Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
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.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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 never bothered to read any of Schwab’s YA books. I owned several but none of them really called to me. Then I discovered her adult novels through a free copy of the audiobook for A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC. Here I am now, a Schwab addict. What else would you call someone who listened to all three ADSOM audiobooks in a row?
It started like this:
I’ve been insanely busy this year. Working on a book of my own, trying to tackle the mess that is my apartment, and various forms of work I just haven’t had the time to read as much as I would have liked. Solution: audiobooks. I can listen to them while clean. I listen while I go on errands. I use them to relax before bed. I’ve had this book on my audible for over a year, a win in some giveaway I hardly remember. So I sat down to listen.
My first impression:
Man I love this narrator. A good narrator makes or breaks an audiobook. As I kid I loved the Harry Potter audiobooks because of Jim Dale’s voice. I became a fan of Bunnicula through Victor Garber. On the other hand the Eragon audiobooks suffer from a terrible voice choice for the dragon Saphira. Steven Crossley narrates this particular book and once I finished I went looking for other books he narrated. More please.
The writing is incredible. No joke, I was completely lost in this world from the beginning. Schwab is fabulous at keeping my mind engaged, which isn’t all that easy when ADHD is usually running my brain every which way.
I LOVE Delilah Bard. I added two new book boyfriends to my list in Kel and Rhy. Rhy isn’t even in it all that much but I still love him. Kel, while level headed and intelligent goes against his better judgement to makes some very huge mistakes, yet it doesn’t annoy me the would it normally would in a YA novel. He has valid thought processes and human reactions to events, not stupidity for the sake of plot. It’s a nice change from my usual.
The villains are delightfully bad, and I could not believe that there were two more books after this one. I mean how much worse could anyone be over Athos and Astrid? How can you beat Holland’s determination? But this is exactly what made me NEED the next book as fast as I could get my hands on it. There’s no big cliff hanger here, you can easily look at it as a standalone and not continue, but why would you want to?
The world is beautifully crafted and I have a very hard time leaving it behind. Another reason to just marathon the whole set. Each London is a distinct place rather than mirror images of each other. I would have loved a bit more information about the White and Black Londons but there are two more books so I suppose I can understand the reasoning.
If the 5 nut rating doesn’t give it away I highly recommend this book for fantasy fans. YA fantasy readers won’t get bogged down and adult ones won’t be bored, it’s the perfect bridge.
Thoughts? Feels? Leave them in the comments below. Who is your favorite character? Mine is Delilah.
From my shelf to yours,