“Lila Bard knew in her bones that she was meant to be a pirate.”

22055262What is this book about?

London being magical! We have Grey London, Red London, White London and Black London, all typographical anomalies, somehow being in the exact same spot in every parallel world. We follow Kel, who is one of the last remaining Antari, someone who can pass between the invisible walls that separate the Londons. Red and White London are still full of magic, Black London is sealed off and scary, while Grey London is closer to our world, being without magic but luckily with Delilah. She’s a young girl living on the street, a thief and a cross-dressing wannabe pirate. She meets Kel when a mysterious object from Black London falls into his hands and together they need to across the worlds to make sure it doesn’t fall into the hands of the evil rulers of White London.

Why is it boring?

This book has magic, the great city of London, awesome main characters, a coat I want more than anything and the promise of there being something more behind our own grey world. That can’t be boring. If you don’t like believing in magic though, you will be bored, but that is more on you than it is on this book.

Who would you recommend it to?

Although Schwab writes YA (as Victoria instead of V.E.) A Darker Shade of Magic is not a YA novel. In style and crazy-good world building it reminded me more of The Magicians. The book deals with magic in a more mature way and even though it has young characters, they do not act or sound like YA character often do.  So a long-winded way of recommending this book to people who like fantasy and magic, but don’t want a lot of romance and teenage angst mugging up the place.

Why should I read it if it’s boring?!

It’s been a while since I got really excited about a series. After finishing this book, I immediately bought Schwab’s other adult novel Vicious and put the second volume of this series on my wish-list. I just love the voice of this series. It’s serious, but also knows when to crack a joke and when to be witty. Kel and Lilah are great protagonists, with Kel being the more serious one and Lilah bringing the fun. She’s fearless, up for anything and always looking for bigger and better things. The world Schwab build for the series is expansive, with specific languages for each London and vivid images of what the other colored Londons look like. If only this was one of those books that comes with a map. That might be the only thing that would have made me even happier. The other characters are all strange and intriguing in their own wonderful way. The sexually deviant and charming prince from Red London is fun and a train wreck waiting to happen, while I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen the last of other Antari Holland from the White world.  This book is clever and I can’t wait to see what Schwab does with the world and the crazy people in it. So if you like smart books about fantasy that will have reading late into the night, definitely pick this one up. I already regret not buying the hardcover version, because owning this series is something I’m going to be very happy about.

Rating: 4,5/5

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Esmée de Heer is head honcho over at the Bored to Death book club website, writing the daily content and making sure the site stays up and running. She's one of the founding sisters of the book club and enjoys reading and giving unsolicited love advice.

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