Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Summary from Goodreads:
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--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 where 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 glimpses 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 cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a 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 of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.
As I said on Goodreads, “Okay, I get it now. This is my third Victoria Schwab book, and I liked the other books I read, fine. This one though, was pure magic. I want more! It's some of the best world-building I've read in years. Just magic.”
I’ve read The Near Witch and This Savage Song. I enjoyed them both, but I didn’t get what people were so obsessed about. I didn’t find either of those two books to be that special. In honesty, I don’t even remember the plot of The Near Witch at all. A Darker Shade of Magic though was special. The world building was above and beyond what I’ve come to expect any more in fantasy novels.
This is a book for people who love fantasy worlds. It’s also for people who love magic and stories of parallel worlds. Basically, it was written for me. I felt like I was traveling between the Londons with Kell. And when Delilah sees things for the first time, I felt like I got to see things all over for the first time too.
Also, the characters are all such Gryffindors! I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to go to White London and face the creepiest brother/sister duo of all time. The loyalty and love shared between Kell and his “brother” was so amazing. And then there’s the loyalty earned between Kell and Delilah. I’m not quite sure I’m shipping them yet, but maybe. I love their friendship though and their mutual respect for each other. This was more a book of friendship than of love. The one thing this book was missing was romance. Though, things were seriously hinted at for books to come.
I have such a fictional crush on Kell. I cried when he lost something to a fire. I felt his pain when he was fighting his possessed friend. And I cared for him deeply. I’m not quite on the same level of empathy with Delilah quite yet. She does have a sort of lack of general morality and enjoys stealing from people (not just to survive). She wants to be a pirate, which is awesome. But, I guess I wanted to know why. Did she hear pirate stories growing up? Did she see a female pirate once and get inspired? Why does she have her dreams? What’s her story?  When did she start dressing in men’s clothes? I’m hoping she gets more developed in book 2. And oh my goodness, I want book 2. And I want to read her story.
All in all, this was an incredible fantasy. I get why people love this author. I felt like I was sliding between doors and entering new worlds. I’ll have to get my hands on the rest of this series (like yesterday). I loved Kell, like I haven’t loved a character in some time. I wanted to know a little more of Delilah’s story, and I want a little more romance. Though, I have a strong feeling this is all coming later in the series. I give it a 9/10.

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