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. – Goodreads
I love Victoria Schwab’s stories. She is hands down one of the best world building authors I know of, I have never been disappointed in her world building. If anything she helped turn me into a bit of a fantasy fan, but of course that being said, I’m still not completely sold on fantasy (AND I WANT TO BE!)
A Darker Shade of Magic did help encourage my love of fantasy because of Kell. Kell is one of the last Travelers, a rare magician of sorts who can visit parallel Londons. I loved the parallel Londons! I loved that they were four distinct cities and never once did I have to flip back to verify what world I was in. What is also clear from the beginning is that Kell lives a dangerous life, with a very dangerous hobby. What Kell doesn’t expect is to run into Delilah. Delilah is a hard ass who takes no shit. My love of Kell was only out ranked by my love of Delilah, a character who scares me, but who I also wouldn’t mind being friends with. The fact she was able to weave these characters together and I was drawn in is a testament to Schwab’s world building skill.
My favorite thing about Schwab’s writing is the fact I can constantly get lost in it. I started this book on the plane from Chicago to Phoenix, shocked not only by the fact I was able to get out of Chicago during some of the biggest snowfall on record, but also the fact that I read 90 pages of this book without blinking, while sitting between a husband and wife. (Please note, I was so glad to be getting out of the state of Illinois I had no problem sitting between a husband and wife, who were hilarious).
The good thing about A Darker Shade of Magic is I read the first 90 pages of this book in about an hour, the bad news is that the rest of the book took me forever. I do not blame Schwab, she didn’t change. I did and while I still enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic, I do wish I would have finished it on the plane because I believed I would have loved this book completely differently. But I would be happy to pick up the next book in the series.