A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Narrator: Steven Crossley
Audio Book Provider: Audible
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Release Date: April 21st 2015
Total Length: 11 hours 34 mins
Audible Link: A Darker Shade of Magic
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“You are either magic’s master, or its slave.”
I had first heard about A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab at the beginning of this year and I remember the hype that surrounded it quite vividly. I had never read anything by V.E. Schwab before, but so many readers seemed to be utterly in love with her and her writing. A Darker Shade of Magic had been on my “to-read” list for quite some time, but it wasn’t until it showed up as the Daily Deal on Audible that I finally decided to get my own copy and finally read/listen to it.
Going in to A Darker Shade of Magic, I knew that the story revolved around the life of a magician of sorts, who is able to travel to and from multiple versions of London in very different alternate universes. There is Red London, White London, Grey London and Black London, all of which are very different from one another.
A Darker Shade of Magic follows the life of Kell, a rare magician known as Antari, of which there are only two left in all of the Londons. Kell considers his home to be Red London in which he lives with the King and Queen as well as their son, Prince Rhy whom Kell considers his brother. Kell and Holland, the other Antari, are the only beings that can cross from one alternate London to the next.
The worlds within this story are well thought out and feel very unique and interesting. I loved the idea of alternate universes and how different a city could be depending on which universe you are in. Grey London is the London that we know of right now in our current timeline filled with humans and magic is non-existent, where as Red London and White London both contain different levels of magic and magical beings living alongside humans that have no magical power whatsoever. Then there is Black London, the opposite of Grey London as it is a purely magical world. Having these four worlds and having a character that can jump from one to the next is a very interesting and complicated concept. It is obvious that V.E. Schwab spent a lot of time developing each world and she has done a superb job.
On top of multiple well written worlds, V.E. Schwab has created multiple well written characters. I absolutely loved Kell. He seemed very humble and didn’t flaunt his magic or act like he was above anyone else. Between him and Holland, Kell seems as though he has a good head on his shoulders while Holland may have a chip on his. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Delilah or Lilah at first. She annoyed me a little as she whined a lot and was very stubborn. I believe she annoyed me more by listening to the audiobook rather than if I had read a physical copy of the book. The way her character was presented by the narrator may have thrown me off a little. Her character did grow on me towards the middle and the end of the story however.
That being said, I think parts of this story as an audiobook were a little over the top and over preformed by the narrator, Steven Crossley. There was just something about the way that he read the characters voices that kind of threw me off, but he did do a great job in reading descriptions and actions. He also did a great job in differentiating his voice when performing as different characters. I never once became confused as to which character was speaking.
The story itself started out a little confusing at first as it kept jumping from one character’s story to another. At first, some of the different points of view felt a little random, but I kept my hopes up in that they would all somehow connect before the story was over. And that they did! Everything came together in a tightly woven and intricate story.
A Darker Shade of Magic didn’t end with an extreme cliffhanger per-se, but it did leave an opening for a continuation of the story. In fact, there will be a sequel that will be released early next year! Although it didn’t have a shocking ending that has me on the edge of my seat begging for more, I am still intrigued as to what the sequel has to offer!
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