Kell 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.
With A Conjuring of the Light being released, and also as a new fan of V.E. Schwab (her two other books I have read was Vicious and This Savage Song), I felt a need to read this book series because I have heard great things about and it definitely lived up to the hype.
What I love about her writing style is how descriptive everything is, every single word means something, and adds to the world building, in which multiple London exist, which is already a great concept in itself.
Kell, is a erand boy for the King and Queen of Red London, where magic is worshiped and has to travel between London’s in order to do so. It is while he is traveling through London’s he meets Lila, or becomes a victim on Lila’s theft, and then the two go on an adventure.
I love Kell and Lila, and what strikes me about V.E Schwab’s writing is how she writes characters interactions with each other, without having a romantic aspect seem forced. They also worked well together with Lila using her skills as thief and Kell using his skills with magic
A lot of the supporting characters are also great like, Prince Rhys, Kell’s “brother”. While Kell was adopted into the royal family, not much is given about his life before that. But Rhys and Kell’s relationship is also really well done, while we don’t see much of Rhys at least until towards the end of the book, but you still get a sense of their relationship throughout the book.
Another set of supporting are the villains, the Dane twins who are trying to take over all of the London’s with the use of a stone that both Lila and Kell has with them. They were great villains, even if they didn’t get as much development as they should have. But boy were they evil.
While the plot of the book is a slow burn, but it is a good slow burn which does a good job at developing the characters and the world around them and makes you care about what happens to the characters. The different London’s were very good and I want to see more of them.
In the end, A Darker Shade of Magic was a great first book in what hopefully will be a great series. As a fan of V.E. Schwab’s writing it always kept me wanting more and seeing how the story continues.