Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publication: February 24th 2015, Tor Books
Format: , 400 pages
Source: Pinoy Book Tours (THANK YOU SOOO MUCH Dianne of Oops I Read A Book Again)
Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | The Book Depository | Kobo | National Book Store / Fully Booked (PH)


Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

Misfit Review:

Magic is a myth that I wish truly existed, or better yet lived through us, coursed through our veins and affected our lives. Oh well to wishful thinking. That's why I love reading fantasy stories that add the element of magic and V.E. Schwab's A Darker Shade of Magic did not fail my expectations.

The story begins with Kell on his journey through different Londons-dimensions if you will-working as somewhat a messenger for the royals in Red (where he lives, as an adopted Prince of the Red Throne), Grey (a magicless London) and White (magically powerful and proud). Not many people can conjure magic that could pass through the doors to the different Londons since these were sealed up, but Kell is special... he's an Antari, a rare race of magicians that have special abilities to travel through doors with the use of blood magic. They heal very fast and have a special trademark in them, a single eye that has a hauntingly black iris. There are only two Antaris left, Holland who works for the Dane royals in White London. And while everything is somehow going on smoothly with the relationships of the Royals in each Londons, trouble lurks around after Kell receives a stone that belongs to the perilous and fallen Black London and the danger is going to run after Kell with every turn he makes. He stumbles across Lila Bard, a pick-pocket, who seems to know the harshness of the world all too well and they work together to find out what evil looms and what it could mean to all the Londons and to their lives.

A Darker Shade of Magic is mysterious in many of its twists and turns plot wise. Though at times there are cases that it may seem all too predictable, it may be because of the amazing character backgrounds that have been laid upon in the first half of the book. The reader is taken to the different facets of the Londonsphere, and while it all seems too much to take in to some, there are bits and pieces of information that can be found and are rather essential to the whole story. It's like a good puzzle. If you have the pieces and know how to work it out, it doesn't seem too hard to understand, yet the story is magical in it's own sense because it never gave up on the essence of its characters.

Kell is charming and cautious. Maybe even too cautious. And as a the main hero of this story, especially about magic, you'd think that he's unfazed and all too strong to handle his decisions and battles, but he is never one to admit to pleading and caring for his people, especially to his adoptive brother Rhy. What I liked most about Kell is his willingness to sacrifice himself in times of need. Though he may not seem to have that tough exterior some heroes have, he does carry a huge heart. Also, there's not much talk on his physical features, which would kind of put the swoon feature down, but it did make me focus more on his personality.

And I think it is easy to say that Lila is one of the best heroines I have encountered in my reading experience, hands down. She's experienced the harshness of the world and know all too well how it works. She's skillful, cunning and completely stubborn yet she holds her own. She's afraid to show her emotions, believing it's a sign of weakness however could succumb to it for brief moments and then she's ready to kick some ass. She's currently a fave and can't wait to read more of her. 

Romance wasn't a huge part of this story, which seems to be a key element for readers to either be hooked to them. There's little bits here and there but you can tell that Kell and Lila work more as a team rather than lovers trying to protect each other and I liked that because I got to focus more on other problems rather than the romance itself.

Characters seems to be well developed already as the story happens through excessive character background but it's not too shabby when it comes to supplementing more of it. World building seems to be the focal point of this, briefing us on how each London works and more about them as the story goes on. A Darker Shade of Magic wasn't too afraid to adding violent scenes to it's mystery with tons of slashing, backstabbing, chest piercing, blood gushing, gun shooting and blood lust. I can only imagine how this would turn out as a film. Hmmm. Think Pulp Fiction...minus the non-linear sequences but still pretty awesome and with magic. The magic element could've been better though as far as extensive use, however it was still fun saying the spells like As Anasae. LOL.

V.E. Schwab is a master of mixing fantasy and danger and has the ability of bringing a flair to her characters, from Kell, Lila to the dangerous Dane twins. I definitely cannot wait for the second book. Mooooore Kell and Lila please! And more magic!

A Darker Shade of Magic is for the high fantasy hungry readers and also made for those who are willing to enter different worlds and come out with an understanding of how strange, dangerous and also quite beautiful the world may be.

Check out more reviews and excerpts of A Darker Shade of Magic Tour through Pinoy Book Tours!

About The Author:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Victoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say "tom-ah-toes," "like," and "y'all."

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems. Also publishes under Goodreads author name, V.E. Schwab.

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