I don’t know what it is with books about magic, but there’s something about them that pull me in and make me feel at home in them. There’s something about a fantasy world that can take your breath away in a way that not even the most beautiful of landscapes here on earth can. And there’s something about A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab that has officially made it my new favorite book.
Synopsis: Kell is an Antari, a magician with the extremely rare ability to travel between parallel Londons – Grey London, Red London, White London, and, formerly, Black London, which was destroyed long ago. Kell is from Red London, where he serves the Royal family. Unbeknownst to them, he is also a smuggler, serving people willing to pay for just a glimpse of the other worlds they’ll never be able to see for themselves. When one of his exchanges takes a turn for the worst, he is forced to flee to Grey London, where he encounters one Delilah Bard, a pirate at heart who thirsts for adventure. These unlikely friends find themselves at the center of a world falling apart, and only they can save it. That is, if they can first destroy the people that want to kill them.
Everything aligns perfectly in this book – the writing, the dialogue, the story, the characters. It never feels forced by being overly eloquent. Schwab shows you the world rather than explain it. She has brilliantly crafted characters that are flawed, yet loveable, and imagined a type of magic that is both beautiful and chilling, and also completely terrifying to behold.
This is a story about the dire consequences of unchecked power and how it can completely destroy the mind. It emphasizes the importance of friendship and family. It is written in a way that is nothing but readable, keeping you turning the pages until suddenly three hours have gone by and you don’t know where they went, but you’ve already read half the book.
It’s got all the goods.
And thankfully, there’s two more.
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★