A Darker Shade Of Magic Review -- Legendary

A Darker Shade Of Magic (ADSOM #1)
Author:  V.E Schwab
Pages: 400
Genre(s): Adult (right?), Fantasy
Published: February 24, 2015 | Tor Books
Format: E-Copy
Source: Purchased

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.

I NEVER do this but . . . 


Have you ever finished a book, loved it so-so much, and thought, " How the hell am I going to review this ? " This book blew my mind in ways I didn't believe were possible, and I'm afraid giving it just 5 stars is a bit of an . . . insult. Not to mention I feel as though my little ole' review, probably won't do any justice -- probably won't give A Darker Shade Of Magic the praise it deserves. 

But guess what? I'm sure as hell going to try.

So sit back, buckle your seat belts, slide your shades on, and let's get ready for this ride . . .

A Darker Shade Of Perfection

 ' I'd rather die on an adventure, than live standing still. '

If we look up the definition for " Fantasy " in the dictionary, I'd be thoroughly satisfied to see a picture of A Darker Shade Of Magic beside it. ADSOM was a masterpiece, and even though this is the first novel I've read by Victoria, I can pretty much co-sign with other readers by saying, compared to other authors, her work is freaking SUPERIOR.

In this adventurous tale, we follow a handful of my favorite characters thus far. If originality was an aspect the author was gunning for, she definitely succeeded as we're introduced to two blood magicians whom are neither friend nor foe, (at first) a cross-dressing thief slash aspiring pirate, a royal prince, and a sadistic pair of twins whom are also a king & queen. Told in 3rd person, which is usually a perspective I hate, (definitely wasn't the case here obviously) we travel with our devilishly handsome main character Kell, as he uses his skill as an " Antari " to wander back in forth between the 3 Londons:

Grey -- The Magic-less City
Red -- The Healthy Empire
White -- The Starving World


 One of my absolute favorite aspects of this story would be the characters. Never have I ever read about such an odd, eclectic, group of individuals, who are so different -- but yet similar in small, but significant ways. It was impossible not to fall in love with Kell, Lila, and Rhy, as they all brought something new to the table. Kell , with his copper hair, unusual eyes, and brilliant personality. He was the most peculiar of all the characters, and definitely my personal fav. Lila or "sticky fingers " as I liked to call her, was our bad ass cross-dressing-pirate-thief, with the witty, but very cunning attitude. & let's not leave out Rhy, our dashing, swoon-worthy prince. But this wouldn't be a great fantasy novel without a couple of devious villains now would it?

Of course in any novel where there are villians, you're automatically prone to hate them right? Well sorry to burst your bubble, but I freaking LOVED the bad guys! Now I didn't care for our second blood magician Holland too much, (although I did feel a DROP of sympathy for him) but the king and queen? I hated those asswipes, and that's EXACTLY what I liked about them the most. The twins Astrid and Athos were cruel, sick, twisted, evil individuals -- pretty much any foul name you could possibly think of, but because of this,
 they made the story THAT much exciting.

What can I say, they're wicked ways rubbed off on me.

  ' Do you know what I see in you? ' --- ' A fire. ' He strode across the chamber, caught hold of the boys face by his jaw, and slammed his head back against the wood frame. --- The king brought his lips to the boy's ear. ' It burns through you,' he whispered against the boy's cheek. ' I can't wait to carve it out. '

Flawless Victory

 ' You know so little of war, Battles may be fought from the outside in, but wars are won from the inside out. '

Have you ever read a fantasy novel, well any novel for that matter, where you felt you didn't get anything out of the story? The characters were . . . MEH, the plot and twists shaky & predictable, the writing amateurish? I'm positive we all can relate, and after finally purchasing ADSOM, I didn't have a clue as to what I was getting myself into. I anticipated a good outcome of course, but what I wasn't expecting was to be thrown into a story that was so beautifully composed -- so wonderfully executed, that after turning the last page, I was completely speechless. I've read other novels in the fantasy genre that held so much promise, but came up just a bit short, and I'm ecstatic to confess that this book does NOT suffer the same fate. 

 Victoria is an amazing storyteller, taking the heavily used concept of magic, and blending it into her story in a way I've never seen it, beautiful -- as it should be, but deadly if put into the wrong hands. I felt absorbed in her writing, completely to the point where I didn't want to devour this novel, but instead to savor it, to buy time so it wouldn't end so quickly. I found myself on edge while reading the action scenes, screaming at the top of my lungs, " Don't You Die On Me ! Don't You Dare Die On Me ! " Every type of emotion will be pulled from you, especially since the scenes were painted so vividly, making it difficult not to squirm during every chapter. So either my heart was racing, I was holding my breath, or I was screaming for my favorite characters not to die.

I don't get this excited for nothing people. 

Everything in this novel is woven together perfectly. From the characters, to the marvelous world-building, down to the itsy-bitsy details such as the native language of each London.  I wish I could sit here and rave about this book, maybe even spoil you guys, but what fun would that be? All I ask is that you pick this book up, read it, and experience this legendary piece of work that A Darker Shade Of Magic proved to be.

Post a Comment