Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Where the Wolves Read: A Darker Shade of Magic

SummaryKell is one of the last travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. 

There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King--George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered--and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London--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, ambassador of the Maresh empire, 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. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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.

Review: I'm going to be straight up and tell you this was a re-read and the Shades of Magic trilogy is one of my favorite trilogies of all time. Characters. I loved all of them. There has never been another book where I've loved all the characters. Even the bad ones. Kell was mysterious, but lovable. Lila was fierce. Holland is broken and I just want to hug him. I even liked the Danes. I found each of the characters unique and fascinating. Kell's ability to travel between Londons was a great way to experience the different ways magic has affected these seemingly similar places. Lila is my baby. Lila has this great attitude and just is not here for Kell's "I'm better than you because magic" bullshit. I need Lila to be my friend in real life. Just throwing that out there. Lila didn't let anything get in her way which is something I really appreciated. Regardless of the situation, she was willing to give it everything she had. Holland was fascinating. Is there a novella of Holland and Kell growing up? It would be excellent to see both characters learning how to craft their magic into what it was when ADSOM started. Rhy was such a fun character and (I've already read book 2) I know he only gets better and more complex as the stories continue. I do wish we had gotten more of him in ADSOM, but I think we got a feel for how playful, yet loving he can be.

As far as plot goes, I'm a sucker for parallel universe or alternate dimension stories. ADSOM did a good job of focusing on one specific city, but making it feel fresh and new every single time Kell traveled. I also really liked how the dual perspective narrative was handled throughout the story. It was nice seeing Lila's fresh take on everything and then compare it to Kell's experienced eyes. I don't know if this is because the book was a re-read, but there were some parts I found a little predictable. That didn't take anything away from my enjoyment though. From start to finish, I was in London with Kell and Lila. They had such a grand adventure for the story taking place in one city. I did use the audiobook to re-experience this story and I think it was a great decision. The audiobook was very well done and I had no issues getting into the narration. I'll try to stop gushing now.

5/5 howls