This, Kids, Is Why You Shouldn’t Be a Smuggler: A Darker Shade of Magic

img_9171Hello my pandas! I know, I’ve disappeared yet again (for what, like the fifteenth time?) However, today’s post is filled with some specialness!!! I’m going to give you a review of my first read of the year, A Darker Shade of Magic! I’m honestly so happy that this won my Twitter poll because it was an excellent way to start my year (although they were all wonderful reads!). Additionally, I have made new banners as you can see, in order to make the parts of my review clearer and more interesting.


What’s it about? Well, here’s Goodreads to tell you all about it: Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now. Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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 love V.E. Schwab’s idea of multiple parallel worlds that only certain people can pass through. I’ve always been fascinated by alternate universes, and I was immediately sucked into this universe and its multiple Londons. The imagery and worldbuilding was just so vivid and brilliant! I felt like any moment I myself could step into either Red or White London. The magic and mechanics of this traveling and the rules of magic in general were also explained really well, clear without being too dry. But even the world building pales in comparison with the characters. Kell, my frowny, scowly baby was so inspiring in his loyalty and determination. I felt so bad for him because of how his “parents” treat him, but I loved his relationship with Rhy.  They were bromance goals, and they are so lucky to have each other.  Last Kell note: I am obsessed with his coat. As Schwab stated on Twitter, let’s be real. Kell and his coat are the real OTP. In reality though, the other half of Kell’s OTP is Lila (I still haven’t figured out their ship name).  This cross-dressing thief was so clever and fierce and loyal. However, as weird as this may sound, I liked that Lila was flawed as a character. It grounded her and made her feel so much more realistic, actually made me cheer for her even more. Finally, although he doesn’t have as big of a role in this book as I would have liked, I still fell in love with Rhy. I also felt really bad about how unequal he felt with Kell because of his extremely weak abilities with magic, yet had so much power just by virtue of being the prince, by being loved. It was so interesting how this was so similar yet so different from how Kell felt. Two princes, who are as close as brothers, yet so jealous of each other. One jealous of the other being so loved, the other jealous of the first being so powerful in magic. For me, this was actually the most important relationship in this book, and the events that happened ensure that this will be explored even more in A Gathering of Shadows.

This book instantly sucked me in, and the story never stopped. Although the book was character driven in my opinion, there was still never a dull moment. If you haven’t read these books, I highly suggest you read them now. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

So what do you guys think of my new banners? Let me know, as I’m still trying them out. signature-banner


2 thoughts on “This, Kids, Is Why You Shouldn’t Be a Smuggler: A Darker Shade of Magic

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