Hello, fellow readers! I finished my first book of 2019, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. This was the first book by Schwab that I have read, and I am definitely a fan now!
Description: A Darker Shade of Magic is an adult fantasy book about multiple Londons-Grey London, Red London, White London, and, a long time ago, Black London. A select few people with magical abilities, known as Antari, can travel between the three Londons. The main character, Kell, is one of the last Antari and resides in Red London as part of the royal family. Kell travels between the different Londons as a messenger for the royal families in Grey, Red, and White London. Kell also has a side hobby of smuggling items from each London and trading them to others who can only dream of visiting the other Londons.
What I Liked: I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it on booktube, but I assumed an adult fantasy book would be too over my head. This is far from the truth! Schwab’s writing is fantastic and I never felt confused or lost during the story. She weaves the tales perfectly by easing you in to each London and describing the world as the story progresses. However, it does take a while for the actual story to begin because of the world-building, and this makes the book a bit of a slow burn.
I really loved the characters in the story. Lila is a fascinating character that I hope we learn more about during the series. There are definitely some secrets that she may not even know about herself yet. Kell is also interesting and I love his loyalty to his “brother,” Rhy. There is another character I hope to know more about, but I can’t mention who without spoiling some of the book!
What I Didn’t Like: As stated above, the beginning was a bit slow because of the world building, but I was still interested enough to keep reading, obviously. There were a few lulls here and there, but you always ended up needing to know the information in the very next chapter, so I learned to embrace it.
I thought the ending was too rushed considering the 350 page build up. I swear the big showdown at the end only lasted like 20 pages, which is a bit of a letdown.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I rated this 4 stars on Goodreads. I am trying to stay away from half star ratings this year because I never know if I should round up or down on Goodreads! I did enjoy the book and I like that it could easily be a standalone novel if you found you weren’t interested in continuing the story. I will definitely be ordering the second book once I lift my buying ban -OR- after I read another book I own (per my 2019 book buying goals!).
You can order A Darker Shade of Magic from BookDepository here. A small percentage of your order goes to supporting my blog.