A Darker Shade of Magic was written by Victoria Schwab, and published in 2015. The second book in the series, A Gathering if Shadows, was published earlier this year.
Genre: Young Adults, Fantasy, Magic, Historical Fiction
My rating: ★★★★☆
I haven’t published a review for a while, and I’m sorry about that, so finally, a new book to talk about… And that was not any book, it was really fascinating and mind blowing!
Kell is Antari. That means, he is a being of magic, who can travel between the worlds and the different Londons. There are four of them, to be precise: Red London, the prosperous city where he lives; Grey London, the one in England, the one we know, in a world without magic; White London, the city of murder and revenge, where people want to control magic at any cost; and Black London, the destroyed city no one has access to. Kell is one of the two Travelers left in the whole world, and he belongs to the Red Crown, who has taken him as their son. He moves between the realms to pass their messages, but it is not always a safe thing to do…
I know a lot of people find this book extraordinary and brilliant, and give it 5 stars without second thoughts, but I sometimes felt that something was missing – thought I couldn’t quite put my finger on it – and this is the reason why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5. It was still an excellent book, obviously. Boy, it was a hell of a ride.
First of all, I really like the concept of magic being everywhere, and everyone being more or less capable of controlling it. This also depends on where you live, because there is not the same amount of magic in all the worlds: which leads me to another thing I really liked: the different Londons. It was a really fantastic and interesting idea. I also like how travelling between these worlds was presented in those books. And the evolution between the beginning and the end! When I look back, I can’t believe we ended up to that point… And I can’t wait to find out more in the second book.
I also really liked the main characters. Kell and Lila are pretty awesome, and have a really interesting dynamic between them. I really like the fact that the author didn’t throw a romance at our faces, and instead, created an awesome friendship/professional relationship between those two, who are both endearing characters, who have something special to them. I also really like Rhy’s character, but it was a pity we didn’t get to see more of him. I would love to see more of his relationship with Kell, because it’s obvious they have a strong relationship, even if we didn’t get to see much of them together. And I thought Holland was a rather interesting character too, even if he was some kind of a villain, there was more to him. He has a lot of knowledge, and a great aura I think, but even if he seems so strong he is still captive and manipulated by the Danes… I wish I knew more about him and his past!
So that’s about it for the characters. It was interesting that we got bits of the story in all three Londons, and sometimes we saw some minor characters that added meaning to the story, I think that was well-made.
So, why did I give it only 4 stars and not 5? Well first of all, I would have loved to see more of the backstory of some characters. And second of all, I felt sometimes that it was a bit draggy… I don’t know, sometimes I was just like oh my god it’s amazing and then I felt that it was a bit long.
Overall, it was a great read, and there is still a lot of mystery left, making me want to read the second book asap!
Recommended for people who like fantasy and stories about magic, or if you simply want to discover something completely different.
I would love to discuss this book! If you have read it, please share your opinion below… (and please, no spoilers about the second book!)