A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab
“The earth beneath your feet does not care that you will be king. Nor the water in your cup. Nor the air you breathe. You must speak to them as equal, or even better, as supplicant.”
This recommendation is strong, for reasons aside from the gorgeous cover! A Darker Shade of Magic is a historical urban fantasy, set in the reign of King George III. The worldbuilding is both intriguing and immaculate. Schwab presents not just one reality in the city of London, but four: Grey London, the city we know, Red London, a variation flush with magic, White London, torn in conflict over it, and Black London, a city that’s been torn apart.
Each reality acts as a landmark in a separate world, linked only by the magic of the Antari – blood magicians who have mastered the elements and can travel between these worlds. Kell is one of the last of them and serves as an ambassador to the Red Empire. After becoming indebted to Delilah, a thief from Grey London, the previously broken bridges between these worlds mend for the sake of her favor.
Schwab’s unique, descriptive tongue holds just as much magic as the world it speaks of, without feeling too bogged down or heavy. It’s a fast-paced read with smart language that leaves one feeling nourished and invested until the end.
A Darker Shade of Magic is available at Warde’s library, as well as both of the Fairfield Public Libraries.