What can I say? It’s a brand new year (welcome, 2018!) and I’ve already fallen in love with a character with a mysterious/tragic backstory. Oops…
For Christmas, I was over the moon to receive a copy of A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab, and started reading it on December 30th. I was done by the evening of January 1st. This book has gripped me like no other, and I’m quite pleased to say that I feel how I felt when I read Six Of Crows. Hungry for more.
Kell is an Antari, one of the very few magicians left that can control all elements, including blood. This means he is able to travel through to different versions of the same place: London. There’s Red London, thriving in magic and with a wonderful monarchy. White London, where magic is scrambled for by the desperate, and hard to control. Ruled by the Dane twins, this isn’t a London to get comfortable in. Grey London lost its magic long ago, and is as grey as its name. Once, there was even Black London, before the magic consumed it…
Kell is fond of trading magical wares to collectors, usually in Grey London. But when a trade goes wrong and a powerful dark artifact ends up in Kell’s possession, he realises that there are people in the world that will stop at nothing to get it back.
This book was bloody, intense, and so gripping that I had actually squeezed one of the pages too tight during a seriously tense scene. The characters are intricately woven, and you can tell their values immediately. Kell had to be my favourite – he’s brooding, come on! – and I loved seeing his internal struggle of his birthright, who he truly was, and also having to deal with the discomfort of being treated like a prince. He doesn’t feel like a prince at all; more of a royal collectible, but has to keep appearances up. Kell also has one fully black eye, a mark of the rare Antari, and hates the fact that sight of this will send people practically to their knees. This was closely followed by Lila, and boy did I love Lila. Lila dreams of being a pirate, and won’t let anybody get in her way. She’s brutal, not afraid of honesty, a little bit of snark and sass mixed in for good measure, and is so sure of herself that it became a great partnership between her and Kell when they had each others backs.
There’s enough magic to shake a stick at, from elemental control all the way to soul binding. Scenes of joy, flashbacks, and even some super intense scenes of Kell fighting his own thoughts alongside dark magic really make this book stand out from the crowd. I tend to get a feeling with certain books that I love so much – I want to devour them over and over again. A Darker Shade Of Magic has proved itself as one of those books, and has shoved my favourite book list all over the place as it strides to the top spot in a magical changing coat.
Final Thoughts: A beautiful, magical bloodbath. 5/5