Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, Book 1)
Author: V.E. Schwab
Published: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
In a world of parallel universes, there is one constant: London. Though every world is very different, they all have a city named London in the same place and it serves as the loose thread that holds them all together. And the thread is loose because there are only a few who can travel between them. Kell is one such Traveler, and has become the ambassador (and an adoptee) of the royalty of Red London to carry correspondence back and forth with Grey London and White London. But on his visits, Kell engages in a hobby of smuggling artifacts back and forth, despite the objections and warnings of his adopted brother. But neither of them know the true extent of the trouble Kell might wade into without even thinking…
I have to start by saying I LOVED THIS. A high fantasy filled with magic, intrigue, royalty, and betrayal? Sign me up over and over again. But more than that, Schwab has created a world that is well-developed and has that ring of truth that is so important when writing speculative fiction of any kind. The complexity of the characters and the relationship dynamics are just as important to the story as the world serving as the backdrop, and there are no disappointments there, either.
I highly, highly recommend this to anyone who has even the slightest interest in fantasy. I think it’s a fair bet you will not be disappointed.