Title: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
Release: 24th February 2015
This book is a perfect example of the best way to write a novel about magic. It’s complete with a badass female, a mysterious dark-eyed magician, and a kingdom that is one bad choice away from destruction.
This book tells the story of Kell, a magician known as an Ansari, who can control all aspects of magic and master them. He can also travel through the different London’s, Grey London – where magic left, Red London – his London, where magic is used on a daily basis, and White London – where magic has taken over and the people fight to control it. However there used to be one more London, Black London – a place where magic destroyed and is now but a distant horror story in the minds of those who have forgotten it. Until now…
This book was one of the best books I have ever read. From the moment I opened it and started reading about the intricate details of Kell’s coat I knew that I had already fallen in love with the book. I loved the character of Kell instantly, he was so well-developed and the magic he has, with being an Ansari, is described brilliantly. I loved how when he does blood magic it does take it out of him rather than him having an endless vat of power like a lot of books about magicians do. It helped to make his character so real, and along with his kind heartedness and love toward his brother Rhy, it was love at first sight for me.
The relationship between Kell and Rhy was something so special, I loved how Kell has the need to protect him like a guard but also the love of a brother. It allows such amazing character development to take place between both characters, and really shows the dynamic of the royalty in Red London. The comparison between the royalty in each London is so brilliantly written that it means you can see the differences clear as day.
The introduction of Lila is also one of the main standouts in this novel. Victoria Schwab not only creates a magical world to die for, but her creation of Lila is outstanding. I love her relationship with Kell, and her determination to live for an adventure, even if it does mean putting her life in danger. She is such an inspirational character, and I love that she doesn’t originally have any magic yet keeps up with Kell just as much without it! She is such an amazing female heroine.
The story overall is brilliantly written, from the wonderfully devious villains to the awe-inspiring fight scene, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I loved how malicious the Danes are, and how Holland reacts to both being prisoned to them but also how he deals interacting with Kell, a fellow Ansari. They work so well opposite each other, I loved how well thought out each character seemed.
The lack of romance (other than minor parts) was a wonderful breath of fresh air, and something that Victoria Schwab writes amazingly, she is the queen of YA in that aspect for definite.
Whether it was learning about each London, seeing the difference in each one, or the development of the story and the introduction of Black London, this book kept me on edge the entire time. I loved every part of it, and it was exactly the example of what an amazing book about magic should be written like.
A Darker Shade of Magic, and it’s two sequels (A Gathering of Shadows & A Conjuring of Light) are all out now!