A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: February 24th, 2015
Pages: 398
Song(s) I Played While Reading: Lean On by Major Lazer & Outside by Calvin Harris
Rating: 4 stars

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- King George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered- and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London- a place were 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 glimpse 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 cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him fro ma 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 the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive. 

And V. E. Schwab (also known as Victoria Schwab) strikes again! I expected good things from this book, and I wasn't disappointed. She's truly a talented writer, and it never fails to amaze me. It sucks you in and makes you forget about reality; when you stop you almost feel groggy, as if you were under a spell.
Don't be put off by the parallel universe aspect; besides her amazing ability to weave together words until they want to make you cry (seriously HER WORDS ARE BOOTIFUL), she makes this whole concept of traveling super easy to understand. Each London was super vivid and made you feel as if you were right there alongside Kell and Lila on their adventures.
The characters were really well fleshed out, making you want to know more and more about them. I have SO many questions on both Kell and Lila's past, something that's hinted at multiple times, and I really hope Schwab dives more into that in the next book. Kell was strong character, someone who was both at ease with himself and also understanding of his powers. He knows his limits, and doesn't try to push them. He's smart, kind, and funny.
Lila Bard was also quite the interesting character. She was a cross-dressing, sassy biotch who took shit from no one. She was a thief, stealing what she could so one day she could become a pirate of her own ship. She was cunning and fierce, which really balanced out well with Kell. She wanted an adventure, and by god she got one (honestly I'm a little jealous).
The plot was definitely darker then I originally thought, and it just made the story so much better. It also featured multiple pov's, and the love I have for that KNOW'S NO BOUNDS. Getting all those different view points adds such a huge depth to the story that we wouldn't usually see with a single narrator. We get the good and the bad side, and some poor souls who get stuck in the middle, and it's super cool to see the way the storyline weaves around them.
This was an absolute kick ass start to Schwab's new trilogy, and now I must hunker down in wait for the next book, which comes out February 2016. I'm an impatient biotch but somehow I function through these long periods of time between books *sighs*

"A delicious thrill ran through her chest, spurned on by the closeness of danger, and Lila wondered, not for the first time, if something was wrong with her. Barron used to say so, but Barron was a bore.
Looking for trouble, he'd say. You're gonna look till you find it.
Trouble is the looker, she'd answer. It keeps looking till it finds you. Might as well find it first. 
Why do you wanna die?
I dont, she'd say. I just want to live."

"He smells like flowers, she thought absently as she dragged his body across the floor."

""Aren't you afraid of dying?" he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. "Death comes for everyone," she said simply. "I'm not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here." She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. "I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."

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