REVIEW: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1)

a-darker-shade-of-magicTitle: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Pages: 384
Published by: Titan Books
Publication date: 27th February 2015
Genre: Fantasy/Magic
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones


Kell is one of the last travellers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, without magic and ruled by the mad King George III. Red London – where magic is reversed, and where Hell was raised alongside the heir to the empire. White London – where people fight to control the remaining magic and magic fights back. And once there was Black London…

My review:

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

This was my first book by V.E Schwab and I was amazed at how wonderfully creative it was! It is an absolutely mind-blowing story full of captivating characters and dangerous magic! This world Schwab has created… Wow. There are no words. I was seriously impressed with her writing and she builds this world so beautifully. I’ll admit, when I read the synopsis I thought this book was going to be really confusing with all the parallel universes but it actually wasn’t! It is all explained amazingly well and at no point was I confused or frustrated with the world building. Her writing is fantastic and I thought that this book definitely lived up the hype it was getting.

I loved how creative the story was combining parallel universes and magic! It was easy to identify each London as the story unfolded and I loved when Kell used magic. It was so interesting and I found myself picturing each scene in my head, as if I was there. It was beautiful. When Kell visited each dimension I instantly knew which was which and didn’t have to look back at the synopsis to remind myself. Schwab’s writing was so addicting and mesmerising, I couldn’t stop turning page after page. I was so eager to find out more about Kell and where this story was going. I’ve never read a book like this before and I was amazed at how imaginative Schwab was. She creates her own language and gives Kell a coat that has many sides which he then turns around depending on how he wants to look or depending on which London he is visiting! That is seriously creative and I loved it.

I cannot express how much I adored Kell. I just absolutely freaking loved him. So damn much. He is such a wonderful character and right from the start I could tell I was going to love him. He is a really strong and relatable character, it was easy to love him and care about what happened to him. It is impossible for anyone to hate Kell. Impossible. He cares so deeply for his family and will do anything to protect them. He will take on the most dangerous villains to ensure the safety of his family and his home. I loved his relationship with his brother, Rhy, who is so cheeky in comparison. We didn’t get to see too much of Rhy and I desperately hope that he will have a stronger role in the second book. I live for Kell and Rhy.

I’m not too sure how I feel about Lila yet. I have very mixed feelings towards her and I’m kind of sat on the fence. I can’t make my mind up whether I like her or not. She is a very strong and fierce female character, one of the strongest I’ve seen in a while actually, and I loved that about her. Plus she is a cross-dressing pirate which was very interesting and made me curious to find out more about her. She was very infuriating at times but I think that was deliberate and added to her character. I loved how adventure ran in her blood and how determined she was to see the world.

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Quotes like this made me believe Lila was actually an interesting character who I could possible end up loving in the next book. I am curious to see her character develop throughout the series because we definitely haven’t seen the last of her. I think she has a lot of potential and hidden talents for us to see.

One thing that bothered me about this book was that the ending felt very rushed. It was an incredibly fast paced ending with plenty of action but I couldn’t help noticing several spelling mistakes and I instantly dislike finding spelling mistakes at the end of books. It always makes me feel like the ending was not given as much attention as the start of the book and makes me feel like the author hurried the ending. I could be wrong but this is just my honest opinion and I was a little disappointed by this but it was still an amazing ending. The fight scenes with the villains were very intense and it was obvious that they were fighting to use magic purely for their own selfish goals and to be the most powerful people.

This was an amazing fast-paced fantasy read and I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of magic and parallel universes. It also has pretty awesome sadistic villains and I love a good villain.

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