Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Published: February 2015
Summary: Kell and his kind are a dying breed. Kell is one of the few souls who can travel between the Londons. His home is Red London, but his monarchs have him travel to White London and Grey London for diplomatic purposes. These Londons are very different from one another, although they mostly share the same map. These parallel universe cities have different approaches to magic and Kell will share this world with you. While stealing away from one world to another, he comes to find himself in a bit of a jam and has to rely on another to help him negotiate the precarious situation.
What I Am Recommending: V.E. Schwab has lived up to the lofty expectations I had for her after seeing her work all over bookstagram and booktube. Her writing is compelling and her world building is extensive. I absolutely loved the character of Kell as well as the other characters that become part of this magical story. While the scope of this world is large, I liked that Schwab created a manageable story that was well-paced. Sometimes I think fantasy stories are so epic and sweeping to a point of overdoing it. Often too many words and tangents are devoted to proving a point. I think V.E. Schwab balanced world-building and character development nicely with keeping a story on point and moving forward. I appreciated not having to devote myself to a tome for a fantasy book. This story is also narrated by another great character, Delila “Lila” Bard. Lila is a strong female character that can definitely save herself. She is tremendously likable and a great balance to Kell’s life. The way Kell and Lila meet and develop a friendship (is that the right word for their relationship?) feels very natural and how these two characters should interact with each other and get to trust one another. I will admit that it took me some time to read this book, especially in the beginning. There is a lot of development happening in the beginning and I was waiting for the story to take off, but still managed to enjoy the characters and the writing. The last third of the book I read in a day because I could not put it down! It turns into a page-turner and I have ordered the next book already. I am so happy this lived up to the hype!