Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab


Hype is not always a good thing. Sometimes it means you completely build up a book and it crushes you with not being what you thought it would be.

A Darker Shade of Magic was a book I had heard a great deal about. I have read a few of Victoria Schwab’s young adult books but was yet to venture into her adult fiction. Having got the first two in the series for Christmas I was excited and a tad nervous to read them. I so wanted to love them. I personally would say they could have been marketed as YA without to much of a problem just based on the first book.
Having just finished the first in the series, I can say confidently that I adored the first one. A Darker Shade of Magic engulfed me and I was completely enraptured. I had to keep slowing myself down as I did not want the story to end by devouring it one go. I was not worried about the writing, as both The Archived and This Savage Song have proved to me that Schwab is an exceptionally talented writer. I was just nervous that I was not going to get as gripped by this story as I had been led to believe.

Yet Kell and Lila had me hooked. They had me at the turning of a coat. The story is a wild ride of adventure, unique magic and four interconnected but distinctly different London’s. We journey with Kell as he toes a line between good dutiful prince and traitor to the throne. Unfortunately, his hobby catches up with him and his smuggling ways lead to an unravelling of the thin threads that keep these four London’s at bay. Both Kell and Lila are written in ways that made them fiery and interesting. They avoided that line where confidence boarders on selfish arrogance and both came across as decent and good (despite their criminal behaviours) at their core.  For me it quickened the pace of the story, as I liked both of them and wanted to see their fates. The unique brand of magic created in this series is evocative. It has a life of its own in a way that is dark and unnerving and one that I can imagine will be expanded on in the next instalments.

I am looking forward to more development of the other characters as we really only got to know Kell and Lila. I am desperate to know more of Kell’s mysterious history and see how the royal family are involved in this. Needless to say I am a fan and would recommend this to any fantasy enthusiast. A page-turner in the truest sense. My only criticism is that considering this is a trilogy I was surprised with how tied up everything seems at the end. I feel like I am being lulled into a false sense of security and that makes me all the more nervous to see what Schwab does in the next book.

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