REVIEW: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This book tells the story of Kell, a magician who can travel between parallel universes connected by one city: Londen. There are (or were) four different Londons. Grey London, which is the London we know, with barely any magic. Red Londen, a flourishing city where magic thrives. White London, where people and magic fight for dominance. And Black London, which does not exist anymore.
Further explaining of the world will just make it complicated. The book, however, doesn't feel complicated at all. You'll just have to read it and experience the story for yourself. It has magic systems, political play, intrigue, power-hungry villains, secrets, thieves, smugglers and a peculiar coat.
This is a (high?) fantasy book with characters that don't strictly fall into the YA category anymore. I adored the world building. It's easy to understand, but not lazy or plain. Schwab created a completely new world (or three), with different types of magic and a specific language.
The characters are wonderful. They have complicated relationships, are multidimensional, layered, flawed. They have realistic emotions and incredible development. A lot in this book is morally grey, which makes the characters more complex and the book more interesting.
There are two main characters, Kell and Lila, and I'm so glad to read a fantasy book with a gender balance in its MC's. Also, there is a tonne of snark and banter, which is awesome.
I had expected this book to keep me on edge more. There weren't really any extreme twists or turns, which is not to say there wasn't any action! There was plenty of that, on occasion it was hard, even vile, always honest. Maybe I thought I would be more confused and/or surprised, but short after Crooked Kingdom and Caraval, that's probably to be expected.
Overall, it was great! Magic, elements, travel, history, everything you could want and more.
I'm excited and looking forward to continuing with this series.