A Darker Shade Of Magic: A Novel by V. E. SchwabA Darker Shade Of Magic: A Novel by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade Of Magic: A Novel

byV. E. Schwab

Paperback | January 19, 2016

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A Darker Shade of Magic, from #1 New York Times bestselling author 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.

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...This is a book to treasure."-Deborah Harkeness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy

Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light

V. E. Schwab's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound. She is also currently writing a fantasy middle grade series with Scholastic.
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Title:A Darker Shade Of Magic: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.25 × 5.54 × 1.13 inPublished:January 19, 2016Publisher:Tom Doherty AssociatesLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0765376466

ISBN - 13:9780765376466

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Start to a Series I really enjoyed this, and I love it when books live up to the hype. Schwab has created a fantastic, rich world that I enjoyed immensely. Likewise for the characters. Kell you just want to give a big hug to, and Lila you want to hang out with, if only for the adventure you might find yourself in. The plot is weaved together across different points of view very well, which is not an easy task, so kudos to Schwab. I will definitely be buying the next two in the series.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfection Victoria Schwab's books are always worth picking up, but this is definitely a favorite of mine. The characters are all well thought out (she once tweeted that she tries to make sure each character could be the main character in their own story, and that definitely shines through in this series) and the world-building is incredible as ever.
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great read super interesting world & characters! I love Schwab's writing style and can't wait to read the other 2 books
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from love it love the characters and the world. great read.
Date published: 2017-09-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favorites This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The setting, the characters, the writing, everything was perfect about it.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourite novels This is one of my favourite novels. I have often recommended it to my friends and co-workers and urged them to at least check out the premise of the book even if they're not a fan of fantasy novels. The engaging way that V.E. Schwab writes opened up a very imaginative but tangible world. Her writing style enables the readers to identify with the characters. If you're trying to get out of a reading slump I definitely recommend you checking out this book!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from perfect this series sweep me off my feet in the first few page. I feel hard for the world, the characters and Schwabs style. I love it, and i promise it would become really precious to you too.
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I was very. very, VERY apprehensive about starting this trilogy due to the hype surrounding it and the fear that I would be attacked with pitchforks by the fandom if I did not like this read. Luckily, that was not the case! I really enjoyed this novel. I have to admit that the first half was a little 'slow' but only in the aspect that it was introducing the different worlds, the characters, the magic system, etc. With that being said, there still seemed to be enough going on that I didn't get bored and remained interested. Personally, I liked the pace in which the story was unfolded because I felt that was a major benefit of this book. Sometimes, in other books, it feels like a new world and magic system can be thrust at the reader with no explanation which then gets confusing and hard to understand. Now, in total contradiction to the first half of the novel, the last quarter of this book........OH MY GOODNESS. So many things! So many feels! So much action! Seriously. My eyes felt like they couldn't read the pages fast enough because some of the action scenes/fighting scenes were SO GOOD! Honestly, this last quarter is what made the novel amazing and that is what pushed it to a 5 star from a 4. I cannot wait to read the next novel! I am loving the main characters with their unique personalities and I'm really interested to see where the story goes on from here because I don't really have any idea where it could go. Definitely a recommended read in my books!
Date published: 2017-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! The characters are absolutely the best part of the book
Date published: 2017-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! The world is very unique and you will just fall in love with it!
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I loved this book. V. E. Schwab never disappoints.
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow A unique premise with crazy twists and turns
Date published: 2017-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Series Such a good book with amazing amazing characters. Definitely give it a read!
Date published: 2017-07-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great New Fantasy Series A unique premise with interesting twists and turns, excited to read the rest of the series.
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A fun new Magical series! This looked intriguing...of course I judged by the cool graphics on the cover! But I quickly got hooked, and fell in love with the characters. Kell is fantastic, but Delilah Bard kind of steals all the scenes she is in. Lots of magic, lots of treachery, lots of fascinating detail all in a tightly-wound, tightly written package.
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A page turner This is one of those books that you devour, all the while dreading that it will be over. Easily the strongest book in the series, it is fast paced, magical and the characters are wonderful.
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enchanting adventure This book was gifted to me & I couldn't put it down once I opened it. The story is both magical & adventurous and I look forward to reading the next book in the series!
Date published: 2017-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I think I was expecting more, but I still enjoyed it This book was hyped up a lot, so I think that affected my reading experience. I was also in a bit of a slump, so that obviously had an effect as well. The worlds Schwab created in this story were fantastic. I loved the differences in language and culture and overall aesthetic. I think she did a great job describing all of it. White London especially. I only had slight issues with the plot and that's mainly that I think it could have gone on for a little longer, as things got wrapped up quickly so I didn't have quite enough time to feel tense in any of the situations. My main issue was with the depth of the characters. I really liked Kell. I liked Lila less, but eventually grew to like her more by the end of the book (though not as much as I liked Kell). Even with me really liking Kell, I still felt like we didn't know a lot about him. I could like him and root for him, but found it harder to empathise. With Lila, I felt that, while some say she's an aversion to many tropes, she still fell into some of them. I just got the feeling that I'd seen her character before. I liked that she had few qualms with killing people when need be (so many characters act tough like that but then you never see them put actions to words, she did), but she was also that trope of the tough girl who isn't like other girls; she wears pants instead of dresses, and while that's fine on its own (I'm the same way usually), she also used her differences to judge some of the more feminine women she encountered. I'm hoping she gets better in the next books because it seemed that she was bitter about her circumstances, rather than of the belief that she was superior to these other women because she was more masculine. Rhy and Holland were both good characters that I wanted to see more of. Astrid and Athos, while they had a cool aesthetic, felt rather flat as villains. Overall, I liked the story and the characters enough to want to continue. I guess it seems like I was tearing apart the characters, but I did like them, I just found some issues with how they were written. The world itself is interesting and I can't wait to see more of it.
Date published: 2017-06-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Phenomenal World Building and Characters! This book grabbed me from the first word and it's quickly become one of my favourite worlds! Schwab's writing is phenomenal and I'm really excited to read more of her work! I would absolutely recommend this for sure!
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! What a page turner! I could not put this down and was constantly thinking of the storyline and anticipating what would happen next when I was going about my day to day. I would love to see this book made into a movie if only to be visually immersed in Red London! I bought the series on a whim based on reviews alone and never having read a single book by this author and I'm so glad I did! I've since read 3 more books from this author and can't wait to get started on the next book in the series.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Did Not Disappoint Great book with excellent story building and rich in detail.
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun and Gripping I'm not going to lie, I was mostly compelled to buy this book because the art on the cover was really pretty (yes I judged a book by it's cover). Thankfully, I loved it! V.E Schwab has quickly become one of my new favorite authors with this book by creating a world (worlds?) that is different and enticing. The characters we meet are each have their own very strong personality including some of the smaller characters and the villains. With these two qualities combined it made for a very gripping story I just couldn't put down! I would strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for an light fantasy adventure novel.
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I loved the concept: multiple Londons exist, all with varying degrees and qualities of magic. The characters are really likeable especially the main characters, Kell and Lila, both flawed and relatable (even though one is a powerful magician). Schwab's world is so imaginative, so creative, I was caught off guard about how much I would love it - it begins slowly but by the end, you'll be scrambling for the sequel. Highly recommended for the fantasy-lover.
Date published: 2017-06-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ehhh The writing itself remained the issue, however, the premise I'd enjoy to be more fleshed out.
Date published: 2017-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING WORLDBUILDING I have to admit that I wasn't really expecting much when I first picked it up. I thought it would be just a regular fantasy novel with magic. But oh no, it was better than I imagined. V.E. Schwab or Victoria Schwab wrote characters with such depth and personality that I was literally attached to every single character which almost never happens to me. Schwab's YA series, The Archived, I wasn't a big fan of the first novel, however, I immensely enjoyed the sequel, The Unbound. In all of Schwab's books, her writing is lush and completely devouring. Her words are beautiful and she's just a great writer. After completing this, I'm thinking of rereading The Archived again even if I didn't like it all that much. Seriously, her writing is that good. Her world building is just as fantastic as her writing. The concept may seem odd and bizarre but Schwab writes with such detail and precision that it's easy to imagine the world that she created. A Darker Shade of Magic had me glued to the pages and I seriously cannot wait for the second novel in this trilogy.
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully Whimsical V.E. Schwab has managed to finely craft a fanciful world at the beginning of this trilogy. Her characters are complex and her world building is superb. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good I really liked this first book even if it was a bit information heavy it set the stage and overall and pretty invested in this story.
Date published: 2017-05-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very entertaining. Its a good/fun read. Its very information pack so you have to make sure you read everything because its all connect to each other. I like it. Excited to read the 2nd book.
Date published: 2017-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I went and read A Conjuring of Light as soon as I finished the last page of the book. I was pretty sure it was just going to be a love triangle, but it was quite a bit better than that. The concept was too intriguinging to pass up, and I'm really glad I didn't!
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok This was a decent read. The story was somewhat compelling but I think it wrapped up really well so I am surprised that it is part of a trilogy. I'd say V.E. Schwab's Vicious is better.
Date published: 2017-05-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Book! I quite enjoyed this one. It was fun and held my interest. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Date published: 2017-05-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Refreshing and Exciting Read I had trouble putting this one down, which happens rarely for me. I love the characters in the story and the world. It was refreshing in how different of a story it is (which is excellent). Awesome read.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Fantasy Novel I don't read a lot of fantasy books but I really enjoyed this one. It was recommended to me by a colleague and I'm glad I listened to her. This was entertaining, well written, descriptive and imaginative. I liked the idea of multiple versions of one city occupying the same "space" with each world being completely different from each other and how each deals with magic. I read this in a short amount of time and was hooked from close to the beginning. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequels.
Date published: 2017-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exciting, Edge of Your Seat Read I finished this one in the middle of the night and I couldn't sleep. It definitely did not help my insomnia.
Date published: 2017-03-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Lovely light read I'm late to the game on this book but I just finished it and really enjoyed it. I loved the multiple worlds and how the magic was different in each. Can't wait to read the sequel!
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant Fantasy Adventure This is a book you can reread over and over and it's still as wonderful as the first time; it really restored my love for books. A great story for people who love adventure, strong characters and discovering wonderful new worlds. V.E. Schwab writing is excellent and flows beautifully. Imaginative worlds and wonderful characters being tainted by darkness, what more could you ask for.
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from V.E Schwab does it again! I didn't think anything could possibly be better than Vicious but I was wrong.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from pretty good Really enjoyed the world that's painted - rich in detail, beautiful and interesting. I just felt the characters were lacking in depth and there seemed to be only one facet to their personalities. I wanted more. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and will probably still read the sequel.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from IM DEAD Oh my lord was this book good. Good? Nah, i mean FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC!!! This is the first V.E Schawb / Victoria Schawb book that i have read and needless to say, SHE HAS NOW BECOME AN AUTO-BUY AUTHOR FOR ME HANDS DOWN. The characters and plot and THE WORLD BUILDING are just at the top of its game like wHooooooAAA
Date published: 2017-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You need to read these! Absolutely loved this book. V.E. Schwab is a literary genius. I loved the characters and the idea of multiple London's was fascinating. When you are done with this series I suggest you take a look at her other books, specifically - Vicious and This Savage Song (This one is my favourite so far) - good news is that there are more books coming in both of those series as well :D
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delightful A delightful and engaging read. A real contender as one of my new favorites.
Date published: 2017-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Immersive world, believable characters. It's nice to come across a fantasy world that doesn't remind you of some other world you've already visited. For me, this book was like that. I truly enjoyed the world that the author has created, and I didn't find that the introduction to it caused a lag in the story, as tends to happen with the more complicated acts of worldbuilding. I can't wait to pick up the next one!
Date published: 2017-02-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Liked it It took some time to get into, but was enjoyable #plumreview
Date published: 2017-02-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Read, Not Great After reading such great reviews on this book, I purchased one myself. I wasn't thrilled but not terribly dissatisfied either. I found it an interesting story and world, but didn't fully enjoy the characters. I started book two though, so it's worth a try if you're into fantasy and magic.
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book Love this author, this is a great start to a series.
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from V.E. Schwab is one of my new favourite authors 4.5 stars. The magic system was quite interesting. It wasn't only restricted to the elements but magicians like Kell could travel to different worlds. I really liked the main characters Kell & Lila. They made a great team :) The villains were cruel but written well. And I sure hope to see more of Prince Rhy in the next book but Kell is still my fave :D
Date published: 2017-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I've heard nothing but great things about V.E. Schwab and her writing and this book yet I was hesitant to start this book because I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the hype. That wasn't the case at all! I loved this book and ordered the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows, so I could continue reading it right away! A Conjuring of Light, the third book, is being released on Feb. 21 as well and I can't wait!
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I might have found my new character crush I travel a lot and sometimes have a lot of time to kill in airports and airplanes. I bought this book on my trip to London and I must admit I couldn't put it down. Fell in love with the odd characters. They aren't quite the damsel in distress and the white knight... without giving it away I totally was rooting for Lila and Kell... the romantic in me couldn't help it. Cross dressing pirate girl and sensitive obvi damage by his childhood magician lanky hottie were captivating. Such a delightful fantasy that I finished the book and had to buy the second electronically cause I was backpacking through the UK. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Keep an eye on Victoria Schwab! She's doing things! Schwab knows what she's doing! So much stellar world building and character development! Kick ass lady pirates, chilling villains, and a flawed protagonist all tied together in an original, well thought out plot.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome I love this series so far. Its easy to really like the main characters and the plot is always refreshing and unpredictable. Can't wait to keep reading more from this author.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous!!! I loved it! The characters were so compelling and real. Kell and Delilah sucked me in. They were likeable without being nauseating, flawed without being tragic and had such a great dynamic with each other through all the trouble and adventure. The magic system was unique and executed with perfection. And London! Not just one, but THREE London's! Each one different, but linked though magic. This is my first novel by V. E. Schwab that I have read. I immediately went out and bought A Gathering Of Shadows in hardcover and a beautiful paperback copy of Vicious. I am looking forward to reading everything by V. E Schwab.
Date published: 2017-01-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read Fun characters and creative worlds.
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful!! A darker Harry Potter. The world development is great, the characters are interesting and the storyline is captivating. This is my top book of 2016.
Date published: 2017-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love it! An interdimensional magic-using smuggler and a streetrat big dreams wanted throughout London (or at least one of them...) meet, what happens? This book is endearing, magic, an absolute treasure. Well-developed, perfectly flawed characters, a well thought out system of magic, and descritpions that would be STUNNING in a movie, the only thing I have to say against it is that it tends to be quite predictable; but it manages to be so in a way that makes you want to read even faster to find out if you're REALLY right. A Darker Shade of Magic is an excellent book and I'll be running to go get the second book as soon as possible!
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT I love everything about this book. I love the story. I love the setting. I love the characters. I love it, I love it, I love it. Give me the whole series now!
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another side of London One of my favourite books of the year. Interesting story, good writing, characters could have been a little better developed. I felt like you learned just enough about them to carry the story, but theres a lot of information about their backstory that I wish was told. Intriguing enough that I’ll be picking up the sequels, hopefully more backstory on the characters will be revealed.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good book It feels slow and disjointed at times, but it still had a great adventure story.
Date published: 2016-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from VE Schwab is the best At this point, V.E. Schwab could write a 500-page novel about eating breakfast and I would read it. As it is, she's writing about magical Londons and guys with fantastic coats and cross-dressing thieves and pirates and evil monarch twins and I am very happy. There was nothing about this I didn't like - the prose, the pace, the characters, the plot, it was all great. If I had anything to complain about, it would be that with stakes as high as they were, there was a surprisingly happy ending. Still with two more books, I'm sure I'll get lots of angst and such. Overall, really, really good and definitely a new favorite.
Date published: 2016-12-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping I'm not even done this book but I've been gripped from the first page. It is such a fantastical idea but it is written so believably. The characters are compelling and I care about the worlds already. Reminds me a bit of the Kingkiller Chronicles. Well worth reading!! #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just okay There's nothing bad about this book, it's just not an overly unique story, and the characters are not as well developed. While the story moves along quickly, it lacks world building, and the characters never seem to have much depth to them. Not a bad read, but not great either.
Date published: 2016-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from awesome! This book can get rather slow, because the author puts a lot of work into developing everything... but it is 100% worth it. I promise.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Addictive Once you pick it up it's so hard to put it down and the characters are also very witty and charming (even the bad ones I find)!
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hmm I really wanted to like this book, but the constant POV switches were a bit annoying (especially because, if it is not a main character, you KNOW the character is going to die). But, still fun, and I intend to read the sequel.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from High-Quality Fantasy Excellent. Intricate world-building, beguiling and complex characters, and a plot that unravels confidently. It's rare these days to find a fantasy novel with a premise that interests me right off the bat, and even rarer that I end up enjoying it this much, but A Darker Shade of Magic fits the bill ten-fold. It's immensely clever, entertaining, well-written book. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2016-11-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing. This is a wonderful fantasy book. Highly recommend. Probably one of my new favourite authors.
Date published: 2016-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome I have been disappointed with the last couple 'magic type books' that I've read recently but this book has brought me back. It is so different from other books in the same genre/magic categories, very unique storyline. The author gives you great descriptions of the characters and the settings which they live in, without drawling on too much with the details. I really enjoyed this and I will definitely read the whole series.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! This was certainly refreshing. Very different from the YA fantasy I usually read. Super interesting characters and setting, and wonderful writing style.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! This was certainly refreshing. Very different from the YA fantasy I usually read. Super interesting characters and setting, and wonderful writing style.
Date published: 2016-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I was bored with the typical fantasy tropes and looking for something new, and let me tell you, this book does not disappoint! Schwab has crafted a beautiful world that will pull you in and leave you wanting more.
Date published: 2016-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from JUST READ IT! I have one word for it, MAGICAL! *cue flailings* Victoria Schwab's writing is beautiful. Flawless. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter was hypnotic. There was no escaping, not that I would want to anyways. If there was a chance to jump inside those pages, I would not hesitate. The world-building was spectacular. Each London was distinct and so appropriately named. Schwab took care to introduce each London to us. Grey London has an ominous vibe, Red London feels grand, White London gives us the shivers and Black London sounds dreadful. Yet, I loved every moment we got to spend in each place. Magnificent I say! Usually I'm not a big fan of multiple POVs. They get messy and confusing but none of that happened with this book. Every person's voice was clear and concise and we do come to realize why their POV was present. This book had no shortage of deaths. The intense battles between the multiple sides had me expecting casualties but I was still surprised by a few. Quite the thrilling ride~ Kell is our Traveler who possesses the rare ability to walk between the worlds. Even though it's not unique to him, as far as we know, he's one of the last two alive. Hence he's important. Native to Red London, Kell grew up with the crown prince inside the palace. Normally that would make anyone giddy however for Kell, he feels something missing. Despite being loved, he feels like a claimed prize. His life is burdened as the messenger between the leaders of the universes so, as a measure of comfort, he smuggles relics between the worlds. Naturally that's strictly forbidden and he gets into big trouble when a transaction out of his ordinary routine happens. As he tries to correct his mistake, he meets a clever thief by the name of Delilah Bard. She's super sassy. Being from Grey London, Lila hasn't seen much excitement in her whole life. Which is why when she literally bumps into Kell, with trouble trailing behind him, she jumps at the chance to experience more. "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still." (p.199). Her snarky sarcasm was super entertaining and she's definitely got the right attitude to succeed in her adventures ;) My absolute favourite thing about A Darker Shade of Magic was seeing Kell and Lila work together. I wouldn't exactly call them friends but they had the ultimate partnership. Obviously they bickered in numerous ways and clashed on countless occasions but they had each other's back. Surprising since one's royalty and one's a thief and that combination doesn't exactly shout out friendship. Even if they don't admit it to each other, they made a pretty awesome pair. There's really no romance in this book but the hint at one was more than enough to sustain the romantic in me. Hopefully something develops in the sequel. Please, Ms. Schwab? :D The villains were downright creepy. The evil Dane twins took pleasure in pain and torture. I couldn't help but cringe at some of the things they did. You had to be quite bloodthirsty and possibly pure evil to concoct and carry out such a sinister agenda. The irony. I do have sympathy for the duo though. White London's state didn't exactly scream mental stability. In a place where it's basically survival of the fittest, you had to exhibit cruelty to be in control. They just seem to enjoy it a wee bit too much. Their poor victims :S This first book wrapped up very nicely and clean. Fans of Victoria Schwab will surely not be disappointed and all booklovers should give A Darker Shade of Magic a go!! It's seriously brilliant! And have I mentioned it's MAGICAL? ;)
Date published: 2016-03-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life Better late than never, but I finally arrived to this party. And what an awesome party it is. But this is also a party I'm finding hard to review. I pretty much don't know how to do it without spoiling something.So I figure I'll just do a list of my favourite bits. First though, the only reason A Darker Shade of Magic didn't get a five star is because every time I put it down I wasn't exactly compelled to pick it up right away. I loved it as I was reading it, but wasn't really thinking about it when I wasn't. That might just be on my reading mood, or maybe it wasn't. - The Londons are done in such a clever way. I know parallel universes isn't something new. But I love how each London was so different in many ways. And that travel between the Londons is done in the most realistic way. Kell couldn't just jump around wherever he wanted; there are rules which never made anything convenient for Kell. The Londons are fully developed characters with their own distinct personalities. Essentially they are the heart of the story. - The magic system incorporated the elements, which is one of my favourite magical tropes. But what I really liked is how the magic is said to be wild and everywhere in the world and through a person. How controlling it isn't in what you say or do, it's like an open door that is always changing. Whenever Kell would explain magic to someone his explanations would change in subtle ways because magic is not one thing and it takes a lot to control it. - Kell, my precious Kell. My broody precious Kell. Being one of kind(for the most part) will shows through in his loneliness. It's one of those things where you're not alone but you feel lonely. It's hard for Kell to feel like even Rhy can understand his responsibilities and his usefulness to Red London. I really hope we come to get his backstory, even though Kell is unsure of his own history, I feel like it's needed to help Kell survive. - Lila Bard, a cross dressing thief. She's reckless, a little insane and kind of my new hero. She's distrustful and trusting all at once. She's a complicated women and that is what makes her so compelling. And possibly her unknown and mysterious story. - Rhy, the charming prince. And man am I utterly charmed. There is no way not to be taken by Rhy. He's entertainment and sadness all rolled together. And trying to explain that would spoil Rhy. His relationship with Kell is powerful. And thank you Schwab for including a bi-sexual character and for that never being questioned. Just accepted. - Banter. Banter everywhere, It's glorious! - Villains are villainous. Some are the kind where you want to like and possibly trust and some are just bad. - A Darker Shade of Magic is essentially coat porn. Not only Kell's amazing never ending sided coat; which what and where can I get one? Schwab clearly has a thing for coats and can describe in detail every coat in the book and have you drooling. It's actually quite the visceral experience. - Which brings me back to the world building and how wonderful it is. It's that great kind of world building where it's effortlessly weaved into the story as you visit or learn about the world. Having the multiple worlds could have easily become overwhelming, but that was never the case. There is distinction and visceral descriptions where I had no problem imagining the world(s). A Darker Shade of Magic is simply a treasure of a book. A great start to a trilogy that is only going to be epic.
Date published: 2016-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best.book.ever This book will keep on the edge of your seat to the very last page
Date published: 2016-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Parallel Londons and Intricate Characters I adored A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab! I instantly connected with the main character, Kell and found the writing visually gorgeous! I didn’t have any expectations for this book, though it had been on my to-be-read for awhile now. However, I must have read something about the book that left the impression I wouldn’t like the writing and was pleasantly surprised when this wasn’t the case. I loved catching all the details of the worlds – yes worlds – Schwab shares with us. Most importantly, I could feel the differences of the four Londons and that just because a London exists in the same space doesn’t mean they’re not worlds apart. The POV is split between Kell and Delilah Bard aka Lila, but I’d say there’s more POV chapters with Kell. For this reason, I consider Kell the main protagonist and it was huge for me to instantly connect with him. I connect better with female protagonists and so prefer reading books with them. I was thinking to myself why was it so easy to connect with him and came to the conclusion that maybe I’ve never come across one that was believable to me. As well, when the POV’s change I can definitely read a difference in character when it comes to dialogue and thoughts. This can be difficult to attain because of that lingering similarity between character voices. Schwab is exceptional at writing relatable characters. In this book there exists four worlds Kell can travel to, though we only experience three of them: Red London, White London and Grey London as Black London was thought to be destroyed a long time ago. These colours haven’t been chosen randomly and the reader experiences that. Through Kell and Lila, I could really see the differences and learned the importance of remembering each London is vastly distinct. I have to be honest, White London seems like a very scary and bleak place to live, even when compared to Grey London, a world without magic. Kell is an Antari, a world jumper or magician able to travel between worlds and belongs to Red London. The only other Antari in existence is Holland, who comes from White London and their relationship is strained, both having dangerous secrets of their own. I loved that in this book, magic comes with a price and Antari must sacrifice blood and pain when world jumping. Another intriguing fact, these worlds exist on top of each other so when traveling to White London, you must already be in Red London. If you want to go to Grey London, you must be in Red. You can’t travel to Black London from Grey or Red, you need to be in White. This made the plot all the more difficult for Kell and Lila and interesting for the reader. I can’t wait to pick up the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows and find out what’s next for Kell and Lila. Schwab is a master of secrets, so I hope one particular piece of foreshadowing I picked up on is revealed in book #2. There’s a lot of dark elements in A Darker Shade of Magic and I loved every moment of it! I recommend this title to readers wanting a darker fantasy, with incredibly original worlds and intricate characters.
Date published: 2015-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of the coolest alternate dimension stories This story features great world-building and amazing characters (of the good AND bad variety). It's a slow start, but once it gets going, it's so much fun to read!
Date published: 2015-08-06

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly's 27 Female Authors Who Rule Sci-Fi and Fantasy Right Now "A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Its plot is gripping. Its characters are memorable. Its setting in four parallel, powerful Londons is otherworldly yet believable. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale that is original in its premise and compelling in its execution. This is a book to treasure." -Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of The All Souls Trilogy"Compulsively readable...her characters make the book. Just as Kell has layers, Lila is a satisfyingly rich invention...With so many worlds on the map, there's plenty left to discover." -NPR"A Darker Shade of Magic feels like a priceless object, brought from another, better world of fantasy books." -io9"Schwab (Vicious) creates an ingenious set of nesting alternate Londons in this imaginative, well-crafted fantasy. Confident prose and marvelous touches-a chameleon coat, a scarlet river of magic, a piratical antiheroine-bring exuberant life to an exhilarating adventure among the worlds." -Publishers Weekly, starred review"A Darker Shade of Magic is smart, funny and sexy ... Schwab keeps the excitement coming with roller-coaster plot twists that establish her as, perhaps, the natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones's contemporary fantasy crown." -The Independent"Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine." -Kirkus ReviewsEdit