Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Published by: Tor Books
Publication date: January 19th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic
“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
After seeing so much love for this book scattered across the book blogging world, I finally got my hands on it and I was sucked in immediately.
Picture this: Three worlds layered on top of each other; one grey and mundane, one white and ruthless, and one red and powerful. Oh, and the other one that we don’t like to talk about.
Each world has its own London and only the smallest fraction of people that you can imagine can travel between them.
This book is a lot like The Gods Must Be Crazy, a film in which a tribe in Botswana find a new and decidedly precious object (AKA a glass coke bottle) and when it causes friction within the tribe, they come to the conclusion that the gods have punished them by sending this object and they must banish it from the earth. There’s an object in this book that held a very similar value and made the characters quite simple. While this took away some of the magic for me at times because people aren’t simple creatures, I think it was used very tactfully as this object blinds the characters and is used as a great symbol of want within the story.
This is the first book I’ve read by Schwab but I am most definitely a fan now. The writing in this book just flowed so smoothly. I got through half the book in one sitting and would have happily finished it then and there had it not been for my studies. I have to admit, books that I fly through are often the ones I rate higher because they were able to capture my attention and keep it. This probably goes for most people but I don’t really know.
*Spoiler alert, maybe? I’m not sure.*
One of the reasons why I like this book so much is because Schwab wasn’t afraid to kill main characters. I feel like main characters rarely get killed (especially in the first book) and I just love that they were in A Darker Shade of Magic.
“The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.”
Lila is now one of my favorite book characters and I’m so pleased that the first chapter of the second installment was at the end of this one. She’s so cunning and resourceful and I can’t help but speculate about how her story is going to develop in the next book. I also love her relationship with Kell. It’s incredibly relatable (aside from the magic) and so far they’re just really good platonic friends who work great as a team. It’s been so long since I last read a YA novel with no romantic interests in it and I cannot stress enough how refreshing that is.
*Potential spoiler alert is over*
A Darker Shade of Magic was many great things and the best of those things was that Schwab sent a lot of curve balls and I had to continuously try and figure out where the story was going next because as soon as I thought I had it figured out, there would be a new twist and I’d be back to square one. Schwab somehow created a masterful story while also not making a single chapter a cliff hanger and also by playing on very simple human emotions. I loved it! Go get yourself a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic because it may seem like just another parallel universe book, but it will leave it’s mark.
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”