[520]: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab


GOODREADS SUMMARY | Tor Books | Hardcover, 400 pp. | February 24th, 2015 | Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Rating 4 out of 5 Stars

Victoria Schwab is one of those authors who consistently makes book reviewing a difficult job. For one, I have a hard time explaining exactly what it was I just read. And two, I always fall short of adjectives; three, I have a tendency of repeating myself. More often, she confounds me. She has the gift of hypnosis; the kind that would make you fall in love with story elements that you normally wouldn’t. To be honest, the narrative is pretty dry. But I can’t help but enjoy her characters’ trains of thought. Or her train of thought, by extension. Also, I need romance, all right? I need it  like I need a semi colon in a sentence that I’m powerless to end.  This is her second book that didn’t offer a smidgeon of swoon. But for some asinine reason, I dug it.

For those of you who haven’t read this book yet, I will not bore you with what the story was about. Besides, I don’t freaking know where to start.

As you can tell from the title, this book is about magic. I know what you’re thinking. Magic is not exactly a novelty nowadays. But if you’ve ever considered reading this book with every expectations of applying what you’ve read about magic in the past, I’ll say, you’ll be sorely disappointed. More than likely, you’ll be lost. Because this magic is a different beast altogether. Schwab grabbed it by her hands and beat it like it owes her money.

In this world, London is a city that exists in parallel dimensions. They are classified according to colours: Red London, Grey London, White London, and Black London. Each dimension increasingly more perilous than the last. Not a lot of people can travel through these universes. Kell is one of the last Travelers. Because of this ability, he can smuggle goods from one London to another. It is during one of his missions that he was charged with treason.

Kell is one of those closed-off characters. You never really get to know him other than what the author tells us. I mean, I know that’s how characters are made, but in Kell’s case, it’s like you can feel he doesn’t want to tell you much. It’s almost like he resents Schwab for sharing pieces of himself. In a way, Lila is about the same, but where Kell is resolute, Lila at least  humours the readers.  They’re a quirky couple, but don’t get your hopes up. No floating hearts above their heads, I’m afraid.

A Darker Shade of Magic is probably not going to amuse the majority, but if you’re looking for an extraordinary novel about an extraordinary world, look no further than this book. Victoria Schwab  is a fantastic story spinner. Her characters are every bit as compelling as her intricate storyline.