A Darker Shade Of Magic has seen a lot of hype within the book communities due to its incredible world building and beautiful writing style. So this is my first read by V.E. Shwab and I was prepared for the hype to be met.
Introduction To A Darker Shade Of Magic
Readers are introduced to a world where there are four London’s- red, white, grey and black. Red London seems the most reasonable, and where the protagonist Kell lives. He is the one of the last of Antari- magicians who can travel to each London. In Red London, he is assigned to travel to these parallel worlds, delivering messages as an ambassador for the Maresh Empire. However, Kell has a hobby which isn’t ideal and comes with consequences. A smuggler who offers people a glance at the London’s they’ll never know. An exchange went wrong, Kell runs into Delilah Bard from Grey London, a thief who has more to offer and with that comes an adventure to saving the London’s.
As with most fantasy books, world building is key. With this book, there was a lot to take in as essentially V.E. Shwab was creating an image of four different worlds. It’s intricate, fascinating and unique and I was intrigues in which direction the book would go to. As much as there was to take in, the details included helped this book reach its potential. However, it does have similarities and cliches of many other YA fantasy and as this book has been hyped up a lot, I expected different.
The Characters Of A Darker Shade Of Magic
This book has the classic, fierce, strong, independent woman protagnoist vibe. As well as Kell being someone with rare magical abilities. And then we have Holland, someone who is misunderstood. Now as cliche as it was, V.E. Shwab made them unique in their own way and that was what kept me flipping the pages.
I loved the banter between Lila and Kell, but I felt like there wasn’t much dialogue shared between them that made me want to ship them. For me there was little to no romance. Their relationship felt a little shallow, so in the sequel I hope this can be different!
Holland was someone that as much as I sympathised with him, I couldn’t connect to as much. The same goes for Prince Rhy, he had a cheeky personality and arrogance a prince usually does in fantasy. I’m hoping in a conjuring of light that readers will be able to see deeper beneath the surface of these characters and have more development.
Conclusion Of A Darker Shade Of Magic
I loved the concept and possibilities of this world, but as a reader one of the most important factors is to be attached to the characters and have a surprising plot. This book both met my expectations and exceeded them, so I still haven’t decided whether this is a 3 star or 4 star read for me. I see this as a traditional YA fantasy, however I hope to discover V.E. Shwab’s adult books such as Vicious as it seems to be unique!
And if you’d like to check out my last review, it is Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo!