Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

From Goodreads: Kell is one of the last Travelers - rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive - trickier than they hoped.

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: After reading a bunch of less than stellar books, I was more than looking forward to reading Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic with Christina from Christina Reads YA because the reviews that I had seen for A Darker Shade of Magic had all been positive. Moreover, I had really enjoyed Schwab’s debut novel, The Near Witch, when I read it a few years ago.

Like with The Near Witch, I really loved the worldbuilding in A Darker Shade of Magic. Originally, I was worried that I would get confused by all the different Londons Kell kept talking about, but Schwab did an exemplary job of showing how they differ from each other in the present and explaining how they diverged in their history with regards to magic.

Although the character development wasn’t as strong, I really liked the characters. Kell is one of only two Antari, magicians able travel between the Londons. A Red Londonder and an adopted member of the royal family, Kell is also a smuggler. Meanwhile, Lila is a Gray Londoner who has learned to survive on the streets by being great at pickpocketing. You just know that when Kell and Lila meet, they’re going to get more than they bargained for!

I didn’t get hooked by A Darker Shade of Magic until about a third of the way in; but after that, there was so much action and adventure that I had to keep turning the pages. Since I have a copy of the sequel, I’m hoping to read it soon!

A Darker Shade of Magic was released by Tor Books in February 2015. 

Comments About the Cover: I don’t particularly like or hate it. 


  1. I won a copy of this book a year ago but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. I didn't like The Near Witch that much unfortunately. But I have faith in your taste, Z! if you say you like it, I'm gonna read it! :D

  2. Oh good! I'm hoping to get to this series soon Z, I have yet to read anything by Victoria and that needs to change! Glad you were hooked after the first third:)

  3. Apparently, the sequel focuses on the characters MUCH more! I haven't read it yet but I own a copy and I'm planning on reading it asap! LOVED the world-building here too! I still need to read The Near Witch but it's on the old tbr shelf XD GREAT review^^

  4. I've seen this book everywhere, Z. Glad it lives up to its hype. I hear book 2 is suppose to be even better. I thought Near Witch was ok but I loved the concept of The Archive. I'll add this one to my tbr.

  5. Yes! This woman is just so amazing. You must read Vicious. That's my favourite. :) I haven't picked up A Gathering of Shadows yet, but I'm saving it for a special occasion. Lol. Glad you loved this one!

  6. My thoughts on this one are the exact same. I had read some really bad books before this so this one just seemed amazing to me so I rated it a little higher so I also wish we had seen more development when it came to the characters.

  7. I need to read this book. I've had the audio book on for ages now! I have heard so many good things. So glad you enjoyed this one!


I love comments and will reply back via either email or stopping by your blog. Please note that this is an award-free zone.