A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Source: ARC borrowed from Lili @ Lili's Reflections (thank you Lili!!)

Summary from Goodreads:
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



Victoria Schwab is a master at creating worlds. I absolutely loved this one with parallel Londons and magic. There is Grey London, the magic-less city, Red London, the healthy city, White London, the starving city, and then Black London, the city that fell to magic. It used to be that anyone could travel between the cities but since they sealed the doors to contain the corruption in Black London, only the few remaining Antari have that ability. Kell is one of them and Holland is the other. Kell for all intents and purposes is good, and even though he belongs to the Red Crown, his mind and body are his own. The same can't be said for Holland who is soul-bound to the bloodthirsty rulers of White London.

When Kell discovers a dangerous source of magic that the White Crown is trying to exploit, it's up to him to get rid of it. But he is not just up against Holland and The White Crown, two powerful adversaries in and of themselves, but he is also up against the magic, which quite literally has a mind of its own. And every time Kell uses the magic to stay alive, it assumes a little more control over him.  There was no shortage of villains or danger in this story and it was absolutely thrilling. And it was all very dark which I LOVE. I honestly couldn't get enough.

Early into the story, Kell crosses paths with a lady thief from Grey London. Actually, she robs him and when Kell realizes it, he travels to her room to reclaim his belongings. One thing leads to another and all of a sudden Lila is tagging along, much to Kell's chagrin. But these two made an AWESOME pair. Lila was stubborn and hilarious and energetic. She was the perfect counterweight to Kell's more subdued, strictly-business personality. And her teasing him made me laugh out loud more than once (just check my GR status updates!). I loved them together!

There wasn't any romance but that was fine by me. There is the promise of romance to come.

Quite honestly, I thought this book was perfection and I didn't want it to end. I am so happy that there is a sequel because I am not ready to give up these characters or this world. And judging by that ending (which was phenomenal, by the way) there is a lot more excitement to come. I have some predictions and I can't wait to see if they come true.

In summary, you need this book in your life. Good news is, it releases tomorrow!

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