Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Published by Tor Books on February 24, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Amazon • Book Depository •
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.
HELLO HELLO! Welcome to RE(A)D LONDON.
Yeah. I’m punny like that. BASICALLY, I LOVED THIS BOOK. Loved. So I’m SO FREAKING HAPPY to be on this blog tour (and sorted into Red London. Magic y’all. It’s in my veins.) Here are a few fun links to get you in the Shady Mood:
After my fun stuff, I’ve got a review and a giveaway so stay tuned for that. (Or. Y’know. Just scroll.)
In both The Archived and A Darker Shade of Magic series, doors seem to have a significant purpose in the world/plot. Was this intentional–and if so, why?
I don’t know exactly what it is, but doors are actually a part of every single project I’ve ever written. My very first book, which sits in a drawer, was about a twelve-year-old girl who walks past an empty lot where a house has been knocked down, and the only thing that’s still standing is the front door, and she begins to wonder where it leads. I’ve always been fascinated by doors, both physical and metaphorical. VICIOUS is, after all, about the threshold between life and death, and with ADSOM I guess I wanted to go back to that physical idea of doors, this time between worlds.
Having been a fan of Schwab’s YA works, the Archived and The Unbound (honestly, who doesn’t love those books. They’re so freaking fantastic.) and after hearing all the ravings and rants of several blogger friends, I had unbelievably high expectations for A Darker Shade of Magic. Ignoring the fact, of course, that I’d rarely read Adult novels before this one, I fully expected to adore this one as much as I did her YA stories.
Holy shit, did I ever.
Schwab is a genius with her worlds. From the history to the magic to the simple elegance (deadly or not) of each world, everything was absolutely stunning. Each London was so distinguished in their culture and their atmosphere that it was easy to tell where each setting was just from reading a paragraph or two. They each had their own features and I just find it unbelievable that Schwab wrote not one, not two, but three separate worlds (not to mention writing in our real-life London.) The gritty and muted roads of Grey London to the red river Thames and Red London’s high fantasy-esque world to the cold terror of White London, everything was so beautifully designed.
Including, of course, the characters. Rhy and Kell and Lila and Athos and Astrid and Holland. All these characters were showed throughout the book and I loved all of them. Athos and Astrid, I kind of just loved to hate. As rulers of the White London, they were…bloodthirsty. Bloodthirsty, and certifiably insane. But they did evil so well. By far, two of the most cutthroat characters I’ve seen. (And the idea of twins ruling a kingdom is just plain cool.)
Kell was just awesome. He was badass and loyal and had a sense of duty that’s pretty much everything we look for in a hero. If I were to write down all his qualities, he would seem like your normal clean-cut hero, but there’s just something about the way he’s written that was just amazing.
Lila was badass. There’s no other way to describe her. She and I got off on a rocky start, but she quickly grew on me and I adored her by the end. I’m not sure if I’d trust her, but I mean. She’d be a cool friend to have.
*Note: There wasn’t a romance between Lila and Kell, but I ship them. Hard.
Then the plot. Everything was so darkly and richly intriguing, it was hard not to get absolutely sucked into the world. There were a lot of elements of things that go bump in the night and, to be honest, as I was reading I was anxious the entire time. I spent two hours hunched over a barstool reading this because I couldn’t get enough of it. It was worth every back ache the next day. View Spoiler »
The story is whimsical and cutthroat and simply unbelievable. Schwab has a way with words that I doubt I’ll ever get over. At this point, I will give her my left arm, both legs, and maybe even my soul to read everything she’s written and will ever write. Yes, that does include her grocery list.
Guys, there were languages. Schwab created languages for her worlds. And didn’t make them sound absolutely ridiculous which is actually quite a feat. Gahhhhhh, I love this world. As Herena me book two, please.
P.S. Victoria has kind of a signature with her books, doesn’t she? With doors? Doors always seem to have a rather large part in her stories, and I really kind of love that.