Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
PubDate: February 24, 2015
Page count: 400
“He would see her again. He knew he would. Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time those points were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila still felt like a pin in Kell’s world.
One he was sure to snag on.”
I loved this book for so many reasons and let me start with Kell and his magic and his multi-sided coat and the London-with s- and Rhy and Lila with her dream of becoming a pirate and MAGIC! Have I mentioned that I always fall in love with fantasy books? And ADSoM just topped my list of favorites.
Kell is an Antari, a rare kind of magician and one of the only two remaining who can travel between worlds. There are four different Londons-Red (wealthy and filled with magic), Grey (dull and magic is forgotten), White (poor and deprived of magic) and Black (destroyed by magic)-and except Black London, Kell can travel to and from the other Londons using a door which he creates with the help of an object which belonged to the London he’s going to and his blood which is the source of his magic. He usually travels as the ambassador of the king of Red London, delivering and getting messages for the royals of each London. With his every visit to a different London, he smuggles things (which is forbidden) to anyone who is willing enough to give anything in exchange of something they would never see in their world. Kell doesn’t really see the danger of collecting things from another Londons but his brother, Prince Rhy, insists he should stop it. And even though he and Rhy are not really brothers (Kell was adopted by the King and Queen when he was five), he loves Rhy very much and considers stopping it. But when the King tells him to go to the White London to deliver a message to the Danes twins and a woman pleads to him to take a letter to someone in a differen London with a payment, Kell doesn’t have a choice but to deliver it. But it turns out that there’s no really letter and the payment is actually a stone from the Black London. Next thing he knew, cut-throats are after him and a girl just robbed him.
The plot of the story was unique and well written. It was clever enough to make four different Londons but Schwab had to put doors and magic too. As for the the world-building, it was simple yet it gave you splendid ideas of each London and I loved how the different Londons came to life.
The characters were amazing as well! It wasn’t hard to love them especially when they were all strong characters. Kell was the kind of character you’d love even though he wasn’t perfect. Well, for me he was perfect enough! He was loyal, kind, caring and what made him powerful was his belief that he and his magic should be equal. That he shouldn’t abuse or control it so it wouldn’t control him too.
“Some thought magic came from the mind, others the soul, or the heart, or the will. But Kell knew it came from the blood.
Blood was magic made manifest. There it thrived. And there it poisoned. Kell had seen what happened when power warred with the body, watched it darken in the veins of corrupted men, turning their blood from crimson to black. If red was the color of magic in balance—of harmony between power and humanity—then black was the color of magic without balance, without order, without restraint.
As an Antari, Kell was made of both, balance and chaos; the blood in his veins, like the Isle of Red London, ran a shimmering, healthy crimson, while his right eye was the color of spilled ink, a glistening black.”
Delilah “Lila” Bard was reckless but I liked that she was optimistic, independent and a bad-ass. She loved adventures and she always took chances even though it could turn out bad and that’s what made me love her more.
Kell looked her in the eyes. “You will be trapped there,” he said. “When it is over.” Lila shivered. “Perhaps,” she said, “or perhaps I will go with you to the end of the world. After all, you’ve made me curious.”
And she was confident, too.
She kicked a loose stone. “Well, I mean, it’s another world, isn’t it? Another version of London? Is there another version of me?” Kell frowned. “I’ve never met anyone like you.” He hadn’t meant it as a compliment, but Lila took it that way, flashing him a grin. “What can I say,” she said, “I’m one of a kind.”
I also loved Rhy Myresh because he was so charming. He was the next king of Red London, goofy but kind-hearted. I admired his relationship with Kell because they loved each other too much! They were hilarious together and I really enjoyed those parts they were together.
Rhy frowned. “I love you, Kell, but I had no interest in matching tattoos.”
And did I mention that Rhy was also flirty?
“Will I see more of you, Delilah Bard?” called the prince. “Perhaps our paths will cross again.” Rhy’s smile went crooked. “If I have any say in it, they will.
My heart broke for Holland. He could’ve been a good Antari like Kell but Anthos took that chance away when he bounded him to him. What a cruel, nasty man Athos was! Holland didn’t have his freedom, just doing whatever Athos told him to do. I was actually waiting for a twist on his part but too bad it didn’t happen.
Now let’s talk about the romance in the book. Wait… was there any? Of course, there was! The first time Kell and Lila met, I knew there would be one. It may not be the romance I expected but still, their connection was enough romance for me! I actually liked that it didn’t focus too much, or at all, on the romance because I think it could’ve gone a different way if it did. But who knew? Tsk.
Kell threw his arms around her. And for a second, only a second, she didn’t pull away, didn’t threaten to stab him. For a second, and only a second, she hugged him back. They stood there a moment, leaning on each other, one keeping the other on their feet, though neither was sure which needed more supporting. Both knew only that they were happy to be here, to be alive.
You may or may not agree with me but overall this book was perfect! Really! I could actually write a review using only a word and it would be: “Perfect!”
This book also reminded me of Howl’s Moving Castle with Kell’s multi-sided coat and his ability to make doors using magic which made it easier for me to love it because I loved Howl very much! Now I’m in love with Kell, too, and Howl should be okay with that! Ha!
“Hey, Lila,” he said softly into the space between them. “Yeah?” He pressed his mouth to hers for one brief moment, the warmth there and then gone. She frowned up at him, but did not pull away. “What was that for?” she asked. “For luck,” he said. “Not that you need it.”