Not too long ago, I gave into my long time desire to read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Schwab writes both adult and YA (under the name Victoria Schwab for YA), and I’d heard nothing but incredible things about her work. I was in the mood for a fantasy, and while I was at BookPeople browsing I stumbled across ADSOM on the shelves…and totally caved. A few weeks later, I dove into the book and barely came up for air. I was immediately pulled into the story and fell head over heels in love.
Novel: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab | Goodreads
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 24th, 2015
Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.
Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.
Things I loved about ADSOM in a bullet-pointed list, because otherwise I’ll get too rambly:
- The world building. Like holy WOW
- Kell, aka smug and hilarious and caring and loyal
- Lila, aka my dream BFF because she’s so kick-butt she gives Feyre (A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas) a run for her money
- Sassy Rhy who I would like to meet Rhys of A Court of Thorns and Roses please
- Evil Holland + the twins
- Kell fancy-schmancy coat that I would like to borrow please and thank you
- The magic that Schwab wrote about with incredible finesse. I was continually in shocked by how detailed the magic was, since commonly in fantasy the magic is discussed in this very conceptual way. Schwab, though, describes her magic like it’s tangible and real – making the world building even better.
- All those Londons that are creepy but cool
- The plot constantly kept me on my toes!
- Started slow but got so fast-paced mid-way through (aka my favorite pacing)
- that slow-burn romance though
Things I wish were different:
- (possibly longer because I didn’t want it to end)
- GIMME GIMME GIMME MORE
So I naturally went out and bought A Gathering of Shadows about two weeks later, because my soul had to recover before I could put it through book two. And oh my word it somehow got better ???
Novel: A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab | Goodreads
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 23rd, 2015
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift – back into Black London.
Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.
Things I loved about AGOS:
- it was set almost entirely in Red London! (I love me some Red London)
- Lila got her boat! Lila was a pirate! Lila got even more kick-butt! Lila also made many questionable choices! Lila made me very anxious but I survived!
- Kell got a little bit angsty and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, coat got more intense and I cried a little bit.
- Rhy got more time and omg I love him
- Alucard!!!!!!!!!!! aka a pirate turned totally amazing magician who I’m in love with as well
- (basically I love everyone????)
- THERE ARE MAGICAL GAMES
- lots of fun new magic is discussed and it somehow got more vivid and beautiful?
- my ship sailed and I died a bit inside
- Victoria Schwab joined my top 10 authors list after two books which is a feat in of itself
- that cliffhanger split my soul into seven pieces and the Horcruxes are on different pages of the book
Things I wish were different:
- I missed all of my Londons 🙁
In conclusion, I’m in love with this series and my heart will not be whole again until A Conjuring of Light comes out nExT yEaR and between now and then I will be eating my feels and crying in bed.
V.E. Schwab, I blame you.
((Also who else wants a book with Rhys + Feyre + Lila + Kell because I’m so up for this.))