Rating 4.5 Stars
Shades of Magic #1
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once 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 royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘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—trickier than they hoped.
As I was reading I feel like I couldn’t get enough of Schwab’s writing, she rendered the world beautifully.
I basically loved everything about this novel, every character stood out in their own different way, and it’s positive to say that my favorite one was Lila. What can I say? I’m sucker for sassy female characters. The magic system was on point for me, it was more of a traditional system, but the author made sure it wasn’t simplistic, and perfectly understandable.
However, this novel was so hard to get into, not because of the world building, or the story, but because the pace of the plot picked up reaching the half of the novel, it progressively picked up from there, but it was too late for me, I wished we could have seen more of the characters’ backstory (which hinted to be very interesting) but I guess she’s leaving material to work with in the sequels, so that makes them very promising.
I would recommend this book for sure, I loved the fantastical aspects, the main characters were charming, and the antagonists kind of absorbing. The whole different Londons is nothing I’ve seen before – I liked the way Kell explained it, each London was on top of each other and you had to go through one London to access the other. The very detailed writing worked perfectly with the atmosphere of the book; each and every detail made this novel enticing for the reader.
About The Author
I am the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, I have been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. I also suffer from a wicked case of wanderlust, made worse by the fact that wandering is a good way to stir up stories. When I’m not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, I’m usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.
Other Books by V. E. Schwab