Review│A Darker Shade of Magic

a darker shade of magic

Author: V.E. Schwab // First published:  24th February 2015 // Genre: Fantasy / Young Adult
This edition: 400 pages, published in 2015 by Titan Books // Get it @TheBookDepository

Read in March 2015

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers: magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

My thoughts

Ok, so very unpopular opinion I’m guessing, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of this. I don’t know why, it had everything that I could love about a magic book, but I just didn’t connect.

My biggest concern with this thing is that I couldn’t keep my focus on it. I would read, and then realise that my mind had wandered off, thinking about something else entirely, and I had to go back a couple pages to know what was happening (I’m still not sure what happened to the rock if I’m honest).
I don’t understand it, because the story is solid, this is clearly the first book of a new series, and that’s okay, the characters were maybe a little underdeveloped, but I’m guessing we will learn a lot more about them in the future books, the magic system makes sense… There’s nothing inherently bad about this book — though <spoilers>killing off the villains in the first book of a series was a little weird</spoilers>.
And we don’t even know that much about Black London. The minute it was mentioned that there was a mysterious Black London that had been shut off, I immediately thought “Well, I know where this is going. Black London, here we come!”. And no. There’s the mention of it and a magical item that seem to come from there, but the main characters don’t go there. I was expecting an ending that would go a little bit like this: They finally breach the closed door to Black London, they find themselves there, they see something very shocking and unexpected, THE END. I guess this will be something for the later books. This also gave me the impression that the ending was intentionally “closed” so that if the book deal for a series didn’t go through, A Darker Shade of Magic could work as a stand-alone.

My rating:

I’ll give this 3/5 stars. I think there is potential for a good book series, but this one just didn’t grip me as much as I would have liked it to.
Plus, the Kindle edition is filled with typos, it was very distracting.

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