A Darker Shade of Magic is an awesome New-Adult Fantasy novel following a young man named Kell who has the power to move between alternate Londons: grey London, red London, and white London. He serves as an ambassador between the Londons and on one of his trips, he acquires an artifact that changes his life forever.
What I Liked:
The worldbuilding is amazing! I love V. E. Schwab’s different versions of London. Each one is very different and it was easy to tell them apart. My favorite of them all, of course, has to be White London. I hope we see a lot more of it than we did in the sequel. I mean, we do see a lot of it, don’t get me wrong, but I want to know more about the geography, other countries, the political workings, and the royal family…especially Prince Rhy, because swoon. White London creeped me out (in a good way) and I thought the Dane twins were deliciously cruel (though a bit two-dimensional). Even though I know they already played twins in another enormously successful franchise, I kept picturing Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Astrid and Athos. We know Aaron Taylor-Johnson can pull off white hair, and I bet Olsen can, too.
Kell and Rhy’s bromance was well-fleshed out especially as you find out how much Kell has exactly done for Rhy. It is heartbreaking. The sacrifice that Kell makes to keep him safe made me cry, and books usually don’t make me cry so that says a lot.
My favorite character has to be Delilah effing Bard, wannabe pirate. She was all of my favorite things: feisty, sarcastic, and didn’t take crap from anyone. What I really loved was that even though she was a criminal, Lila does show that she has (some) morals and is really rather vulnerable. Even if she doesn’t like to show it. I totally ship her and Kell so it’d better happen.
The magic system is a unique take on the four elements system that is so overdone nowadays. (Yes, I do realize I am writing a novel that has this magic system, but I’m trying to overhaul it.)
What I Didn’t Like (mini spoiler):
I found A Darker Shade of Magic to be a bit predictable. From the moment we met Holland and Dane twins, I pretty much knew what was going to go down. They were just too textbook cruel. However, it wasn’t predictable enough where I did not enjoy the novel.
Rating: 4.5 stars