(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, General, Historical
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—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, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, 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—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a 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—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.
Can someone please tell me why none of you told me to stop being an idiot and just read this book? I have had this one on my shelves for a months now… and there it sat, just staring at me but I never felt that urge… you know which one I’m talking about. That urge that says that even though you have piles of books everywhere you have to read this one immediately… this one should take precedence to all others. I will readily admit that 2015 was not my best year for losing myself in fantasy… I read less than 30 of them! But from now on I’m pretty sure I’ll have that drop everything urge about every V.E. Schwab book.
I am in love.
I am in love with the characters, the setting, the plot, the writing, the creativity… Lila & Kell. I want it all in my brain for always and reading this has skyrocketed A Gathering of Shadows to my ‘OMG I NEED IT NOW’ pile.
I mentioned Kell above and for good reason… he’s an amazing character who you’re going to find yourself entranced with. Despite his position with the royal family as Red Ambassador and his skill with magic, he still holds some anger and frustration about his life. He’s one of two people who have his magical abilities and while it provides him with respect, he finds it incredibly isolating and add to that the fact that he knows nothing about his life before he became a part of the royal family and things aren’t as perfect as they may seem.
I won’t rehash the plot here, but know that there are parallel universes, and magic and betrayal and a girl who has made her own way in the world always knowing that there was something more out there for her and a chance encounter with Kell proves her right. Aside from the thievery our heroine Lila Bard is the kind of girl that everyone should aspire to be – Imagine all the best adjectives you can come up with and they most likely apply to her. I loved her and her determination for something more!
“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
Schwab does an amazing job of building the fantasy world here… I mentioned parallel universes and the setting we get is London… The whys and the hows and all the explanation you’ll need to have it make sense is here and it’s understandable.
Like I said, I’m hoping that my email to TOR begging for the chance to get an early copy of the next book in this series doesn’t go unnoticed because I am incredibly excited to dive back into the streets of Red London via Schwab’s storytelling. If you have this book, go get it right now and start reading it. If you don’t own it, get it! I promise it’s an amazing, fantastical adventure you’ll absolutely want more of the minute you turn the last page.