A few weeks ago, I hit a reading slump. I kept picking up books, but couldn’t get through them. And then, despite the fact that I was already in the middle of six other books, I decided to start reading V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic. The result: goodbye reading slump, hello new favorite book! This book was the perfect mix of darkness and high fantasy that has been missing in my life, and I absolutely loved it!
Kell is one of the last two Antari – beings with the ability to travel between worlds. Officially, he’s the the ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London. His job is to bring messages to and from Gray London – a boring, non-magical city ruled by mad King George – and White London – a city full of dark magic, ruled by the murderous Dane twins. But Kell has a habit of bringing more than messages between the world. He smuggles artifacts for those who will never see these other worlds. A hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Kell flees to Gray London, where (almost) no one can follow him. There, he encounters Delilah Bard, who robs him, saves his life, and then tags along with him on his quest so she can finally have the ‘proper adventure’ she’s been dreaming about.
A Darker Shade of Magic is different than anything I’ve ever read. I loved the alternate worlds element. It was very well done, and executed in a way that didn’t seem science-fiction-y at all – it was purely fantasy. I also enjoyed the fact that this was an adult novel, rather than a young adult novel. The storyline and characters were more mature, and, while there was a hint of romance, it didn’t take over the story. Same goes for the political aspects of the novel – they seemed very organic, and (unlike a lot of books I’ve read) were complex and interesting without being convoluted and confusing. Schwab struck the perfect balance between world building, character development, and plot.
I loved this book! I’ve craving fantasy lately, but YA wasn’t doing it for me, and I have too much going on at the moment to jump into an epic by George R.R. Martin or Brandon Sanderson. A Darker Shade of Magic was the perfect escape! V.E. Schwab’s writing was amazing, and I really loved the story. I am definitely excited for the sequel, A Gathering of Shadows, which comes out in February, and am planning to read her other adult novel, Vicious, very soon.
If you haven’t read this yet, I highly recommend it! It will probably be one of my favorites for the year, and I’ve read a lot of great books in 2015.
You can purchase A Darker Shade of Magic and all of V. E. Schwab’s other books by clicking this link!