Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Narrators: Steven Crossley
Description (Source: Amazon):
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.”
Sigh. I wanted to like this book more than I actually did. Pretty much everyone I know told me how amazing this series was, but I hard a hard time with this one. I think there be a couple reasons for this: 1. The hype going in 2. the narration (I listened to the audio). The narrator did terrible female voices. Honestly, some of the worst I’ve ever heard. I listened to this on the heels of Illuminae, which is easily the very best audio book I’ve ever listened to, but still this was bad. His male voices were good, but maaaannnnn those female voices.
The story also moved a bit slow for me for about the first 50% of the book. There was a lot of world building and character development (the world Schwab creates was pretty amazing), but this made for a slow start.
With that being said, I did enjoy the book once I got past the halfway point. The two main protagonists are well developed and complex, and even the supporting characters are engaging.
I rated it 4/5 stars because while it was slow moving for me, I can appreciate the incredible world building that was cause for it being a little slow to start.
– While it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, I will continue the series. The second and third books have a different narrator so I would be willing to give those a shot again.