A Darker Shade of Magic
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Synopsis: 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.
Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz
“Do you know why our worlds are kept separate, Your Highness? It is to keep yours safe. You see, there was a time, ages ago, when they were not so separate. When doors ran between your world and mine, and others, and anyone with a bit of power could pass through. Magic itself could pass through. But the thing about magic, is that it preys on the strong-minded and the weak-willed, and one of the worlds couldn’t stop itself. The people fed on the magic and the magic fed on them until it ate their bodies and their minds and then their souls.” ~Kell
Mini Review: There are SO MANY reasons why V.E. Schwab (a.k.a. Victoria Schwab) is one of the top five authors I just ADORE! A Darker Shade of Magic holds many of those reasons! Beyond the fact that Schwab's talent is impeccable, she creates stories that grab at your heartstring and fill you to the brim with the NEED for an adventure! Even when that adventure can lead into dark places (i.e. Vicious).
A Darker Shade of Magic is filled with secrets and ancient magic. A magic built in blood and with blood. Magic that has cost lives, driven people mad, and given some great power. There are thieves, princes, and Antari--the ones who wield the most powerful magic (blood magic)--but they're a dying breed. There are four twin worlds of London--Red London (Kell lives), White London (ruled by sadistic tyrants), Grey London (our version of London), and Black London (but no one speaks of Black London. It was destroyed by it's misuse of magic).
Kell is one of the last of the Antari who can travel between worlds and man-oh-man, am I TOTES gaga for Kell! He's gifted, powerful, loyal, and weird looking. What's not to love? *wink wink* He's got one black eye and one blue. He can wield magic because the magic flows through his veins. He was adopted into royalty and has his memories from the first five years of his life locked away. Kell is meticulous and has a quick mind. He pays attention to every detail and has a fun sense of humor. Kell is simple yet complex. He's a TOTAL bada**!!
Rhy is Kell's brother and a prince. He's charming, easy going, and kind. The people of his kingdom adore him. And he loves his adoptive brother, Kell, as if they were born from the same parents. I LOVE the bond the two have!
Lila Bard is a thief and a wannabe pirate. She knows how to cloak herself in shadow, how to look and act like a man so she won't get caught so easily. Her fingers are nibble and quick as is her mind. She can hold her own ground in a fight when the time calls for it and she refuses to be treated like a weak girl. Lila makes you want to turn into a thief and a pirate. You just want to call her your best friend and see what troubles you could cause together.
The world building within each of the London's is beautifully and wonderfully written. I SO wish I could go to Red London with Kell! The street fair filled with magical trinkets and music and dancing would be SO much fun to see and partake in.
I only read a preview of the book provided through Netgalley from the publisher BUT thankfully, A Darker Shade of Magic is out TODAY, so DEFINITELY a MUST to grab a copy and finish discovering what else is in store for Kell and crew!
Seriously, already one of my FAVORITE books of the year and I haven't even gotten to read the whole thing yet!! Filled with political intrigue, warring worlds, secret relics, dangerous and lethal magic, a hawt prince, a sassy and tough thief, and totally gorgeous magic wielder, A Darker Shade of Magic is exactly what ever fantasy fan will love!!
Make sure you head out and get a copy for yourself! V.E. Schwab will not disappoint you!!