Book Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V. E. Schwab
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Goodreads Summary: 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.What did I think? Just how amazing does the premise sound, right? When I first saw the plot summary for this book, I was immediately intrigued and I must say A Darker Shade of Magic delivered... somewhat.
It took me a while to get into the book. In fact I started it a few weeks ago and the book just didn't keep my interest. I forced myself to continue. One chapter at a time. About a third in, I thought, great premise, but I'm not sure I like the execution.
Then, finally, the tone changed, the plot advanced, and everything started to come together. I was excited. In fact I read the second half of the novel in one sitting. Sadly, towards the end, I felt a bit disappointed again. The resolution was too easy. Too neat.
V. E. Schwab is an excellent writer. I highly enjoy her prose. Her world-building is intricate, meticulous and clever. The premise is original and unlike anything I've read in the last few years. I just wish we could have seen more of the world.
In the end it was all a bit superficial, with great potential. I'm excited for the sequels, but for now... it didn't quite grab me the way I was hoping it would.
Nonetheless I recommend it highly, because Kell and Lila are great characters and the world Schwab created deserves every reader it can get. I'd like more books like this, please.