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Life, Law & Libros

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Preview Excerpt)

I remember when V.E. Schwab (a.k.a. Victoria Schwab) first started tweeting about this mysterious new project involving a guy named Kell- one "l" too many, but close enough ;) - a thief, pirates and all sorts of craziness and magic. It sounded pretty awesome. Having just finished the preview excerpt of the first 150 pages, I have high hopes for the rest.

This preview excerpt eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Published on February 24, 2015
Published by Tor Books
Final Rating: TBD
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.

Preview Review:
I love parallel worlds to begin with, but Schwab's splitting the four Londons according to abundance or dearth of magic and seeing the effects of that on each world has really drawn me in. There's an underlying tension to the overall plot, as well as plenty of danger and suspense in the lives of our two protagonists.

The sample cuts off just as things are starting to spiral into craziness and leaves us wondering: what will go wrong next? Because something will. Probably something massive. :)

An excellent start to what I anticipate will be a dark, magical rush of an adventure. I can't wait to read the rest.


  1. I seriously don't understand how you can stand the torture of starting this and not being able to read the rest right away! I resisted downloading the preview because I just didn't think I was strong enough not to go crazy ;-)

    1. Well, actually... I completely missed the "preview" part of the listing when I requested it. ^^; But I figured I was close enough to the release date now to give it a try. :)

      Strange side note: I haven't figured out what it is, but something about Schwab's writing doesn't flow as smoothly for me. It's not bad writing, but it's like running your hand with the grain versus against? I remember having a similar feeling back when I started Vicious.