"Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.I have heard the raving reviews of good words for A Darker Shade of Magic. But nope. This is not my type of book.
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."
The world building took a while for me to get. (Maybe if there's a picture of four worlds or if the author simply said it was a multiverse...? Or maybe it isn't a multiverse. Never mind, I'm clearly thinking too much about parallel universes and alternate timelines and other worlds.) But in short, Kell is a special person (Antari) who can travel from different worlds. And there are four worlds. Red, Grey, White, and Black.
The concept of differing worlds is pretty cool, and I have a feeling Grey London is probably our world. Red London and Grey London are the best and safest worlds. White London is bloody, dangerous, and downright horrifying with its crazy monarchy (which is more like anchary). Last of all, Black London is mysterious and unknown. But from what Kell knows, Black London is the darkest of the four Londons and is sealed from the rest of the Londons.
Lila is an awesome character. She's tough, and she isn't afraid of kicking someone when he/she is down. Though Lila does have her awesome and kick-this-person moments, I wish more of her character is defined other than her obvious action girl-ish moments and "I want to get out of this hellhole and see the world" goals. To be truthful, I'm getting sociopath vibes from her... *raises hands to say no offense*
The plot goes by quickly, pushed by the strange ring of magic. Evil magic? Clever magic? It doesn't matter what it is, but it definitely brings Lila and Kell together. I'm drawn into Kell's intrigue and his status as an Antari. And the reveal of Lila... Gosh, the plot and story never gets boring. Not even for a quick moment.
The ending has a lot of potential for a sequel. But I'm wishing for more of Lila/Kell. And I'm left very unsettled.
Overall, A Darker Shade of Magic is interesting. But to me, this book isn't very memorable. Lila is definitely the most striking part of the book, and her personality and determined actions is very fun to watch. But if I have a chance to read the sequel...? No, I'm not reading it.
Rating: Three out of Five