Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Published: Feb. 24, 2015 by Tor
Yes I am late to the Schwab train and, yes, I regret it ok? But wow.
I didn’t really know what to expect from ADSOM other than the little tidbits of squees and fangirling that I’ve heard over the book. Now I understand why people love the series so much. The novel was a relatively fast paced read filled with great characters with opposing motivations and objections, a whole bunch of world building, and–the best thing, of course–the tantalizing feeling that there’s more. Even though ADSOM was coming to a close I could smell a sequel despite knowing that the sequel has been out for some time. There’s just a way that Schwab writes that gives you a little hint through out the writing that there’s so much more to come.
It makes me want to come back to the series as soon as possible.
Kell and Lila made such an amazing, funny, and dynamic pair. Kell is all about code and ethics. He’s been raised in a life full of privilege and beauty while Lila is hardened by thieving and getting herself into rather dangerous situations. However, there’s so much more to Lila that I want to know more of and there’s so much more for Kell to learn. They have a really funny relationship where they constantly bicker and sling clever little quips at each other, but they still find themselves fighting for each other. They’re obviously drawn in some sort of way, but they don’t really know what it is. Where I end up wanting to pull back the curtain for Lila, I end up wanting to see where Kell’s journey takes him.
I have to talk about the Londons because it’s both incredibly simple and incredibly hard to world build. In a fantasy world, the world is your oyster. You’re able to literally create whatever the hell you want and it’ll work because it’s yours. Schwab has both a fantasy world and a real world mixed up. The way she differentiates the Londons is really fascinating. Not only are there color codes, but each London is very distinctly their own. They have different languages, customs, dress, and architecture. Schwab had a way to give the readers enough information to understand that these were all Londons, but didn’t over kill it to the point where we’re overwhelmed and closed off to the idea. A lot of the differentiation is in the details, which I loved even more.
Plot wise this book was pretty straight forward and it was really the world building and the characters that really amped up this story. Without them, it would be a pretty cliche boy saves the world story. By bringing in Kell and Lila and then the Londons, Schwab has really made this story her own. It was rather fast paced and adventurous (Lila would be proud).
If you’re into books with magic, adventure, and witty banter I definitely think you should give ADSOM a chance. It reminds me greatly of Six of Crows (yes, I am aware that it came out after ADSOM).