Since I started watching ‘BookTube’ I have heard the name V.E. Schwab (Victoria Schwab) thrown around a lot, with tons of praise following her books. I’ve been meaning to pick up one of her books for quite a while now and when A Darker Shade of Magic came out I had to pick it up. So five months after it was released I have finally got around to reading it.
Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There is Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There is Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…
The book starts off very slow, it took me a long time to really get interested in the plot. One of the problems with this book is that it builds up the characters and the world in the beginning (which is obviously needed) but there is too much ‘beating around the bush’. It feels as if information is being conveyed but too slowly. Normally my complaint is too much too soon but in this case it is the opposite, we get the information but we don’t get it in an interesting way. It wasn’t until I was half way through the book that the main plot started to get moving and I was interested.
The characters could probably have done with a little more fleshing out, I couldn’t connect with one of the main characters, Lila. I found that I didn’t really care what happened to her, I cared more about Kell’s brother, Rhy, who we only see in short small amounts.
After saying all of that though, I did like this book. I didn’t like the first half but I loved the second half of the book, the plot really gets going and I managed to read the rest of it in the span of an afternoon. I couldn’t put it down after that point.
If you’re considering reading this book then my advice is to wait until the halfway point before putting it down. As it is because this was my first V.E. Schwab book I think I’ll pick up another of her books to compare before I give up on her writing.
On Goodreads I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars.