A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
The hype surrounding this book is intense, but for once, it didn’t disappoint.
Kell is one of the last Antari – magicians who can travel between the worlds – and has a penchant for smuggling trinkets from one world to the next. It’s one of these trinkets that throws his London, as well as the others, out of balance and into what could ultimately be destruction of everything.
Lila, on the other hand, is from the magic-less London, and is a thief whose greatest desire is to captain a ship. When her world collides with Kell’s the adventure sings to her, and something else pulls at her as well.
This book is dark and rich and wonderfully built, with gripping characters, vivid descriptions, and a great take on magic.
Though I found it slow at times (and that very well could’ve been my own exhaustion when reading after work), it was enjoyable and compelling, and I didn’t want to read anything else.
What I found slightly confusing was the way the magic worked for non-Antari, and how it differed between the various Londons (the descriptions, and the concept of which, I absolutely loved). I also wish there’d been more backstory and world building with the characters prior to the plot of the novel. And sure, some of the characters feature some stereotypical elements, and some of the plot is borrowed from other fantasy stories (the one ring and the horcrux locket, for example), but it’s still done in a way that feels unique when reading (it’s only in retrospect I think of those other series).
The book wrapped itself up nicely at the end, which is nice for us folks who have a love-hate relationship with cliffhangers, but I’d like to see a bit more setup for the next book in the series (though who knows, there could’ve been, we just can’t see it without having read the next book). And maybe some of those backstory issues will be resolved there as well…
But haters be damned, issues thrown aside, I really enjoyed this book, this world, and these characters.
I keep hovering between a 4 and a 5, but my heart wants to go 5, so I’m sticking with it.