January 5 2021
A darker shade of magic, by VE Schwab
I read my first book by VE Schwab last year – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was one of my top 5 books of 2020, and is a beautifully written wonder of an urban fantasy that captured my heart. I went into A Darker Shade of Magic cautiously optimistic, because it’s had such good reviews, and wow- it did not disappoint.
Kell is a traveller – a magician with the rare ability to travel between the parallel universes linked by the common geography of London. But whilst the city itself is the same in each of the worlds, there is nothing else familiar, and Red, Grey and White London are all living under different reigns with wildly varying relationships with magic, freedom and power. And then there’s Lila – a pickpocket trying to forge a better life for herself in Grey London, where magic doesn’t exist. But fate – and a special rock – bring Lila and Kell together.
This book is fantastic. Sharp and elegantly written prose, with a unique take on magic that I can’t wait to learn more about. And luckily, it’s book 1 in a series, so guess who has two thumbs and just ordered the rest of it? I’m usually frustrated by the ending of books that are obviously the first in a series, but I have to say I found this one immensely satisfying – I definitely want to know what happens next, and to hopefully catch a glimpse of Black London, mentioned in this book in hushed tones as being sealed off from all the others after magic got out of control – which immediately makes me want to visit, from the safety of the other side of the page, of course!
Content warnings: abuse, torture, control and compulsion/ loss of bodily autonomy.
My second book for the year, and my second 5 star read.