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A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel (Shades of Magic) Paperback – January 19, 2016
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Entertainment Weekly's 27 Female Authors Who Rule Sci-Fi and Fantasy Right Now
“A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Its plot is gripping. Its characters are memorable. Its setting in four parallel, powerful Londons is otherworldly yet believable. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale that is original in its premise and compelling in its execution. This is a book to treasure.” ―Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of The All Souls Trilogy
“Compulsively readable...her characters make the book. Just as Kell has layers, Lila is a satisfyingly rich invention...With so many worlds on the map, there's plenty left to discover.” ―NPR
“A Darker Shade of Magic feels like a priceless object, brought from another, better world of fantasy books.” ―io9
“Schwab (Vicious) creates an ingenious set of nesting alternate Londons in this imaginative, well-crafted fantasy. Confident prose and marvelous touches-a chameleon coat, a scarlet river of magic, a piratical antiheroine-bring exuberant life to an exhilarating adventure among the worlds.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A Darker Shade of Magic is smart, funny and sexy ... Schwab keeps the excitement coming with roller-coaster plot twists that establish her as, perhaps, the natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones's contemporary fantasy crown.” ―The Independent
“Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine.” ―Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
V. E. Schwab's first adult novel, Vicious, debuted to critical praise and reader accolades. Schwab is the author of YA novels The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound. She is also currently writing a fantasy middle grade series with Scholastic.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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This past year I have not picked up a lot of fantasy novels because I wanted to read more diverse books, and unfortunately fantasy isn't very diverse. So when I picked up this book I felt a little rusty, which may have affected my first impressions of the story. It was a bit hard for me to get into the story, I think I was just a little confused because there are so many versions of London and I was trying to keep up. I think I got a bit in my head about it and got stressed because as I pushed through it got easier to get a hang of this different world.
The writing, as always with Schwab, was beautiful and haunting. I am always going to be in love with her writing style. I want to live in her writing forever. So this definitely did not disappoint. I also really love our main characters. Kell and Lila. I liked their friendship and their quick bond. Kell has easily become one of my favorite characters I've read in 2017. Now I know why everyone's always raving about him. He's brave, sweet, sometimes so stupid, but overall a good person. I love Lila's feisty attitude. I like that she has no problem doing what she needs to do to survive, but she has enough of a moral compass to not cross any lines. I do hope we get more about Rhy, because I don't think we got enough of him. I want to see more of his brother-y relationship with Kell, but also I think his personality mixed with Lila's will make for funny dialogue.
I was genuinely shocked at moments in the story. I gasped, and at once part I audibly said "No, no, no!" where my fiancé hurried into the room thinking something had actually gone wrong, and then rolled his eyes when he realized I was just reading. So this book definitely pulled at my emotions, good and bad. I was sad, shocked, giddy, frozen. I think this a result of the beautiful writing and amazing storytelling. This story was super unique and I think it definitely had me interested in the world. Schwab does an amazing job at world building, and I felt really satisfied with that. It felt sometimes a little info-dumpy but I always expect that with the first of a fantasy series. Especially one with such a unique world. I cannot wait to get back into this story.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. I am mad it took me so long to finally read it but I cannot wait to continue with the series.
I am now making it my mission to read all of VE Schwab's books immediately.
I've been let down by fantasy lately, so I think that's part of the reason I left this one alone for so long. But this was amazing in more ways than I can tell you. The writing, plot, the magical world, and especially the characters all had me reeling.
Our story is set in London - and multiple Londons, parallel universe-type stuff. I could try to explain it here, but Kell does a better job in the book. Just know that it's not confusing in any way and is unique amongst today's fantasy world.
Speaking of Kell... goodness, I loved him! So much. He's the good guy, but he also has some shades of grey inside him. I loved that he wasn't just 100% perfect, because no one is. His added magical abilities made him special and part of the Royal Family in his home, 'Red London.' There is only one other person in the world with his abilities, so to say he's rare and special is an understatement. And though he's revered and loved, he still feels alone since he's not quite part of the family.
We meet Lila Bard and I have to say that she may be my favorite fantasy heroine ever. That's a ballsy statement, I know. But she has balls of steel and then some. She's tough as nails, ready for adventure, and looking for something more. I adored her from the second she was introduced. Her wit, humor, and all-around badassery won me over. And she only continued to impress me as the story went on.
The action is fast-paced and there were many moments when I wanted to scream or throw my Kindle to the ground. The villains are wonderfully written, so be prepared to feel the hate in your bones. The last 20% or so really take off, and my heart was pounding as I waited for resolution. I can't wait to see what's in store for Kell and company in A Gathering of Shadows.
If you love books centered on magic, I urge to give this a try. This is the best start to a fantasy series I've read in a long time.
Come for the gorgeous prose, stay for the twisty plots, exquisite world building, and characters so complex you'll forget they aren't real. As a reader, I loved it. As a writer, I want to pick it apart into pieces and try to figure out how she did it. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!
Most recent customer reviews
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