Wednesday, April 15, 2015

10 Things I Loved About A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

There are three Londons. Well, four if you count the one that has been cut off because of the dangerous magic. And Kell is one of only two Travellers who can cross between the worlds. His home is in Red London where he serves the royal family, carrying letters to the rulers of the other Londons. Grey London is dreary and nearly magic-less, yet intriguing despite, or perhaps even because of this. White London is ruled by those who have fought their way to power. And everyone wants a piece of the Travellers. When Kell is betrayed he finds himself forced to band together with aspiring pirate, Lila, when their worlds collide. They're both in danger and they'll need each other if they want to survive - though that might be a lot harder than it sounds.

You can check out Victoria Schwab's website, follow her on Twitter (where she is frequently hilarious), watch her on YouTube, or see what she's posting on Tumblr.

And now, here are my 10 (non-spoilery) things I loved about A Darker Shade of Magic:

  1. The Premise - There are overlapping worlds that are uniquely different yet have select similarities and crossing points? There is magic and only a couple of people whose, well, basically DNA but not passed down genetically, allows them to cross between these worlds? There is a London that has been closed off because magic became chaos and corrupted it? There are crazy rulers and shapeshifters and cross-dressing aspiring pirates? Um yes please, I would like them all.
  2. Kell's Coat - I wants it. This coat turns inside out into dozens of different coats. EACH WITH THEIR OWN POCKETS. Seriously people, let's figure out how to make this. I suppose we'd need magic for that, though. Too bad we live in grey London.
  3. Lila - She is undoubtedly my favorite character. Here is a female with AGENCY people. She knows what she wants and she goes after it. She is occasionally rescued, but she also does the rescuing sometimes. She wants to own a pirate ship. There's some major cool factor right there. She can be selfish, but she also cares. I want more Lila.
  4. Kell - He's dealing with a lot. He's somehow strong and vulnerable and caring yet tough. His upbringing has been both an asset and a liability when dealing with others. I think my favorite part of his character was his penchant for smuggling little objects and artifacts like music boxes.
  5. Barron - He's really the only secondary character that I felt any connection with. I loved his relationship with Lila. And I wish there could have been more of him.
  6. Creepy Villains - especially the twins. Total creep factor there. And don't even get me started on the black magical goo - that sounds really lame, but it's absolute creep-fest in the book.
  7. The World - It's hard enough to develop one new world, but to build three of them? And, if I'm reading the signs right, a fourth for the next book? That's crazy pants. And Schwab pulls it off. And she pulls it off well. Each London is markedly distinct, not only because of the variations of magic ability, but in culture, political make up, architecture, etc. Really well done. Kudos.
  8. Magic Rules - Anytime there is magic in a book there have to be rules as to how that magic works. And it's really obvious when this isn't well thought out. Here, it is. Very well thought out. With specific rules, balances, consequences. I'm really looking forward to seeing this developed even more in the next book.
  9. More Books - Oh yes. She is working on ADSOM2 and I am super excited because I want to know what happens next.
  10. Cliffhanger but Not - So there is definitely a conclusion to this book. The story wraps up. BUT there are plenty of threads left floating and some unanswered questions. Some very big unanswered questions. And plenty of material for another book. So yay! Something to look forward to!

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