A Darker Shade of Magic – Book Review!

Finally I have finished this book. It took me forever to complete due to life being crazy (getting registered in the Netherlands, getting everything set up here to name only a few things.) I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book though. It got me super excited to continue on to the next book in trh trilogy, A Gathering of Shadows (which currently I am making my way through!) Here are my thoughts and review for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The book starts with the main protagonist, Kell. He is a rare blood magician called Antari. He has the ability to travel between parallel versions of London. Doors between the worlds however have been sealed up because one London – Black London – fell into chaos. In order to save the other three, the doors between the worlds were sealed to stop the chaos from spreading. Antari can still travel (never to Black London though), but since they are the only ones who have the magic to traverse, Kell is assigned as a messenger to the royal throne of Red London, his home. He brings messages to the rulers of the other Londons to keep the peace. Magic (in Grey London, at least) and travelling through worlds are a close kept secret that only the rulers of each London know about.

The story starts with Kell in Grey London. This London is our own world, where magic no longer exists. He is here to deliver a message from his own king and queen to the royal crown of Grey London, King George III and the royal prince.

Not only the messenger

Kell also enjoys travelling between the worlds to smuggle items to people. He trades trinkets from his own world for varying goods from other Londons. Of course, the people that he trades with do not know where these items come from originally, they can only use their imagination. Transference of items between the worlds however is strictly forbidden. Despite this, Kell still enjoys the thrill of the whole thing. He knows he shouldn’t, because he knows that one day his smuggling may be discovered by the crown, or worse it may cause him a whole world of trouble. These trinkets are also what allows him to travel between the various Londons.

On one fateful day, his love for smuggling goes wrong even though he did not ask for it. An item is pushed onto him for transfer. At first he doesn’t think anything of it. But it was a mistake.

The pickpocket

Enter the thief. Someone that enjoys being on her own, not having to rely on anyone, she makes her way through Grey London. She is called Lila Bard, and she blends in well with the crowd. Dressing herself as a man, she has grown to be a known (or better: ‘unknown’) thief and she enjoys that. Her reputation befits her. A very intelligent girl who wishes to see more of the world. Lila longs for adventure, taking to the sea and exploring the world.

However, the tides turn for Lila. She crosses paths with none other than Kell. Not knowing this and assuming he is just another easy target, she picks something from his pocket and continues on her way. Lila’s love for stealing has now brought her and Kell’s lives together in a way she didn’t think possible. She finds out that magic is a real thing, and there are other worlds besides her own dull one? Well she is going to find out even if it kills her.

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
– Lila Bard

Overall thoughts

I feel very strongly that I will want to re-read this book at some point in the future. While reading A Darker Shade of Magic, I was super side tracked with a hundred other things and I couldn’t really get into the book because of this. I love the way the book is laid out, making reading in small segments simple and easy to stop and start, however I would love to read more in one reading session.

Despite this, I did really enjoy the book. The world(s) that Schwab created within A Darker Shade of Magic are incredible. I loved the way that each of the London’s were built up and brought to life, each with their own language and layout. Absolutely stunning. The magic within the book also reminded me what it was like to read Harry Potter for the first time. The way Schwab made me feel through the entire book, that magic could in fact exist in our own world. Our ‘Grey London’. I miss having that feeling, and now it’s back tenfold.

Overall, the book has me super excited to see what the rest of the series has in store!

Flails out of 5

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab gets a stunning 4 out of 5 flails! (However this score will more than likely increase after a re-read!) 



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