A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades Of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab
Rating: 5 stars
Whenever I hear people talk about the books by Victoria Schwab or V.E. Schwab as she sometimes uses they always have really great things to say. Whilst I am intending on reading many more of her series the one that piqued my attention the most is her Shades of Magic trilogy and this is why I chose to make my first V.E. Schwab novel A Darker Shade of Magic.
Having heard other people talk about this book I'd managed to gather that it was a story of different versions of London, each with different levels of magic within them. Our lead character Kell comes from Red London, where magic exists and is utilised for good. We also have Grey London, effectively the London we all know where magic has disappeared and is mostly unknown. Also, there exists White London where magic is king and it is dark and threatening and used to control. We also learn there once existed Black London where magic became so powerful it destroyed the city and led to it being shut off from the other London's and to the other London's becoming shut off from each other. Before the closing of the doors people could move freely between the different London's but now only special people known as Antari can do so and our main character Kell is one such Antari who carries messages from the different rulers of each London to ensure that things remain peaceful.
The first thing I loved about this book is the journey we go on in this book learning about each of the different variations of world that exist, each defined by the level of magic within it and how that magic has shaped the politics, wealth and customs surrounding it. Through Kell's eyes we delve into the different rulers and their agendas from the Mad King George III in Grey London to the sinister and evil twins who rule over White London with their controlling magic. Each of the different variations reflects its colour and it makes it an exciting journey for us a readers to experience the worlds as they unfold and how they connect to one another.
The second thing about this novel is the wonderful characters we meet along our journey. Kell, the magic Antari of Red London who travels on behalf of his King and Queen to the other realms delivering their political messages is a wonderful master of ceremonies and clearly is a believer in using his magic gifts for good. He is, however, an avid collector of objects from the different worlds he visits and although he knows he is not supposed to carry objects between the realms he does so and this leads to the grand adventure Schwab takes us on in this novel.
I loved Lila, the ragamuffin orphan Kell meets in Grey London who joins him on his adventure across the realms. Her wonderful carefree personality and search for adventure make her a great sidekick to Kell and I have a feeling there is much more of her story we have yet to learn as the following 2 books progress.
I have heard that this book is very much a world builder, it sets the scene for the following two books that then blow the whole cross realms world wide open. I am therefore delighted to think what joys await me as I move into books 2 and 3. I loved Red London best and I cannot wait to return and find out what new adventures await Kell and Lila in the rest of this series.