A Darker Shade of Magic, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Most people only know one London; but what if there were several?

Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons.

There's Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III.

There's Red London, where life and magic are revered.

Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne.

But once upon a time, there was Black London...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9781783295401



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Kell is a traveller between worlds, linked to each other through the city of London: there is the Grey London, represented by Georgian London towards the end of the reign of George III in our world, Red London, Kell’s home world, where most people have some magical abilities and magic on the whole is regarded as a force for good, and White London, where magic is in short supply, but those that have some power rule over those that don’t, as well as Black London, which has been sealed off for centuries as magic took over the people. Kell is a royal messenger, carrying letters between the royal houses of Grey and Red London; as a sideline, he also trades in illegal artefacts from the alternate worlds. Lila is a pickpocket and thief, dreaming of owning a ship and being a pirate captain, who lives on the streets of Grey London and who happens to pick Kell’s pockets one night, when he brings across a dangerous artefact to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Eventually, Kell and Lila grudgingly combine forces to save all the worlds.This was an absolutely fantastic read, and one dizzying rollercoaster ride, as we follow Kell and Lila from one London to another, read in record time in under 24 hours, and I still feel slightly out of breath just writing this review. There is almost non-stop action, and one barely gets to survey the new surroundings before a new plot twist forces our heroes on a different path, with lots of surprises thrown their way. Yet for all the action, V. E. Schwab somehow manages to fit in decent characterisations of not only Kell and Lila, but also Rhy, Holland, the Dane twins, Barron and some other, minor characters. There are not many novels that manage to sweep you completely off your feet and where you fall completely in love with the story line and the characters, but Schwab has pulled it off; I can only hope that the next volume in the series won’t take too long to write. Highly recommended.

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