What do I think? WHAT DO I THINK? I feel like slapping myself in the face for not giving A Darker Shade of Magic a chance earlier. Thoroughly enjoyable and original, Kell and Lila’s journey got me out of my reading slump faster than I could have dreamed.
Let’s find out why, shall we?
First of all, let me tell you something : I am in awe of the multi layered and unique world building V.E. Schwab created, where darkness is spreading from every pore, lurking in every London we discover. Yes, Londons, as there are several parallel worlds waiting for we readers to step through them. Four, to be exact, each and every one of them full of details and rules and history. If Kell, our main character, came up with names for all of them, I have to admit that Lila’s description suits me better (certainly because I have a soft spot for sarcastic cutthroats, but I’ll come back to that).
“There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”
What I adored is the fact that even though some places are deadlier than others *cough* bone shaped floor! *cough*, V.E. Schwab did a splendid job at showing us (very important word here : showing!) that danger can take several forms, sometimes not in the way we expected. Indeed the thirst for power, for magic, hides behind every little door. This is followed by a sensation that nothing is never set in stone (hehe) : what can be better than this, really?
That’s why even though the pacing suffered a little in the beginning, I am not one to hold a grudge when the result is a fabulous world building.
As for the characters, where can I even start? Oh, yes : They’re complex and oh-so-interesting, none of them thoroughly pure or likeable, and I absolutely loved them for this exact reason.
First we have Kell, the orphaned (or is he?) magician whose loneliness fights daily with his power, whose intentions, while good, always suffer from the risks of being twisted into darkness. Yet he’s ready to do anything for the people he cares about, and his courage and wit won me pretty fast (also, his coat, duh).
And then, we have Lila, the fierce and driven thief who wants everything life can give her – and more. As far as strong female leads are concerned, Lila owns all, trust me : from her mind full of mischief to her ability to defend herself and to fight for what she wants, it was a true delight to follow her in her adventures.
“What are you?” he asked, amazed.
Lila only shrugged. “Stubborn.”
Not to mention that their dynamics together are amazing : they made me laugh and smile and tear out and fear, the swoony moments so very light that they let me eager for more.
More than multi-layered, these characters evolve, and I can’t wait to see where their paths will lead to.
► Wrap all the above in an evocative and clever writing, and what do you get? A book not to be missed. Mark my words.
Ps. I do realize that I didn’t talk about the plot and the (astounding) villain. I guess you’ll have to read it to know^^
Ps.2 I KNEW IT. *smug smile*