Sunday, May 31, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic


Kell is one of the last travelers - magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king - George III. Red London, where life and magic are revred- and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London - a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cutpurse 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. - excerpt from book cover.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab is a adult fantasy series and this is the first book of a trilogy. The author is a new favourite since last year and how could I pass when a new book is published. After seeing the cover of the book it got me even more excited and it took some time before I manage to get the hardcover version (the book was out end of Feb). I dive right into the book immediately with much anticipation. 

The book started slow introducing our  main hero and explaining the basic mechanics of his abilities. I got a little bit confused on the magic system for traveling between worlds but it was easier to picture after frequent occurrences of it.  Comparing the book to Vicious (her first adult fantasy book) this is slower and the other book is fast paced. The difference is because this is a trilogy and the other is stand alone and we all know the first book is always how you set up everything about the world, the people living in it, the characters and all the details necessary. I absolutely loved the description of the different Londons and wished the map expanded bigger or a drawing of the maps included in the book. 

Another thing that I loved that the author did is italicizing words to emphasize thoughts and stress upon it. I also really like the chapter titles more than books who only uses numbering for chapters. It shows how much more thought the author put into that chapter giving it a title and indicating the direction. I also have to point out that languages were invented for the different Londons which made this a truly good fantasy book because the world is created and defined in many ways, not just by landscape. I absolutely love what this author did and she truly shows she can keep writing better and better.

The characters of the book are really likeable, especially how their personality is slowly revealed throughout the story. The side characters were just okay as not much is revealed about them yet and I think there will be more next book. The plot of the book is very good, so so hard to predict, my favourite type. The twists in the story was really good too, so so exciting and fantastic. I only think the book is too short and I just wanted more hence I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads but it's actually 4.5 stars for me.

In conclusion, this was a very good book for a first in the trilogy. I like the pace of the plot, the setting of the world, and the magic system. There is more to come in the next book and I'm anticipating greatness from the author as she has not made me feel disappointed at all. I highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers and also fans of the writer. If you read her YA books and Vicious and loved it, you'll definitely love this one too. This book has easily made it's way into my favourite books read this year.

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