Name: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy > Magic, YA
Sinopse from Goodreads:
Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London… but no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.
Little side note: Well well well… Do you ever get that gut feeling when you hear about a book/trilogy/series/author and you just know that you’re going to love it so you better just buy all the books? Well, that first happened to me with the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I had that gut feeling telling me I was going to love it, so I bought the boxed set and I LOVED IT. I have the same feeling with… well, all Victoria Schwab’s books, but I ended up only buying A Darker Shade of Magic on ebook right before A Conjuring of Light came out because it was really cheap. Won’t make that mistake twice! I am now ready to buy ALL HER BOOKS. And with this, lets move on to the review!
The only thing I knew about this book was that its setting involved 4 different Londons from parallel universes: Black London, White London, Red London and Grey London, and that it also involved magic. Some Londons had more of it than others, some were more ruthless than others and one of them was no more. Parallel worlds? Better: parallel Londons? SIGN ME IN. And I have to tell you, I loved this concept from the begining… Just the idea of it! And I also have to tell you, it was wonderfully accomplished. It was so complex, full of mystery and intriguing. We have these worlds, each of them so unique that it wasn’t hard to keep up about which London our characters were in. I could easily keep reading about the world building. The way of traveling between them was also something I loved, aswell as the different languages spoken in each world and how the magic system worked. Here I am, still aching to know more about it, to keep being submerged in these alternative Londons.
About the characters… I don’t really want to tell much about them, let this adventure guide you to them and find it for yourself, I really think you’ll have a better reading experience this way (*fingers crossed* I truly hope you do). I loved the dinamics between the main ones, how the friendship between Kell and Lila evolved, although I’d like to see more of Kell and Rhy’s (Kell’s adoptive brother) friendship, and I also liked how we were able to see some situations from the point of view of some minor ones (very few, though), because I liked knowing that there were also important things happening somewhere the main characters were not. How the characters from the different Londons perceived magic and how they thought it should be “handled” was also very interesting. Although I would like to get to know more about the characters, I’m fairly sure the next books will give me that.
I liked how the plot flowed and unfolded, the way we got to the situation that started this dangerous adventure to save the worlds (oh, the smuggling), the problems that the characters found along the way and how their perspectives were challenged by each other. But… I hoped there was a bit more to the ending, because I felt that, did I not know it was a trilogy, I would think it could very possible be a standalone.
I can not finish this without saying how Schwab’s writing is so, SO amazing! There where times when not much was happening but it was very hard for me to stop reading because the writing style was so compelling and I was appreciating the wording and how well it all fitted together. English is not my first language (I’m portuguese), but most times, while I was reading, I felt like it was (even though I didn’t know some words, but that’s what dictionaries are made for!), it played so smoothly and beautifully in my head.
(Rating) 4,25 stars. Why? BECAUSE I NEEDED MORE PAGES 😭 I really loved it, but I also really need a bit more of this world(s) and this story. I 100% recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy (especially magic), parallel universes, very special characters and a magical writing.
I’m really happy this is going to be translated to portuguese so I can push it on all my friends and recommend it to everyone!