„A Darker Shade of Magic“ by V. E. Schwab
There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III.
There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered.
Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…“
I liked a „Darker Shade of Magic“, I really did. But I can’t help but feel guilty saying that. Because the main reason I liked it, is because it felt soo much like Doctor Who. Like Matt’s Eleventh Doctor, and David’s Tenth, and Amy and Donna. And since they are all gone, and I do miss them, I needed this in my life.
It’s the little things, really. Because it is also very different from Doctor Who. Victoria Schwab herself describes it as „a strange little fantasy, [with] pirates, thieves, sadist kings, and violent magic-y stuff„. There were no pirates in this one, not yet. But there was magic, wonderful magic, and blood magic.
There actually is a lot of blood and bloody scenes in this one, so do keep that in mind if you are feeling odd about blood in books. But the blood magic is a magic system I really enjoyed. I’m fairly new to wizards and witches and magic, but I think „A Darker Shade of Magic“ is especially fantastic for people who want to venture into the fantasy genre for the first time. It’s not too difficult or mind bending, but still complex enough to keep you interested and guessing until the end.
As Athera. To grow. As Pyrata. To burn. As Illumae. To light. As Travars. To travel. As Orense. To open. As Anasae. To dispel. As Hasari. To heal.
The characters however, are the biggest problem for me in this book. Don’t get me wrong, Victoria Schwab is amazing at creating characters, and all of the bad guys send a chill down my spine just thinking about them, but the good guys… maybe it’s just me though. It’s kind of like with Doctor Who too.
Kell, the main character, is like the Doctor. He is lovable and charming, but does a lot of stupid things simply because he cares too much about other people. But you just have to love him, even if you don’t understand him. And then there is his companion, Lila in this book. I liked her alright, her big mouth and how brave and careless she was, when she put Kell into place, and saved him despite her better judgement. But I just really don’t understand her, or can relate to her at all.
If the next book in the series focuses only on her, and the pirate ship she sails off with, then I might not continue this series, it’s that bad and confusing. But I liked this book for all the reasons I love Doctor Who, an awesome main character who cares, the four Londons and how every single one of them still felt like London, the companion only as long as she is with the Doctor/Kell, the bad guys that give you nightmares, the settings you can only dream about. If the second book will be about pirates, I’m out. „A Darker Shade of Magic“ is still a good stand-alone read, there are no questions left unanswered.