“You know so little of war. Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out.”
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic # 1
Publication: February 24th 2015 by Tor Books
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I heard a lot about these books before starting this series. Raving reviews, ranting reviews, a little bit in-between. The only thing I knew was that I adore Victoria Schwab after reading the Monsters of Verity books. Honestly, Why didn’t I read the Shades of Magic book series sooner? I’m sort of kicking myself for not realizing how utterly amazing these books are. They’re innovative, funny, and heartfelt in a way that took me by surprise. NOT TO MENTION MY COMPLETE LOVE FOR LILA AND KELL (but I’ll get to that in a bit).
I think my favorite part of this book, because – let me assure you – I loved all of it, was that it was so… new? Like, I have never read anything like this before (and I’ve read a lot). It was so creative and special and wonderful and I’m in love. How many different Londons can one fit into a single universe? A Darker Shade of Magic is built upon this idea of being able to jump between multiple realities and magic reigning supreme. It was fascinating. I could go on and on about the world building for hours, but honestly, it’s just better if you experience it for yourself because I’d never be able to do it justice.
Beyond the complexity of the world (which is amazing), the characters blew me out of the water. Personally, I have a very, very special with Lila. I would explain why, but it’s a bit of a spoiler, so I digress. In addition, Kell and Rhy are precious and I love them. Seriously though, every single character is so completely developed and real. I actually felt as if I were reading about real people in some alternate reality fantasy situation. I’m in love with it all – which makes it physically impossible for me to convey just how much.
If you haven’t read these books yet, you’re missing out on one hell of an adventure. These books, and all of Schwab’s writing, deserve to be read.