Book Review

A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab

“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this book and I have one thing to say… WHY DID I NOT READ THIS SOONER?!

Ahem, back to regular review programming.

A Darker Shade of Magic follows two perspectives, first being a young man named Kell.

We first see Kell delivering a message to the King of England in what he calls ‘Grey London’. One may perceive him to be just a messenger boy however, it quickly becomes clear that Kell is much more than that. Kell is an Antari, meaning he can travel between the words of what is known as Grey London, Red London, White London and Black London. More than that, he is the last of two of his kind.

Travelling between words Kell can take things from one place to another, usually authorised correspondence between the monarchies however, sometimes he smuggles through other items. Items he knows he shouldn’t, items which could get him into trouble. Then one day he does, and it leads to events which he cannot have foreseen however, will stop at nothing in order to protect the world he loves.

The other perspective we follow is Delilah Bard, aka Lila.

Lila is words away from Kell, both literally and socially. She resides in Grey London and lives out her days stealing from the rich and keeping those riches for herself. She dreams of leaving London and after stealing from Kell, she might just get her wish – although not in the way she expects and the consequences of which could be dire.

I want to put in here that each character is well thought out and V. E. Schwab brings them to life. They all have their own personalities and backstories which enrich the story as a whole.

I love the concept and her writing style, there are moments where I know a character is evil and yet upon reading “Rumour has it that a man once spat at her for refusing to wear a dress; she cut off his lips” my only reaction was to laugh out loud and think “Same”.

V. E. Schwab does a brilliant job of allowing our imagination to use all of our senses. Not just sight or sound, smells and tastes are prominent features and allow you to become more absorbed within the world.

I honestly can’t wait to read more of her work.

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