I have finally read the marvel that is A Darker Shade of Magic, and meep!! I loved this book from the very first line. Expect some shameless gushing ahead.
I was pretty excited about it – especially after reading This Savage Song, and discovering that V.E. Schwab is amazing (!!). And, I kept seeing it just about everywhere. It didn’t disappoint. At all. SO now you get a very random list of cool things I like about it, because this is how we review books, chaotically and with no sense of order.
Londons (in!! plural!!) ~
There’s the dull, mostly magic-less Grey London, the shiny Red London that’s always nice unless it’s not, creepy White London where people will probably gnaw your bones because they’re starved of life, and dead Black London, which is no more.
AND to make it even better, each one of them has its own crazy world, AND it’s own language, AND its own smell, and it’s all so vivid you might as well be there. (I wouldn’t mind being there)
And speaking of languages… ~
There are bits of Arnesian, Maktahn, and Antari spread throughout the book, sometimes with no translation, and they blend in so perfectly it’s not confusing even when you have NO CLUE what any of it means. Some of it has a rather nice sound to it, so I will go learn Arnesian now… Anoshe.
Magic, magic and more magic ~
Elemental magic, blood magic, magic charms, magic spells, magic that’s alive, magic that flows in water, magic that controls minds, magic that starves, magic that destroys worlds, magic that blackens people from the inside… and good luck kisses. Which may be magical too, because they worked. Twice. I mean… you never know.
Kell, Antari and magic travel ~
Kell Maresh is one of the last Antari, the only people who can travel between the Londons, and IT’S PERFECT. I love how he collects tiny odd things from other worlds, and doesn’t quite fit in anywhere, and always manages to get in trouble somehow. He’s so tragic, I just want him to be fine. Also, I love his relationship with his brother Rhy. They’re disastrous. And absolutely the best.
Snark, stabbing and sassy banter ~
All thanks to Lila Bard, the thieving, stabby, aspiring pirate who won’t die until she’s seen it all. She’s awesome. I mean, she robs people, has no problem with killing and sets a ship on fire… but she’s awesome. Also, HER AND KELL. AHHH. I ship this. They’re going to drive each other insane… Extra points to Lila for showing up at a ball gown masquerade wearing boots and pants.
A coat with more than two sides ~
Kell’s coat doesn’t only turn into a bajillion other coats when you turn it inside out, it also gains new sides and loses old ones whenever it pleases. AND NO ONE KNOWS WHY.
Villains, dark magic, and chaotic mess ~
We have the bloody Dane twins, who took over the throne in White London by killing a bunch of people, the also bloody Holland, who is Antari and dark and scary, but someone help him please, he’s just so broken, AND the dark, clever magic that goes around making people into human puppets with black eyes. They all want something. They all make trouble. Messes ensue.
A courtyard of people turned to stone and bones in the floor ~
Astrid Dane is not just evil, she’s insane. I don’t know what could be wronger with this woman. AND she’s possibly a fan of the White Witch in Narnia, because she has one of these… Plus, a display of her enemies’ bones in the granite floor under her throne. Could be a trendy decor thing in Makt??
Constant angst because everyone you ever loved could be permanently broken ANY SECOND NOW ~
A great feeling, of course. All is fine.
no it’s not, it really isn’t.
Bad decisions and creeping darkness ~
Everyone is very flawed in one way or another… Mistakes abound. Darkness creeps. People die. This is not ominous at all.
Lila knocking Kell out with a book ~
I mean… Tell me this isn’t brilliant. (ahaha, ok, I’m sorry)
So, I can’t wait to read the sequel (A Gathering of Shadows!!), but I hear it will destroy my feelings and leave me in a pile of ash, which is worrisome.
…But I’m down for it. Of course.
One more book for the Dewey Dragons!
aaahh we’re in third place now, help
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.
You should try…
Everything by V.E. Schwab, to sum it up
Do you absolutely love anything V.E. Schwab?? What do you think of this series/book? And where would you go if you had Antari magic??