A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I finished this book… a while ago. May. I finished it in May. And I never really wrote a review, or at all. So I’m trying to catch up essentially. So this is a review of A Darker Shade of Magic.

This is about London, and parallel Londons. It’s set in a world where you can move from one world to another. Well, some can. Kell is one of the last travellers, and he can travel from his London, which is referred to as Red London where magic is revered, to Grey London, a magic-less place, and White London, where magic is used as a weapon, and Black London, which we don’t talk about. Kell is a sort of ambassador to the rulers of these worlds. He’s also a smuggler. His smuggling gets him into trouble. It’s also about Lila Bard, a thief in Grey London, who wants to be a pirate. They meet, and help each other.

It’s been a really long time since I read this. Not really long, but a while, and I’m not sure what I feel anymore.

I feel like I liked it, it was fine, it wasn’t like a literary masterpiece, but it was interesting and fast paced, and very action packed. A lot of stuff happens all the time. And it felt like too much happened all the time. I needed time to sort of calm the hell down.

I liked Kell, ish. He’s very tortured hero, but it’s carried off fairly well. He is one of the last of his kind (like Doctor Who, he’s not like Doctor Who so much, I’m just obsessed), one of the last travellers, able to travel between Londons. I also liked his brother, the prince (whose name escapes me). I liked that he’s basically bisexual and there’s just no comment on it, he’s just bisexual, it’s just a thing, which I liked. I also liked the backstory of Kell and the royal family. He’s raised with the prince, but Kell’s adopted, so he’s not actually royalty. And while it’s a cruel thing they’ve done to him I liked the backstory for Kell.

I liked Lila. I didn’t think she was necessarily well developed, but I thought she was an interesting character. The story is told mainly from Kell’s perspective, so it’s natural that Lila isn’t as developed as Kell is, but it’s a bit disappointing. She’s a bit stereotypical and it annoyed me, she’s very; angry, lonely girl thief, not an actual trope, but it just bugged me. It really annoyed me.

I liked the concept. The Londons are sort of stacked on top of each other and they’re not really called London, but it’s a convenient way to knit them together. I liked how different they were. They could also be developed more. Since Kell is from Red London that is better developed than the other Londons. I don’t know if they’ll be more developed in the next books, but I was curious about White London.

Anyways. It’s a while since I read it, I don’t remember any more thoughts. Except I felt like a lot was going on. All the time. It’s not very long. It’s only 400 pages, which I guess is technically longer than an average book, but it’s like an epic fantasy in 400 pages, which isn’t enough time, or I guess space. Also, I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t necessarily love this, until I read a goodreads review. There’s so much going on, that there’s not really a lot of depth. There isn’t enough time or space to develop the characters or world. There are four Londons, FOUR. He only goes to three of them, but the fourth is mentioned a lot. It’s too much!

Anyways. It was a fun adventure story. It’s sort of swashbuckling-ly, and it’s entertaining enough. I just want, more, deeper. There’s a creepy sentence. Okay, I’m done.