A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

“Kell wore a very peculiar coat. It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.”

Victoria Schwab usually writes YA, and I think it shows here – this isn’t YA, but it’s refreshingly light for a fantasy novel. There are sequels planned, but you can also feel satisfied with the story told over these 400 pages.

This bookverse has four different worlds, each with their own version of London and their own level of magic. Kell, one of the few remaining people with the necessary magic to travel between the worlds, has given each a colour coding: grey for the non-magical, which is much like our own world in the 19th Century; red for his own, where magic is a respected tool; white for the darker reality, where magic is an elusive power to be grabbed and wielded mercilessly; and finally black, a world so corrupted by evil that it has been sealed off. Any token of black London’s world has been destroyed – and in A Darker Shade of Magic, we get to find out why.

I really enjoyed it, from the wonders of Kell’s impossible, multi-sided coat, to Lila’s journey from pick pocket to owning her own destiny, to the quest element of saving three worlds. It could have been drawn into a longer, deeper tale, but that in itself was a nice change of pace. Bring on the sequels!

“My life is mine to spend.”

PB: 384 pages, 14 (subdivided) chapters.
Read 27th March – 1st June 2015

My rating: 8/10

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