A Darker Shade of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic

Book - 2015
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"From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell is one of the last Travelers--magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes--as such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne--a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, 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 the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see--a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a 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--and that is proving trickier than they hoped. "--
Publisher: New York :, Tor,, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780765376459
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: 400 pages ;,22 cm


From Library Staff

Choosing just one book to recommend for the Assassin’s Creed series was a difficult task; the games span five continents and over 2000 years of history. So how about a book with four different dimensions, swashbuckling pirates, and a dashing rogue with the rare ability to traverse between worlds?... Read More »

List - Red Queen
cmlibrary_lcarroll Apr 07, 2017

Wannabe pirates, magic stones, and an impeccably stylish coat – this novel is a treat!

Epic fantasy usually covers kingdoms; urban fantasy usually hunkers down in town. This book is unique, staying in London - just not ONE London. The characters are amazing, and the book is well written. Our London is the gray, boring one, of course - but at least it's not the terrifying white one.

From the critics

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TSCPL_Miranda Jul 01, 2019

There are four worlds, and a place called London exists in the same spot in each of them--Gray London (mostly bereft of magic), White London (ruled by a cruel pair of twins, magic and might make right), Red London (magic is revered and the land is ruled by a monarchy), and Black London (bad magic). Doors between the worlds used to allow travel, but now they are closed and only rare individuals, Antari, can pass through. Kell is Antari, born with one eye solid black, and he's been targeted by a powerful evil because of what he can do.
Delilah Bard is a thief living in gray London, stealing coins and trying to save up to get herself out. She's strong, smart, and utterly trapped in a grim life. One night she steals from the wrong person, and her destiny collides with Kell's. Together, the two will fight against the evil that threatens all four Londons, and everyone living there.
Schwab's world building is excellent, and Delilah Bard is a fantastic character. I'm so glad that this is a trilogy, because my only complaint is that I didn't get to see enough of the world, or learn enough about the characters. I'm looking forward to reading more!

ArapahoeTiegan Apr 28, 2019

I was intrigued by the idea of 4 parallel Londons that reside in 4 very different worlds with London being the only city named the same, even if the country London is in is named differently. I was also intrigued by the idea of Black London having fallen and the other Londons having closed themselves off from each other as a result. However, the danger that was presented in the story as a source of plot was semi-lacking. I felt like I would have rather read more about the different worlds and their cultures. There wasn't near enough of that for me. I also wished there had more of the history of magic, an explanation of how it works. But learning that V.E. Schwab also writes YA as Victoria Schwab, makes the holes make a bit more sense to me. This would not be a bad YA crossover. It is also nice that this first book in a trilogy could stand on its own. There are still some questions to answer, but one does not need to read book two if they don't want to, there were enough loose ends tied up that this book on its own was satisfying.

ReadingAdviser_leni Feb 21, 2019

Wow! Just wow! Loved this! I am totally going to re-read it before I continue in the series. There was just so much going on that I'm sure I missed things.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 31, 2019

​This one has been on my to-read pile for a pile, and I'm so glad I finally got around to it. I love the fictional world Schwab created here -- this book is the first in a trilogy, and each volume delves deeper into this fantasy version of London, and also offers incredibly nuanced layers of character development. There are not one but TWO romantic subplots that are really great and in which I got incredibly emotionally invested, and this has definitely motivated me to check out more of V.E. Schwab's books.

IndyPL_ShelbyP Dec 05, 2018

Wow this is a really creative setting! I was intrigued the entire time about the magic and the inter-dimensional travel throughout this book. The characters and the plot was exciting to read and I already have some theories about what the next books will have in store. Can't wait to get them on hold!

Hillsboro_BrianS Oct 30, 2018

Thrill-a-minute magic and swashbuckling adventure set in not one, not two, but THREE richly imagined, alternate-reality Londons. If Dickens and Tolkien had collaborated on an episode of Doctor Who, it might have looked a little something like A Darker Shade of Magic.

Jun 16, 2018

I enjoyed this book of magic and adventure. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy story, if you can put up with the author's writing style. The rest of the series is not as good.

Apr 09, 2018

I really enjoyed this book. It’s well written, and the rules of the world work really well. I love the idea of multiple Londons. If you like fantasy, I recommend it.

Mar 22, 2018

I don’t usually like fantasy novels, but I picked up this book anyways. (the cover art attracted me if I’m being honest.) As soon as I started reading, I was pulled into this massive world. There is so much detail that you can clearly picture the scene in your mind. Sometimes, however, it felt like the detail dragged on just a bit too long, but perhaps the detail was necessary. The characters are easily loveable and relatable, and you find yourself rooting for them from the beginning. The story is so unique and interesting, and has a great blend of politics, fantasy, and danger. High hopes for the rest of the series! Rating: 4/5
- @mae of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

ArapahoeStaff11 Feb 11, 2018

Excellent world building in this thrilling fantasy about a young magician. Great set-up for the rest of the series!

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Add Age Suitability
Jun 16, 2018

rapunzel454 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Oct 15, 2017

humbleworm thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Nov 13, 2016

PayetteStAmour thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Feb 06, 2016

mariahnightfire thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Nov 16, 2015

Pipthekat thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

DreamerDreamsOn Jul 28, 2015

DreamerDreamsOn thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


Add Notices
Nov 13, 2016

Other: There is an attempted rape scene early on in the novel.

Nov 13, 2016

Frightening or Intense Scenes: People being turned into monsters, the main villains torture multiple characters throughout the book.

Nov 13, 2016

Sexual Content: There is a vaguely detailed sex scene.

Nov 13, 2016

Violence: Several fight scenes, a lot of death.

Nov 13, 2016

Coarse Language: Several curse words are used throughout, including the f-word.

mvkramer Apr 28, 2016

Violence: Torture, magic battles, and lots of stabby-stabby.


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