A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

“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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey all! Meaghan here again! I’ve been reading, just haven’t been posting the reviews here… Whoops! Influx of reviews to come to clear out the backlog!

“Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: My main interest in this book was in the cover. I’m just gonna be honest and put that out there. I thought this would veer too much towards Urban fantasy (a genre that can easily suck, and I just rarely have good luck with), so I was a tad wary. But I loved it! The beginning reeled in me and left me unable to read anything else, as it stole all my interest. It flew by, and the only reason it even took me three days is because I honestly had too little time for it in the beginning.

The Good: My favorite thing was definitely the characters, and how well the world was built. Even the evil characters were written fantastically, and I felt myself either liking or being intrigued by each and every one. (Also the plot was fantastic and well rounded, and leaves me wondering where the rest of the series is going to go!)

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Characters: Ahhh I ended up loving everyone, for different reasons. We have Rhy, our kind-hearted prince that just wants the best for his people (how can you not love him?) Then we have Kell, who’s an altogether unique main character compared to other’s I’ve seen, yet still likable and admirable. We can never forget about Lila, who, while frustrating at points, ended up being a super strong female character and extremely detrimental to solving the plot. And then we have the super evil twins, who written so well that I was even fearful of them at points!

The Plot: While this was probably the weakest of the three categories I talk about, the plot was still fantastic. There was tons of great build up and foreshadowing, and I kept getting surprised at how the book continued. I love how, while there was evidence for everything, it was revealed slowly, and after our main crew was already ensnared in the trap of White London. Additionally, things were never easy for Kell and Lila, which made it more realistic than them just blasting through enemies. They constantly had to work together to solve their issues, and I like the balance of importance that brought to the two characters.

The World Building: I loved the Londons, and the story that went along with it. Each one seems to have their pros and cons, and overall it felt pretty balanced. Not only that, but we actually were given enough information at the start to fully understand the motives of the characters and the plot, and in a way that didn’t make it overbearing. Additionally, it was also just a super interesting world! Magic was shown as being different, not just a tool but a living thing of nature, and the way it interacted to humans treating it differently, and how that shaped each London, was just super cool to read about.

The Favorite Character: My heart belongs to Rhy

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