A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books on February 24th, 2015
400 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-76537-645-9
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
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.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
I’m a little late to this series, but I read A Darker Shade of Magic for the first time recently and I really enjoyed it! I’m actually planning to start in on the second book very soon (I already have it checked out of the library).
They got to their feet, neither willing to walk away just yet, and Kell looked down at Delilah Bard, a cutthroat and a thief, a valiant partner and a strange, terrifying girl.
The characters are wonderful. Kell is incredible and I kind of ended up falling in love with him. He’s a little bit of a rule-breaker, and can be a little obtuse, but he was so endearing and the love in his heart really got to me. Lila is amazing. She’s kind of your typical badass fantasy girl: a rogue, independent and stubborn to a fault, and very good with a knife. She also talks really negatively about other women, which got on my nerves. In spite of that, I really liked her.
It was nice to have a canonically lgbtqia character, Rhy, but he also felt like a negative bisexual stereotype. One of the most prevalent stereotypes about bisexual people is that they’re greedy and will sleep with anyone and that’s basically 90% of Rhy’s personality. All we really see him doing is flirting with people or talking about flirting with people and it’s heavily implied (if not outright said, I didn’t write the quote I’m thinking of down so I can’t remember) that he’ll sleep with essentially anyone. Like, that’s basically how his character is introduced. And that’s pretty much all I remember about him, except for some important plot stuff toward the end.
Overall, the plot was good. The writing was good. I definitely had a good time reading this book. I gave it four stars instead of five because it just didn’t pull me in like a five star book. I’m intrigued to see where the rest of the trilogy goes and I’m glad y’all got me to read it!