A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Welcome to the magical world of London. Actually, welcome to the magical worlds of Londons. Confused yet? Don’t be. A Darker Shade of Magic is like stepping in to the Twilight Zone. Schwab will immerse you in to a world of parallel Londons, full of magic, danger, and intrigue. Are you ready?

“In truth, the cities themselves bore little resemblance to one another…” (Schwab, 15).

The Plot: A Darker Shade of Magic will take you in to a world where four Londons exist in parallel. Our main character, Kell, keeps these worlds separated in his mind by calling them Red London, White London, Grey London, and Black London. As an Antari, a rare magical being, he is one of the only two people in the world who can travel between these parallel Londons, due to a struggle with magic and power from long ago that resulted in the doors between Londons being shut. Among his journey between Londons, to keep the peace between their rulers, he discovers something powerful and dangerous that could destroy the balance he tries so desperately to keep. He meets an unlikely ally in the fierce, spunky, independent Delilah Bard, and has to make a deadly decision that could affect the future of the parallel Londons and their rulers. Can he save his precious London, the parallel Londons, and Lila?

“Only those few who could move among the Londons needed a way to keep them straight. And so Kell-inspired by the lost city known to all as Black London-had given each remaining capital a color.” (Schwab, 15).

A Darker Shade of Magic is a story that is rich in mystery, magic, and intrigue. I found myself quickly turning each page to find out more about Kell, Lila, and the amazing parallel Londons. I was under Schwab’s spell and densely immersed in to this bizarre world where magic runs rampant through the cities. The world building in this one was incredible, and though the character building may have lacked just a hair, that only added to the mystery and enchantment of the story. I loved the idea of parallel cities and enjoyed the different characters.

Kell was such a mystery to me. I enjoyed reading his character, and yet felt that I hardly knew him at all. He was so hard to picture in my mind, but that added so much intrigue to his past and his involvement in the story. I hope to find out more about him in the next books.

“As an Antari, Kell was made of both, balance and chaos…” (Schwab, 44).

Lila was such a fun character! I LOVED her! To make a well known comparison for readers, I pictured Kiera Knightly and her Pirate of the Caribbean character as Lila! She was brave, strong, feisty, and self-sufficient in her life. Even though she was a thief, she had a good set of morals and I think she paired well with Kell.

“Lila Bard knew in her bones that she was meant to be a pirate.” (Schwab, 64).

The rest of the characters, Holland, Rhy, and the rulers of each London, were developed just enough to make fine supportive characters. I feel like Holland was a good contrast to Kell and Rhy was quite entertaining to read. I would love to learn more about the Grey King and am certain we will learn more of Rhy in the next books.

If you enjoy magic, mystery, intrigue, and a great “Twilight Zone” like story, then A Darker Shade of Magic is for you. I would rate this book 4 stars. I cannot wait to find out what happens next!


6 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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