Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic, book one
Star Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
When this first came out, I was ecstatic. Multiverses? Steampunk elements? A dreamy, ginger-haired magic worker with a silver tongue and a sharp smile? An amazing, foul-mouthed adventurer thief, sharp-witted and clever and hardened by tough times? What's that, you say? She's also a girl? I felt like I'd just found a new friend.
As I sit here typing, I'm contemplating where to start with this. You guys, I was seduced by this book entirely from the first line: 'Kell wore a very peculiar coat.'. The worldbuilding was excellent, almost flawless, in truth: There are other Londons. Red London, opulent and prosperous, Gray London, a near-colorless version of the city, in which magic is hard to come by, and life, to say the least, is hard, and then there's White London, ruled by a pair of power-hungry, mad twins. And last but definitely not least, Black London, the one so consumed by power that it ate up the city, and its people, literally.
The pacing of this novel was breakneck--I couldn't bear to pull myself away from it, no matter what it was that was pulling me away. I even dreamed about it, my mind and heart were so utterly consumed by it. But my favorite part of this novel, by far, was the characters. There's Kell, the sexy, utterly dreamy magician of sorts, spoiled prince, carefree flirt and some other unsavory things as well, who goes away from home and gets mixed up in a plot that could destroy everything. And there's his foil, Lila, hard as nails, clever, and awfully coarse, who hates her life and wants adventure, and with it, the freedom to live her own life.
And I haven't even gotten into the side characters yet. I probably shouldn't mention them, I don't want to give anything away, so actually, on second thought, I won't. It's probably better anyway to go into this tale a little bit blind. This book completely captured my heart and soul. (A Gathering of Shadows doesn't come out until February of next year! I can't wait that long! *sobs pathetically*) The bottom line: A beautiful classic of fantasy, A Darker Shade of Magic is now one of my favorite books, and I really do hope that more of Schwab's excellent work is in my future!) Next on deck: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh!