Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once 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 royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her '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 — trickier than they hoped.
I received an e-copy of this book from the publisher, this does not influence my review.
After reading fangirly tweets and praise about A Darker Shade of Magic, I knew I had to pick it up. The author still refers to this book as “PIRATES, THIEVES, AND SADIST KINGS” and if that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t know what does.
Kell is a Traveller, a rare magician who can travel between parallel universes. Kell can travel between parallel Londons, one in our world, one filled with magic, and one on the brink of chaos at any moment. Officially, he works for Red London, the magical one, but he occupies himself by collecting things from all the Londons. Which is well, against the rules. As he stumbles upon an object both dangerous and possibly deadly, he crosses paths with Lila, a thief who wants nothing more than to free herself from the chains of street-life. Together, they must work to stay alive, and forces who are working against them- both from the outside and inside. Basically, it’s a recipe for one heck of a good book.
I thought everything about the plot and characters was done extremely well. I felt like I truly understood Kell and Lila and I just loved reading about them so much. I also felt that the plot, despite being a little confusing at first, was very easy to understand and grasp despite its clear complexity and prose. I am a sucker for a story with parallel worlds and adventure, and A Darker Shade of Magic did not disappoint!
The plot was a little slow-paced at first, but it definitely picks up and leaves you on the edge of your seat. You find yourself unable to wonder exactly what is happening and how everything will work itself out. I was extremely satisfied with how everything worked out in the end, but I am still pining to read the sequel! The romance in A Darker Shade of Magic was not a big focal point, but I would say that it was still very swoony- and you can’t help but root for the characters!
Overall, A Darker Shade of Magic was another brilliant novel from an already brilliant author. If you’re looking for a great new fantasy that leaves you on the edge of your seat and wanting to keep reading, even after you turn the last page, I highly recommend this one!.
“And clever was more dangerous than bad any day of the week” (page 119 of eARC)
“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?” Her smile widened.
“Everything.” (page 159 in eARC)