Monday, May 11, 2015

Time to Talkback: Review on A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

The Authors had their time to talk now it's Time to Talkback. This gives me the chance to review the book or books I have been reading. Now I'm all for a honest review and at times I can be a bit harsh with some of the judgements I voice, as far as book go. But it has nothing to do with the author(s) for without them what would my imagination be (goodness help us all). It is just my own opinion, constructive criticism (I say) and I just want to state it as so many of us sometimes do. Good or Bad, I am always thankful for the books I read and the author(s) who wrote them. So, welcome to Talkback and here to a honest review.

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Adult
Genre Type: Fantasy
Publication date: February 24th 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Format: Hardcover
Pages:  400 pages
Source: Books-a-Million
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Victoria Schwab does it again in her beautiful creation of A Darker Shade of Magic. Schwab has such a wonderful talent for creating worlds, and there is no exception when it comes to this story as well. From the smoked filled streets of Grey London to the vivid rich magical filled Red London and on to the the ash, cold, painful filled White London, Schwab constructs a place of vivid detail in this book.

Three different Londons. There were four once. The doors between them were open...that's it, until Black London crumbled on itself, and the magic destroyed the city like a plague. Because of that Red London sealed the doors, leaving White London to fight the magic on its own.Now only the Antari, can move between these worlds, by opening portals using their own blood.

Kell is an Antari, one of only two, and he moves through the worlds as he works for the royal family in Red London. That's until he stumbles upon something and someone. Something that might be connected to Black London and someone just happens to be Delilah Bard, a thief, a Grey lander, and someone that has her own agenda. Together the are forced to team up to fight their was to black London and destroy this something but will White London and its twin Royals and the other Antari let them.

In combination with morally ambiguous characters, downright epic world-building and a thrilling plot this quest of fighting through each world to destroy an object from Black London produces a mind-blowing experience. The plot progressed rather slowly at first, not that I minded, but as soon as the point of no return was reached the pace of the plot had my mind reeling at times. Great and terrible and heart-wrenching things happened, this book did certainly not lack bloodshed and violence. In fact there was a lot of it and in that sense it was more than just adult.

The author somehow managed to create three completely unique and unmistakable cities that had very different atmospheres and histories and solutions for the problems that the magic brought upon them. Grey London, with no magic at all, was the one that came closest to the real world that we are living in. Red London, the one where people can and do wield different kinds of magic and where our protagonist Kell is from, was a mesmerizing place. It was a colorful and seemed the shine with a light of its own. White London, where magic is used like a weapon and weapon only, had an ominous feeling about it. Despite the seemingly innocent color it was the London that frightened me out most. Its inhabitants committed odious crimes in order to survive, in order to keep the magic and the power. And then there was Black London, a city out of dark fairy tales to frighten children at night, consumed by magic, unearthly and dark.

And what blew my mind even more was how well Kell fit in. He was able to adapt to every single city he found himself in. There was a strange calm about this character, yet he managed to be fierce and unyielding, everything put into one. He was an insightful protagonist, and his inner growth and development thorough the book was help show how the plot was truly developing.

However the cross-dressing, aspiring pirate named Lila Bard was even better. What I loved most about her was how independent and strong she was in every sense that was right, a well and truly strong female lead. From the very beginning Lila was full of surprises and thankfully she was as far from damsel-in-distress and never having to be saved by a male. Besides, she had the best lines and all humor that there could be found came from her. Lila was badass and in her thirst for adventure she was willed to do a lot, if not everything, only to get what she wants. Both Kell and Lila were imperfectly perfect protagonists and albeit their alliance started out rather shaky and distrustful, it soon developed into something akin to companionship or maybe even friendship. No love-triangle, no romance.

The villains were insane, ruthless, and sinister. Cunning and brilliant. It does not happen very often that characters freak me out, but in this case I shuddered every time Holland or the Dane twins appeared. Holland was in a way much worse than the twins, they were openly evil while Holland felt like hollow-evil, somebody ready to do well and truly everything in order to get what he wants. White London literally screamed at me - mental instability but the twins took insanity and pleasure in pain on a whole new level for me.

All in all, a wonderful book full of magic and adventure and darkness. It had everything I wished for and more. Highly recommended both to Schwab fans and people who simply like Fantasy. I think everyone should give this book a chance

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