So this review is rather late as I completed both of these books within the same week, a few weeks ago. A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book in the series by V.E.Schwab.
A Darker Shade of Magic focuses four existing parallel universes of London. Red London, where magic is thriving, White London, ruled by whoever murdered they way to the throne. Grey London, without magic, home to a mad King George III, and then there was once Black London, which destroyed itself for being too hungry for magic.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I do with any of V. E. Schwab’s novels.
The world building within this book is fantastic, it allows the reader to fully understand the world in which they have been thrown into and creates such beautiful imagery. The magic within this novel is unlike anything I have read before, although the only book concerning magic that I’ve read before has been the Harry Potter books, this series takes a completely different take on magic, which is refreshing and engaging throughout. It’s not the stereotypical wand waving magic, which I really enjoyed and allowed the reader to believe in the world a lot more. I find that one of V. E. Schwab’s strongest prose is the character building and the relationships between each character, are thoroughly thought through, the audience knows exactly what characters to enjoy and love, whilst also disagreeing and hating certain characters. My favourite character relationship is between Kell and his brother Rhy, but also Kell and Lila, the language used in the interactions between these characters is brilliant and believable, in some areas of the novel I found myself laughing at the conversations between said characters, because you really engage with these relationships, that the humour of the conversations between them is portrayed beautifully.
I found that the aspect of black magic within this book fascinating and such a brilliant edition to the overall story. Throughout the whole novel the reader can sense that the story is building up to a climatic point, and it’s as you read the last 100 pages, where the story comes together and forms a beautiful ending for the second book to begin. I was sitting on the edge of my seat throughout the last hundred pages because I just need to know what was going to happen.
Overall I thought this was a strong opening novel for the trilogy and I had to read the second book right away. I gave this book 4.5*
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still”
A Gathering of Shadows
The Second novel was as strong as the first, it continued with the story, but focused on an event known as the element games. where powerful magicians compete against one another by using the elements. This allowed for the magic within the novel to be further explained and for the reader to be able to fully grasp the concept of this magic, it was fantastic, I love how V. E. Schwab has taken this new take on magic, it works brilliantly within the world of this novel and keeps the story fascinating.
The story flicks between Kell and Lila because of going their separate ways, but later to be reunited due to the element games, which I really enjoyed, it kept the novel fast-paced and always engaging.
I loved how as a reader you think you knew the characters you were reading about, only to find out new and interesting information about them, that allows for them to grow even further. Along with the relationship between Kell and Lila is further hinted at which I really enjoyed because I thought they really worked well together as characters. In this book compared to the first Black London is introduced, whereas in the first it was hinted at and mentioned but see a glimpse of the world and how it destroyed itself for being too hungry for magic, I really loved how Black London was brought into this novel, I was excited to see how it would be talked about and described and I wasn’t disappointed. And of course, this book had to end on the dreaded cliffhanger! Although I’m not disappointed by that I just can’t wait for the last instalment of this series, I’m really excited to see how it’s going to be concluded. I gave this book 4.5*