Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

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A Darker Shade final for Irene

Goodreads Summary:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I enjoyed this a lot. It wasn’t one of those suck you in instantly and demands not to be put down books, but a slow burn. It sticks with you, gets under your skin.

The idea as a whole I thought was so creative and well executed. Each London is so specific and easy to identify, but there are also consistancies that anchor you. I also loved the two main characters and their relationship.They become unwilling allies, but they bond through their shared experiences and mutual respect of one another. I can’t wait to see what’s in the future for these two. They make a fierce pair and I love the budding romantic feelings they are showing.

However, I loved that their relationship didn’t become romantic. It’s such a fast paced story, largely happening over one day, that it would have felt rushed and forced. They still don’t really know each other. And the fact that Rhy, Kells ‘brother’ is the one driving the emotional plot of the story I thought was fantastic. Romantic love is not the only kind of love there is, or the only reason for big actions, and I really appreciated how this story took that idea on.

I can’t wait for the next book. I feel like there isn’t much that can be continued from this particular story, but I’m sure Black and Grey London still have sparks of conflict waiting to ignite. And I really want to see how Lila develops, and how she and Kell’s relationship moves forward.

Another great series from a great author.

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