A Darker Shade of Magic

This is another book that I judged by its cover. I love the minimalistic/screenprint vibe and the design of the title as well. After picking it up, I went to the subjects on the Library of Congress page and saw “Magic–Fiction” and “Quantum Theory–Fiction”, and that was all I needed to check it out.

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is the first in her Darker Shades trilogy. This series is set where four different universes are layered one on top of another, joining at London, England. Kell, who is one of the most powerful sorcerers in the world, can travel from universe to universe, but only laterally. He is from “Red” London, which is where magic thrives. He can either go one way into “Gray”, which is our London, or if he goes the other way from Red, he can go to “White” and then “Black”. (So Black, White, Red, Gray). Black London is shut off because magic overran them and they had to cut it off to stop it from ruining the rest of the worlds. Delilah Bard, a thief from Gray London, joins Kell on his quest to return an artifact to Black London and save all of the worlds.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. Schwab writes engaging prose and the story is fairly fast-paced. I would have loved a dictionary and/or maps for reference, but that’s because I’m used to it, not because it’s necessary. I love the blend of science and fantasy, and I can’t wait to see where she goes with the rest of the trilogy.




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