Sunday, April 23, 2017

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

by V.E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

Source: Bought

My Thoughts:
I had heard a lot about this book on twitter and I was delighted to grab an ecopy when it was on sale.Though I had bought and started reading the book almost a year back, I couldn't finish it. I finally finished it a month back and I am very glad I did but I'm not sure the book deserved the hype.

Slow Start and Information Dump

The book starts off well but then it stagnates. There is a specific world which the reader is waiting to re-enter. All the incidents leading upto that tried my patience. I wasn't interested in being introduced to a new character and given an info dump at weird places. In my opinion this weird build up was just frustrating and didn't help me form a deep connection with the protagonists.

World Building
The biggest plus of this book, is the world building. The amount of effort the author takes to show and tell the diverse nature of each London , was the only reason I stayed with the novel.The artifacts that fascinate Kell started fascinating me as I truly began to see the world around him through his descriptions.

One of the most fascinating male characters I have read. What makes this book even more fantastic is the fact that I want to know more about him even after seeing his point of view. There are so many mysteries around Kell that you want to unravel. 

I'm generally quite fond of adventurous heroines that have an innate strength. I wasn't fond of Lila though. I found her to be extremely headstrong and very stupid. Even though she is not a damsel in distress, she really reminded me of those characters.She is one of the main protagonists in the book but I really had no interest in reading her point of view. 

Strong second half
The second half of the novel was very interesting but the amount of time it took for the story to build up would not appeal to those who do not want to put in the effort. If you want to read an action packed fantasy, I would suggest you look elsewhere.

Overall, The book has its moments but was extremely boring at the start. If you go in having high expectations you will be disappointed. While I am interested in reading the sequel, it's only because I want to unravel the mysteries surrounding Kell. The reviews of the sequel are extremely positive but I have been burned before so I will wait till the sequels are on sale before getting my hands on them.

My Rating:
Beautiful world building but problems with pacing.


  1. I have seen so many people rave and rave about this series, but I have not checked it out myself. Maybe one day? :)


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