Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
I’m a sucker for magic, so naturally, I loved this!
People have said it was slow to start, but I didn’t find that at all; reading about all the different London’s and worlds intrigued me from the offset, and I just flew through this book! I’m excited to read the next two instalments to the series now, especially to follow more of Lila’s story – she’s by far my favourite character (super badass female who doesn’t take any sh** from anyone!)
The trouble with books about magic, is that they’re now pretty much always going to be compared to Harry Potter in one way or another. What I enjoyed most about this book is that the Magic is totally different to the spells we all know so well from Hogwarts and the like. There are no wands or “silly incantations” – the magic comes from within, like a source at the centre of the earth that must be summoned. And the Magic itself materialises in the control of the elements: earth, water, fire and, the most dangerous of all, bone. For this reason, this book shouldn’t be compared to Harry Potter. Whilst the Magic is there, and is enjoyable in the sense that it takes me back to my childhood of wanting to be Hermione Granger (ahem), I never once found myself picking fault and referring back to HP. I loved this book for it’s own reasons.
This book was exciting, gripping and daring – none of it “beat around the bush” so to speak. I feel like I know enough about the characters to connect with them, but then not too much to make the next books boring – there’s still more to be discovered, which excites me.
Now, to decide on my favourite London… it should be easy!
Grey London is, I imagine, based around the real London of today – I live here, so I guess that’s how I see it anyway. The similarities are definitely there. Regular, a bit dingy, the people are half decent for the most part… But there’s no magic… boring!
White London is definitely evil. I would say “dark and twisty”, but everything is totally washed out of colour and white, very much like winter – cold, and no one likes it.
Now, Red London – happy, bright, full of magic; thriving and prosperous. I think I like it here best! Obvious choice. I’m predictable, what can I say?
Because I’ve only just managed to find time to write this review, I’ve actually already read the second book of the series, A Gathering of Shadows. I’ll let you know my thoughts on that soon…
If you love fantasy, magic and danger, I’d definitely recommend this book!
View A Darker Shade of Magic on Goodreads