A Darker Shade of Magic (Darker Shade of Magic #1)
by V.E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction
There are four Londons that exist in four dimensions and only two people in the world can travel between them and one of them is Kell. Kell is a smuggler and one day his illegal activities catch up to him.
The writing was the stand out of this novel. This was the first novel I read by Schwab and it was beautifully written. It was written in 3rd person and it almost read like a movie. You not only followed the characters but also the journey of the black magic. The writing style is similar to Libba Bray’s The Diviners.
Sometimes books about traveling through dimensions can be convoluted but Schwab managed to make it easy to follow. There was quite a bit of telling and not showing but that was because it was essential to understand the world. The world building, however, was a bit lacking. Schwab did a great job of explaining how the Londons existed and the rules of the magic but she doesn’t really world build beyond that.
Characters. Kell is one of the only people who have a lot of magic yet he doesn’t use it well-In other words, he’s shitty. Every body beats him in magic, He was incredibly dumb. He was likable but dumb. I found myself yelling at him all the time. OMG!
Lila was not likable at all. She was a thief and tried to justify it. She also claimed that she liked killing people-PSYCHO! Yeah, she saved Kell’s life on numerous occasions but I did not like her.
The Danes we truly evil and I liked every bit of them. Holland was also truly evil and a very sympathetic character. Even those the Dane twins were horrible people, they were by far the most interesting characters and I would have like to spend more time in the White London. I also like Prince Rhy and his comic relief.
For some reason there was the Grey King and the Prince Regeant but I didn’t understand their purpose.
The black magic was a character in itself and it had potential but I felt like that part was underdeveloped. The black magic was spreading and it seemed like it was going to play a larger role but it was a bit of a let down.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, especially Kell’s coat. The writing was beautiful and Schwab’s world was interesting. My only issue was Lila. Because I didn’t like her at all, I gave this book a 4 instead of a 4.5.
After thought-i’m assuming this is a NA book because the main characters are 19 and 20 and 22. I think most libraries/bookstores will shelve it in adult fiction and I think it will get lost. I wish it were YA but I did purchase it for my YA collection and I will promote the hell out of it.