a darker shade of magic
Format reviewed: Audio

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

I love creative fantasies with rich, unique world building.  In A Darker Shade of Magic V. E. Schwab brings that to the table. In the story, there are parallel worlds which are each very different, but have one thing in common: they each have a London. There are four Londons: White, Grey, Red, and Black.  There used to be gateways between them but something happened to Black London. To protect the others from a spreading harmful magic the gateways were closed.  Now, only a few can travel between them, a special type of magician, the Antari.  Kell, one of the Antari who is serving Red London, is one of the central characters.  Kell meets up with Delilah (or Lila), a young thief from Grey London, when she steals a rare artifact from his pocket. It is a powerful artifact and others are after it. They eventually work together to prevent it from being misused.

I had trouble with Kell as a character. He did not seem to be very on the ball when it came to facing danger, especially in the beginning of the story.  For example, when confronting someone trying to take the artifact he failed miserably.  Instead of using his incredible magic and being a bad-ass, he would say something like, “give that back” and end up getting slammed.  Lila, on the other hand, was very capable and likable.  Thank goodness.  She knew what she wanted and wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way.

I listened to the audio version of the book. The reader was unremarkable.  The book would likely appeal to those who like stories about magic and Victorian England.  It looked like something I’d enjoy, but it didn’t come together for me.  A Darker Shade of Magic is the first in a trilogy.