Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Title:  A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab

Rating 3/5 

Synopsis(from Amazon) 

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 Rhys Maresh, the rougish 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 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.

Warning: There will be some spoilers ahead.


This book…perplexes me. There are so many elements that are exactly what I want in a book.  Magic, humor, secrets to unfold…The plot moves at a pace that isn’t snail-like in its nature…

But I didn’t love it.

I mean, it’s fine. I will read the next one and probably the one after that. But where I feel I should have felt compelled to keep reading, like when a character dies or when they are in the midst of hitting the novel’s climax…I couldn’t be bothered to keep reading. Where I should have been anxious to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next, I just wasn’t.

I wanted to be. I did want to know what happened next. I just didn’t care when or how I found out.

The bones are there. It was a compelling plot but it wasn’t written compellingly.

At least not for me. I know this book is loved and I can see why. I just didn’t love it. I liked it, and there are enough mysteries and theories I have about Delilah Bard that I will keep reading. But I’m not in a rush to read them immediately. I’ll read them when I read them. I bought the second one but I haven’t decided if it is the next book I’m going to read yet.-