Thursday, 18 February 2016

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab 

Publishing Date: February 24, 2015 (HC) | January 19, 2016 (PB)
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Pages: 400 pages

The Premise from the Publisher: "STEP INTO A UNIVERSE OF DARING ADVENTURE, THRILLING POWER, AND MULTIPLE LONDONS. Kell is one of the last Travelers-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king-George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London-a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive" (TDA). 

My overall review and thoughts: If you know me, you will know that I'm a MASSIVE Victoria Schwab fan. I've read every single one of her books and I just adore her as a human. She is one of my favorite writers ever. Funny thing though, I haven't written a formal review for any of her books on my blog. Why you might ask? I've always wanted to and planned to, but when I sit down to edit my reviews, it just ends up being "OMGZ THIS BOOK IS AMAZING. I LOVE IT SO MUCH" and no really coherent thoughts for a review. This book is no different, but in anticipation for the sequel's release next week, I decided to re-read this book recently. It is very rare that I will re-read a book only because I'm time poor and I have to really love a book to do that. So yes, here is my review FINALLY! I will try to not be so fangirlish and just simply say, I loved it because I loved it and actually talk about why you should go pick up a copy and read it already.

To begin with, I loved this book even more the second time around reading it. Not only does Victoria create such well-rounded characters, she builds wonderful worlds for these characters. I was instantly intrigued by Kell and I loved his relationship with Rhy so much! I just loved this idea of a "time traveler" travelling between different Londons (This reminded me so much of Victoria's other series, The Archived, and of course, my one true love, Doctor Who). Kell is such a fascinating character because it is clear that he cares for his "family" but he also "smuggles" things even when he knows he shouldn't. Also, after reading this book, I wanted a jacket just like Kell. Another character that I loved was Delilah Bard. She is all kinds of amazing and such a strong female character. She is brave and wants to see the world. I really found myself in the character of Delilah because she aspires to be more and wants more and she takes risks. I want to be more like Delilah!

But yes, besides the wonderful characters, this idea of "different" Londons was so amazing. Each London has a history and there is magic kind of "exists" between of all these worlds. I don't want to go on tangents and spoil the premise for you, but it involves some treachery, smuggling and moving between worlds. I will say however, similar to Victoria's other book, Vicious, she does create characters you feel super conflicted about. I'm talking about Holland here (!!!!!). On one hand, I want to hate him, but on the other hand, I quite like him. I love the ambiguity with certain characters and how the reader feels conflicted. No one is painted so black and white and I really appreciate that. Overall, I think if you are a fan of Victoria's regular work, you will enjoy this. This has got to be my favorite book by her yet! If you haven't heard of Victoria before.. first, what are you waiting for? and second, you will not be disappointed. She is a wonderful writer and every time I read one of her books, I walk away feeling super inspired :D So well done, Victoria!

My rating of the book:  (5/5 stars) 

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