A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
V. E. Schwab
Tor Books | February 24, 2015
      Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
      Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
      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.
      After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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.

I read a couple of pages of ADSOM two years ago, but I couldn't get into it because it was confusing. After reading and loving Vicious, I decided to retry and buy ADSOM, hoping that purchasing it would be an "incentive" to finish it. I have never read a book, by myself, as slow as I did with this book. I made a lot of progress at first, but I took a long break towards the end of the book. I was also really excited and into the book, but those feelings died down at the end. This is not because I disliked the book, I just didn't feel like reading - I haven't felt like reading lately. 

I encountered the same problem this time around: confusion. I think this is normal when reading books with new worlds / high fantasy. It takes time to adjust, and Schwab helps us acclimate to the best of her abilities. It's a little slow too, but the future action balances it out. I love the concept of four Londons because I enjoy reading about parallel universes-they're fascinating. In this novel, the worlds are like an experiment to see how places develop without contact from each other - a social and evolutionary experiment. Not only, does Schwab create a new world and magic system, she also establishes a new language, which is ambitious and praiseworthy.

The plot is slow in the beginning because of all the introductions. Readers have to understand Kell, his, job, his relations, etc. Once the foundation is laid, the plot picks up. The plot isn't that exciting, restore the balance of magic to protect loved ones. There are elements that put a spin on the plot, but it is, nonetheless, the same plot. The saving graces of this novel are the action, the lack of romance, and absorbing characters. Athos and Astrid Dane are disturbing villains that drove the plot. Their perverse minds, molded by their home, are power hungry and ruthless. That twisted blood scene is ingrained inside my mind.

After the initial confusion, I am still confused, not confused with the plot this time. Why are there sequels? I think the way this books ended was great; there wasn't a cliff-hanger, so you're dragging the story out at this point. 

A tad over-hyped, but I understand why people love it so much: original, great writing, no romance. But, I will not be continuing this series. 


  1. To be honest, I don't get why it's a series either. I think one book would have been perfectly fine. I read this one a few months ago and honestly didn't enjoy it a lot.
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way. Everyone is a die-hard fan for this series.


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