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

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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f
faithmurri99
Apr 22, 2018

This is an amazing book. Wow. Just wow.

V.E. Schwab is the master of exposition that doesn't feel like exposition. She has somehow managed to introduce complex worlds and systems without talking at the reader. Her dialogue is just as seemingly effortless. The banter between Kell and Lila was so fantastic, and when she formally meets Rhy, all three of them are just so great together. The imagery was fantastic and vivid. The plot was consistently intriguing and exciting. I was never bored reading this. I even read some pages out loud to my brother in a fancy British narrator voice and it sounded so great! There weren't any awkward lines or anything.

The magic system was so amazing and unique, coupled with the historical setting, this felt like a classic adventure story. The back blurb by io9 is so true: it truly does "[feel] like a priceless object, brought from another, better world of fantasy books."

Kell: He was a fantastic hero. He wasn't overpowered despite literally being one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe, and even managed to be relatable. Also, he's totally my bookish crush right now, like oh my goodness, he's so great, I love him. Can he just be real and also my boyfriend?

Lila: She is the strong female protagonist the world needed. She manages to be a formidable fighter even when compared to the likes of Kell and Astrid Dane (while still being realistically underpowered given the fact that she couldn't use magic like them). She is witty and smart.

Holland: Dang this guy was scary. I kept reading his voice and seeing him as Mads Mikkelsen in my head, so I think that gives a good idea as to what kind of a villain he was.

Rhy: While he didn't feature much, he was consistent and very real when he did. I loved his sense of humor.

Astrid and Athos Dane: These guys were so scary oh my gosh. They were like two evil Viking demons in stark white. They were so sadistic and psychotic.

This is a new favorite, for sure. I felt like I'd been waiting for this book without knowing. I never knew there was an A Darker Shade of Magic shaped hole in my heart until I started reading it. I am intrigued to know what happens in the next two books, especially since seemingly all threats were resolved by the end. Either way, I love this book and I'm so glad I read it.

c
cleverevans
Apr 09, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. It’s well written, and the rules of the world work really well. I love the idea of multiple Londons. If you like fantasy, I recommend it.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Mar 22, 2018

I don’t usually like fantasy novels, but I picked up this book anyways. (the cover art attracted me if I’m being honest.) As soon as I started reading, I was pulled into this massive world. There is so much detail that you can clearly picture the scene in your mind. Sometimes, however, it felt like the detail dragged on just a bit too long, but perhaps the detail was necessary. The characters are easily loveable and relatable, and you find yourself rooting for them from the beginning. The story is so unique and interesting, and has a great blend of politics, fantasy, and danger. High hopes for the rest of the series! Rating: 4/5
- @mae of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

AL_JENNY Feb 11, 2018

Excellent world building in this thrilling fantasy about a young magician. Great set-up for the rest of the series!

AL_LAURA Feb 07, 2018

Travel between worlds, a cross-dressing pirate, and a misanthropic magician. What could possibly go wrong? Answer: EVERYTHING

b
BaronNumNums
Nov 25, 2017

I'm afraid 'A Darker Shade of Magic' is what you get when your author has a number of interesting ideas but little to no desire in telling an actual story. The result is a collection of interesting ideas but a decidedly dull, empty story and world(s) overall.

h
humbleworm
Oct 15, 2017

You may detect the faintest echoes of influence from Gaiman's Neverwhere, Tolkein's LotR and Lewis' Magician's Nephew. The concepts of elemental magic, parallel worlds out of balance, confluence points and mundane items as tokens are also not new but Schwab fits them together into a universe that doesn't feel derivative and needs little further explanation. It is a minor detail hardly mentioning but Kell's multi-reversible coat reveals a lot about the author's imagination. Note that Schwab's subsequent books are published as V.E. instead of Victoria.

k
kwsmith
Jun 25, 2017

London during the 1800's is a dull, gray place. A reckless young thief named Lila dreams of escaping the city to grand adventures. One day she meets Kell, a young magician who can travel between parallel worlds. Kell comes from a version of London where magic is very real and very fabulous. But there are other versions of London where magic is dark and dangerous and Kell is in great danger. Sounds like an adventure to Lila!

m
morganameridius
May 08, 2017

Well well well, look what I finally read and loved! Beyond the massive hype, I always assume that adult fantasy will be inaccessible to me; I struggle with terminology and complexity sometimes so I tend to put them off until I have time to really give the book a fair chance. That was not a problem for A Darker Shade of Magic a.k.a ADSOM. I was honestly captivated from the beginning and could picture everything perfectly. The writing is crisp and detailed, enough to paint an indelible image in your mind but not so much that you are overwhelmed. I love the concept of parallel Londons and V.E. Schwab did a magnificent job of differentiating between them, making them come alive (as it were). I really liked the history of the worlds and of magic, and the idea of the pub present in every London, the city of London in every different country & world.

The dialogue was fantastic. The action was intense. And THE CHARACTERS. I LOVED KELL. AND I LOVED LILA. AM I ALLOWED TO SHIP THEM BECAUSE I DO (full disclosure after finishing the trilogy: I definitely ship them). Aside from that, I found them individually fascinating, fully realized, and got positively giddy when their paths finally crossed. They’re a good pair, two sides of the same coin. I really enjoyed their alternate POV chapters; the tone was pitch perfect and it was interesting to see magic through each of their very different world views.

I liked what I saw of Rhy, I hated the scary Dane twins (but oh were they chilling villains!), and I genuinely was invested in everyone, even Holland. I can’t think of much I didn’t like, and I’m honestly not sure why I waited so long to read this book because it has everything I love: magic, royalty, lots of action, secrets, long lost artifacts, intrigue, kissing. I was satisfied with how the book ended so I’m curious to see where the sequels will go (disclosure #2: the sequels are AMAZING).

p
pspice
Apr 07, 2017

I started it but was unable to get interested. Characters and plot failed to make me care. Obviously I am in the minority. I am not the typical reader of this genre (over 50...) so perhaps for a younger audience the book would have more resonance. That said, I do like Sarah Maas and am looking forward to her next instalment in the Throne of Glass series.

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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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