V.E. Schwab's new Shades of Magic had me hooked from the very first page.

Schwab's universe contains not one, but four Londons. Grey London is like our own, dark and without magic; Red London is vibrant and filled with magic; White London is ruled by twisted magic; Black London is a precautionary tale about the dangers magic holds.

"There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London," she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. "See? I’m a fast learner."
Kell is an Antari, one of the few beings in the universe who contains magic within his blood. The doors between Londons have been long closed, but Kell can travel between them, and does so to deliver messages between the royals. But in his travels Kell finds something that has a dangerous and impossible magic, and with the help of Lila, a pickpocket and want-to-be pirate, they must travel between worlds to eliminate it.

The writing was simply gorgeous. I cannot express this enough: Schwab really knows how to write. It's the kind of writing that has enough detail to fully immerse you in the world you're reading about, which is so vital to the success of this book. A Darker Shade of Magic deals with some complicated concepts, and yet Schwab glides through them with ease.

The characters were so much fun. We have Kell, our protagonist who has a habit of breaking the law and owns an infinitely sided coat (how cool is that?). Then there's Rhy, the prince of Red London who is like a brother to Kell and flirts with absolutely anyone with a pulse. Holland is also Antari, but different to Kell in that he is creepy and borderline evil. And Then there is Delilah Bard. Lila is awesome on so many levels. Her one true love is adventure, and she wants nothing more to be a pirate. Plus we first meet her when she picks Kell's pocket of one of the most powerful items in existence. This girl is really cool.
"I'm not going to die," she said. "Not till I've seen it."
"Seen what?"
Her smile widened. "Everything." 
This is my first book by Schwab, and certainly will not be my last. She masters a perfect combination of writing, characters, concepts and plot that have me so excited to read her other works. The sequel is definitely at the top of my list - I can't wait to see where the story goes next.
Diversity Note: genderfluid pansexual character and POC bisexual character.

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