A Darker Shade of Magic, By V.E. Schwab
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (February 24, 2015)
Amazon Book Description: 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 Rhys Maresh, the rougish 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 first robs him, then 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.
Reading Sara Review: I listened to A Darker Shade of Magic as an audiobook, which is something that I don’t usually do. I do not have a long commute to work, so it took me awhile to get invested and really into it while just listening to it in 15-20 minute increments a couple of times a day. With that being said, I did eventually get into it and enjoyed it quite a bit. If you enjoy magic/other worlds/stories of friendship/series, then I think you will like this one. I gave this a 4 out of 5 stars because I enjoyed it- but it’s a soft four rating – I do not think everyone would love this book. I personally found it entertaining and will likely read more in the series (the next book comes out in February of 2016).
This was my first Victoria (V.E.) Schwab novel, but I know that she has quite the following already from her previous books. If her others are as creative and unique as this one – I recommend her writing!
The story is long (a lot of different characters were introduced), but every part and every piece is remembered and comes back to the main plot line, which I really enjoyed. I also appreciated the main characters, Kell and Lilah. They were interesting, their friendship born from a very unique circumstance – but brought growth, survival and a connection from that chance encounter.
As for recommending the audiobook vs. reading it, I am having a hard time. The audiobook was ok – I liked the reader when he was just telling the story, but when he spoke the voices of the characters they felt too cartoon-ish for me. I have heard that other people loved him, so decide for yourself if you prefer audiobooks to reading anyway! I think you can definitely wait for the paperback of this, if you choose to read it. Not worth a hardcover price in my opinion, but a fun, quick read for those who want to discover multiple Londons and the world of magic!