Hello, people of the internet!
I’ve seen this book in almost every book shop I go and a lot of people on Twitter have talked about this book a lot – and I mean a lot! I’ve seen loads of great fan art and people tweeting about how the last book in series got them in the feels via gifs.
So, as my blog name would suggest, I got very curious about this book. So I got myself the first book in the series.
(P.S. This review will be spoiler-free, so don’t worry about it!)
Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publication date: 27th February 2015
Publisher: Titan Books
Kell is one of the last travellers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, without magic and ruled by the mad King George III. Red London – where magic is revered, and where Kell was raised alongside the heir to the empire. White London – where people fight to control the remaining magic and magic fights back. And once there was Black London…
From the blurb alone, I couldn’t tell what the plot was or even where it was going to go. All it does it give you basic information on the worlds themselves and what Kell, one of the main characters, is. That’s what I absolutely love about blurbs like this – they are brief and don’t reveal a lot about the plot, but gives you enough to understand what kind of book you’re getting yourself into.
The first 100 pages of the book sets up all the relevant characters, the relationships between them and how the worlds work before the plot begins to speed up and a heck of a lot of action scenes begin. V. E. Schwab really does know how to create worlds, make them stand out and help the reader understand how the world works. Looking back, some of the information given is borderline exposition, but as I was reading it, it felt natural and true to the third-person narration. I want to know more about these worlds!
I should say this before I continue with my next point: this is the second book of V. E. Schwab I have read as the first book I read was This Savage Song. I mention this because both This Savage Song and A Darker Shade of Magic both have male and female main characters who team up, despite being completely different, with the male lead having magical powers and the female lead being incredibly tough and fights well in battle. There are some more similarities, however, despite this, I still see these characters as their own characters as there are different in their own ways. Since I haven’t read the sequels yet, I hope all four characters of A Darker Shade of Magic and This Savage Song are developed further.
When the plot began to quicken, I couldn’t stop reading! Whenever something terrible happened, I gasp and even thought to myself, “NOOOOOOO! WHY?!?!?!? PLEASE STOP THIS DARKNESS FROM HAPPENING!” and wanted to read more to see what would happen. Though I wasn’t completely surprised when some plot elements occurred, it worked well with the story and I felt it opened some possibilities for the sequels. Whether or not these possibilities are explored in the sequels, I won’t know until I read them.
As you can tell, I really want to read the sequels! Unlike This Savage Song, which spent the majority of the book setting up for the sequel (that’s how it felt to me anyway), A Darker Shade of Magic doesn’t feel like the beginning of a series, but it also doesn’t feel like any of the sequels it has feels forced, which I really like! The story feels complete and its worlds are described really well (I would like to see this world in a visual medium like a film, I bet it would look amazing!), which I hope is explored even more so in the sequels!
I will give A Darker Shade of Magic 4 stars out of 5. I felt like I understood the characters and I really cared for them and the worlds they travel in are explored well and are written beautifully. I can safely say the sequels are high on my To Be Read list!
Thank you for reading!