Saturday, August 12, 2017

Shades of Magic Series by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (Book 1)

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. 

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

3 Star Rating - Recommended Age:  14+
Each time I went to the bookstore I would see this book and think...hmmm...not liking the cover...might not be good.  Glad I finally decided to read this series.  And I read all 3 BACK to BACK!

As far as main characters go, Kell is intriguing and mysterious enough in the first few pages, that you won't stop reading.  Delilah is brash, violent, sassy and unapologetic about it.  But she's not like the regular smart mouthed leading female character that you quickly grow bored of.  She's unpredictable in some ways and not so smitten with Kell that she loses her sense of self or what she wants by the end of the first or second book.  Which is VERY refreshing.  Prince Rhy on the other hand is typical in his personality until the second book where he gains some dimension.  And he is bi!  How sexy does that play out in the book!!  

There's a whole host of secondary characters that grow on you.  V E Schwab's writing makes you connect to each one in some way, so they don't just fade in the background.

The 3 London world is o..k...  It's not developed in a way where you think "Ooohh, this is cool" and get caught up in the imagery, but I don't think it really needs to be for this story.  It gives a clear line for where things are happening, but I was always wondering what about Red Asia or Grey America?  Did all of the Black world go to hell or just London?  And what about Black London...I would have liked a little more suspense from that dimension since it was the only one to go dark.  The excitement grows with each book and the storyline becomes more intense.  NOT so engrossing that you can't put it down but I liked the characters so much I wanted to know what was going to happen next.  Who has secrets, who's going to betray who, will love win?  And there are secrets and endings we get hints of, but never full disclosure.  Some of the secondary character lines could have been developed more or ended properly.  All in all, I give this series a solid 3 because I enjoyed the characters and the plot was interesting.