A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) - V.E. Schwab

October 22, 2018

4 / 5 Stars


Enjoyable, fast-paced fantasy romp.

I have to say, I'm probably not what you'd call a fantasy fan so much these days. I used to literally inhale fantasy novels, but I've found over the years that the same old tropes keep popping up, which does make me a little irritated. Thankfully, this book avoided most of them - brava!


It's about London. Or a few different Londons, to be exact. Kell, a wizard-type guy, can travel between Londons, though no-one ventures into Black London - there's some bad magic brewing down there and it's a no-go zone.

Unfortunately, Kell ends up with a magic stone that belongs in Black London, which means he's going to have to take it back. He's got Lila Bard to help him, a thief of epic proportions without much of a moral compass, but even more unfortunately, they've got Astrid and Athos, the King and Queen of White London, breathing down their necks. Will they be able to dispose of the evil magic stone or not? I'm not going to tell you, because that would be spoiling it!

So, I'll be honest, at the start, I felt a bit like I'd read this sort of thing before. I couldn't muster up much enthusiasm. Then Lila came in, and all of a sudden I was sucked right in. I liked Lila a lot. She wasn't just tall, manly in appearance and not your typical female lead, she also didn't fall for Kell - HOORAY. 

I also liked the concept of the layered Londons, though there wasn't really much explanation about why the Londons were all layered up - perhaps this comes in a later book? I do have the sequel, so I look forward to finding out.

It's a fun read. If you're into fantasy with a bit of attitude and oomph, you'll enjoy this.

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