Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

March 24, 2016 Review 24 ★★★★★

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 400
Release Date: February 24th 2015
Series: Shades of Magic #1
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General, Historical
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

Well, I finally got around to reading A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. ( It’s about time, Alise.) It’s only been a year since this came out but it seems like much longer since everyone seems to love this one. Of course, I always tend to fear the hype and I was hesitant I wasn’t going to like this. Once I read my friend Anissa’s review at She Reads Too Much, I knew I was going to love ADSOM. (We have pretty similar taste in books.)

This is world building! After being disappointed by the world building in nearly all my fantasy reads this year, ADSOM delivered just what I needed. The world revolves around the concept of four Londons: one dead, one ordinary, one cruel, and one ripe with magic. While it was all a little overwhelming at first, it was overwhelming in a good way that makes you excited to learn more. A lot of thought clearly went into developing the world and it shows.

Bad magic, Kell had called it.
No, thought Lila now. Clever magic.
And clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week.”

The magic system is just as fleshed out as the world building, and just as unique. There are many different kinds of magic and it was so interesting to read about how they all worked and manifested, including how there were sometimes consequences for that amount of power – serious consequences.

Red London Traveler and Lila the thief are our main characters, and they are glorious. While they may act strong on the outside, they are shown to be vulnerable, and I really felt for them. They are just awesome, and you should take my word for it. I wish the side characters had been given a little bit more depth and page time but they were by no means boring or underdeveloped.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC was not only a book I read at record breaking speeds, it was a book I couldn’t wait to get back to if I had to take a break from it. The sequel is on its way to me right now and I absolutely cannot wait to read it. Highly recommended.

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Rating Report
Overall: 4.9

24 Responses to “Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab”

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    YAAS!! I didn’t know you hadn’t read this yet Alise but I’m thrilled you did and that you LOOOVED it :D I have AGoS staring at me right now and I can tell you it won’t be long till I dive right in. The blurb sounds thrilling, not to mention kind of scary, and well from the reviews I’ve read, the ending is KILLER but I NEED to know ALL of the things!! You’re right about the world-building here, the magical system and the characters. I loved EVERYTHING ♥ Just reading the quotes you highlighted makes me want to read it again XD
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: The Mark of Athena

    • Alise

      I have the sequel out and ready too, although I’m a little scared to start it now xD I really can’t wait to get back into the world though :D

    • Alise

      Yeah, it was pretty good! Right? I’ve been reading the same book for over three weeks because I can’t find time :(

  2. Denise

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I read it last year,and really enjoyed it. I did find it a little hard to get into though – I thought the world building was too slow, and I got a bit bored. The second half of the book was fantastic though – there was so much action! I loved the premise too. Kell’s coat was awesome!! :D

    Denise | The Bibliolater
    Denise recently posted…Review: Rebel of the Sands

    • Alise

      It’s definitely a novel that throws you right into the world so I can see that. Haha, right? Love that coat.

    • Alise

      Of course! ;D I should be reading the sequel soon, although you have me nervous for that ending now, haha!

    • Alise

      Haha same, I put this one off for a long while. I really hope you like it if you get a chance to read it :) Thank you!

  3. Kirsty-Marie Jones

    Ahhhh, my friend is trying to get me to read it, and I WANT to, but i’m still putting it off because I’m scared of the hype and have been way too disappointed in books lately. But I do love the idea of four different London’s, but is it confusing at all? (because I am intimidated) BUT THE CHARACTERS SOUND AMAZING AND IF ANYTHING, I AM ALL ABOUT THEM. :)
    Kirsty-Marie Jones recently posted…And about this time of every year, the line will go to the ocean pier,
    and walk right off into the sea, and then we fall asleep.

    • Alise

      That’s exactly why I put off reading this one for so long but if you are like me, you have nothing to worry about :) The Londons are only confusing at first, and they are explained multiple times so that helped me.

    • Alise

      Haha I reserve that complete five stars for the Throne of Glass books ;D I can’t wait to read A Gathering of Shadows!

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