A Darker Shade of Magic: A Review

A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To be fair, this is my favorite author.  I have yet to find a book she wrote that I didn’t just completely love.  I actually heard about her when the third book in this trilogy was coming out, but the library (the place I go to check out new authors) didn’t have this trilogy.  So, I read The Archived and loved it.  And now I’m finally getting a chance to read this series.

I totally get the hype.

The story is set in London, well four Londons, each in a different world.  They used to be connected by doors that anyone could go through for a visit.  Magic was liberally shared between the worlds.  But now, the doors have been sealed, and only a special type of people, the Antari, are able to move between them.

Kell is an Antari.  He can’t remember his childhood, and all he knows is the family that he belongs to, the royal family of the Red London.  Red London still has a good balance of magic.  Grey London has no magic (and is our world set in a time that still depended on horse carriages), White London consumes magic, and Black London was consumed by magic (hence the sealing of all the doors in an effort to get it all under control).

Kell has a bad habit of smuggling things to each of the different worlds, and one of these items is found to be extremely dangerous.  Lila Bard, a gray-worlder, is a thief who pickpockets Kell and finds herself a part of the adventure to get this item to a safe place.  But there are others who would use this item for worlds domination, hence the plot thickens.

By the end of the book, I was heavily invested in these characters.  The plot was fast-moving and the adventure was fun.  It definitely left it open for the next book in the series, but I just love Schwab’s characters.  They are beautiful and flawed.  They don’t make perfect choices, but they have a deep set of values that help them navigate when it counts the most.

It does have profanity throughout the book.  There is one brief sex scene, but it isn’t detailed.  There is a lot of violence (one of the major qualities of White London), so expect torture and murder, conversations about murder, and a small trigger warning for cutting.

Like everything else I have read from this author, I really enjoyed the beginning of this series.  I am looking forward to reading the next one soon!

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