Friday, October 9, 2020


Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Pages: 400
Publisher: Tor Books
Published date: 24 February 2015
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy Fiction

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive. (Source: Goodreads)

I think this is my first fantasy read this year. This book was so hyped when it came out. It's the first book in a trilogy. To this day, the trilogy is still popular and loved by most readers. But am I among the most readers? 

This book is about a Antari (magician) named Kell who can move between four Londons—Red, White, Grey, Black—overlapping each other. Only Antari has the ability to move between the worlds. Red London is a London full of magic, White London is the evil London, Grey London is for mundanes and Black London has been shut down due to its dark magic.  

Long story short, this book is about the journey to return a black magic stone that was given to Kell without him knowing the danger of it. Hence, Kell needs to return it to the Black London. Along the way, he met Delilah Bard, a thief who dream to become a pirate in Grey London. 

I think the premise of the book is promising. I love the idea of four Londons coexist with each other. At first, it was a bit hard to get into since fantasy tends to be a heavy read. And Schwab's writing is wordy and dense. Sometimes I get irritated at how repetitive her description can get but the precise description makes you not only see the scene unfolds, but feel it as well. 

I enjoy the action a lot. I think the pace is not too slow. The characters don't really felt real to me aside from Kell. But then, Kell is just like any other softie out there and I'm weak for them. I love reading about Kell mainly. I love the fact that he's a royal member but is not flawless.

As for the love interest, Delilah Bard, I don't hate her but sometimes I rolled my eyes at something she said/did. I hate how she looked down upon other girls just because they behave femininely. 

I know Kell and Lila are going to end up together anyway since they are the main characters, but I don't feel their chemistry. I think they are more compatible as friends or partners in crime. 

Based on the synopsis of book two, I'm pretty sure Kell will fall head over heels for Delilah. So, this is the reason why I won't be continuing the series lol (yup I'm that petty). Or maybe I'm just over romance in fantasy. I came for the action, not for the romance unless it's subtle or two characters who are willing to die for each other, then that's romantic. Besides, in book two Lila is getting more annoying and 'not-like-other-girls' which I hate. 

Overall, this book is entertaining to read as a book but tedious as a series. 

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

Rate: ★★★★☆


  1. I really am jealous since you got the time to read and finish so many books.

  2. I love fantasy. Might looking for this book too but your view about delila made me think twice 😂


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