A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic

Book - 2015
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Baker & Taylor
Serving as an ambassador of his own world while carrying messages to parallel-universe Londons with respective magical abilities and conflicts, Kell hides his secret smuggling activities only to be set up with a forbidden object from a dark dimension. By the author of The Near Witch.

McMillan Palgrave
Prepare to be dazzled by a world of parallel Londons—where magic thrives, starves, or lies forgotten, and where power can destroy just as quickly as it can create.

A Darker Shade of Magic, from #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

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.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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.

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...This is a book to treasure."—Deborah Harkeness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy

Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light



Baker
& Taylor

"From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell is one of the last Travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes--as such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne--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, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, 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--a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive--and that is proving trickier than they hoped. "--
Serving as an ambassador of his own world while carrying messages to parallel-universe Londons with magical abilities and conflicts, Kell hides his smuggling activities only to be set up with a forbidden object from a dark dimension.

Publisher: New York : Tor, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765376459
0765376458
9780765399113
0765399113
9780765376466
Branch Call Number: Fiction Schwab
Characteristics: 400 pages ; 22 cm

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bogwolf
Nov 28, 2020

This was fine.

Two protagonists, most readers will themselves drawn to one or the other I imagine. World building and plotting all coherent. Writing is functional, never fussy ... never quite cliched though never sparkling.

Never quite...
Maybe this is a YA phenomenon: the horror is never quite skin-crawling, the romance never quite passionate, the political/class criticism never feels like it comes from concern for real suffering, clever and mysterious and fantastic plot points never quite surprise.

How much one enjoys this may be related to how much they enjoyed the Pirates of the Caribbean movie(s). Reads like it wants to be a purchased script to me. It's all fine. I finished the 400 pages of what could easily have been a 40 page short story; that's how Fritz Lieber would have written his two protagonist "all magic has a cost" fantasy. It could have been 100 page shorter; that's how Miéville wrote his stacked/connected cities novel.

Three stars from me - just ok. Lots of folks rate it higher, find it a thrilling ride. How many of the PotC movies did you see & how much did you enjoy them?

l
llawford
Aug 09, 2020

Once you understand the concept, there's unfortunately nothing special here.

g
genny1229
Aug 01, 2020

“A Darker Shade of Magic”, by V. E. Shwaub, is about 4 Londons, each coexisting alongside each other, each extremely different. Grey London is essentially our London, with nothing special. Red London is a place full of magic and vibrance. White London is a place half corrupted by magic, with people thirsting for it, and desperately casting spells to keep it within them. Black London doesn’t exist. It was taken over by magic a long time ago. The main character, Kell, is one of 2 people who can travel through these worlds. He is an Antari, or a blood magician, who can use his blood to perform special spells that help him travel through worlds. He is from Red London, and is part of the royal family. Delilah Bard, or just Lila is another character who is from grey London. She is a thief, who dreams of sailing as a pirate. She crosses paths with Kell, when he is travelling to her world, and she steals a very precious object. Later, when Kell comes to take it back, he is forced to drag Lila along to destroy the precious object, as it is threatening to tip the balance between the worlds. Along the way, they meet new allies, find new enemies, and witness the deaths of their close friends. This book is very detailed, and does a good job creating the plot, and making it flow. It is a must read fantasy book for people who like magic, action, and mystery. But if you don’t read every page carefully, you might miss something that later makes the story confusing. This book contains lots of violence.

w
wingertdj
Jul 24, 2020

"A Darker Shade of Magic" (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab, tells the story of a power and magic, love and manipulation. Kell is one of the last of his kind. They can walk through "doors" between 4 parallel Londons. After being tricked to bring a powerful magic to Red London (where magic and people are in balance), he must escape to Grey London (where magic no longer exists) and work his way back through Red London to White London (where magic is a slave) to dreaded Black London (where magic consumes everything). Though I did not like him at the start, he did grow on me and I really enjoyed the other characters. It has some interesting takes on magic and is a book worth reading.

t
tidbit7
Jul 11, 2020

This book was so much fun. Provides a much-needed escape to a different world(s) in some trying times.

s
seeliespright
Jun 25, 2020

Excellent and interesting world building, which was careful and detailed, but not too much as to be bulky. I also found the premise interesting, particularly the way that magic manifests / is used, and Kell’s traveling through dimensions.

Character development was a weaker area. The main characters are interesting enough, but conventional (lone warrior / Han Solo, bratty prince, sneaky assassin, sailing privateer, etc.) I found Kell’s counterpart in White London the most compelling character, as he fights with all of his strength for his people, even when he makes bad choices.

The plot arc in this novel, and the trilogy as a whole, is pretty simple and sometimes predictable. It was the world and its magic that carried me through the trilogy, and I did find it enjoyable, so I recommend the entire series.

l
leducmiranda
May 01, 2020

I have never read anything by Schwab before but I loved this book because not only did it have a fast-paced plot, but the characters were people you wanted to connect with immediately. The world she builds is unlike anything I've read before and I loved going through the four separate Londons and learning about them. I'm looking forward to reading the second and third book in the series.

s
spiritedaway
Apr 03, 2020

As you can tell by my 2 star rating, I'm in the minority about this book. I didn't hate it, but didn't like it either. I liked absolutely zero of the characters (okay, I kinda liked Kell, but that's it) and felt that most just kinda fell flat. Especially the villains. The start of this was so promising too! But, in the end, I figured out most of what was going to happen way before it did and honestly? This entire book just felt kinda tropey and not even the fun kind of tropey. Just the boring and predictable kind of tropey. Such a disappointment.

f
fishbottom
Jan 20, 2020

Book 1

SnoIsleLib_JordynR Nov 07, 2019

Three different intricate magical worlds, cross dressing pirate thieves, banter, and an action packed adventure - if all of that sounds appealing, then this is the book for you. The worlds Schwab creates are rich and descriptive, engaging all of your senses, and she populates them with fun and compelling characters. This is an adventure that will spark your imagination and leave you wanting to know more about the characters and world.

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rapunzel454
Jun 16, 2018

rapunzel454 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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humbleworm
Oct 15, 2017

humbleworm thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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akzfineart
Dec 02, 2016

akzfineart thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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PayetteStAmour
Nov 13, 2016

PayetteStAmour thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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mariahnightfire
Feb 06, 2016

mariahnightfire thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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Pipthekat
Nov 16, 2015

Pipthekat thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

DreamerDreamsOn Jul 28, 2015

DreamerDreamsOn thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Notices

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PayetteStAmour
Nov 13, 2016

Other: There is an attempted rape scene early on in the novel.

p
PayetteStAmour
Nov 13, 2016

Frightening or Intense Scenes: People being turned into monsters, the main villains torture multiple characters throughout the book.

p
PayetteStAmour
Nov 13, 2016

Sexual Content: There is a vaguely detailed sex scene.

p
PayetteStAmour
Nov 13, 2016

Violence: Several fight scenes, a lot of death.

p
PayetteStAmour
Nov 13, 2016

Coarse Language: Several curse words are used throughout, including the f-word.

mvkramer Apr 28, 2016

Violence: Torture, magic battles, and lots of stabby-stabby.

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