Spoiler-free review Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
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.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then 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
At the beginning of May, Roelien and I agreed to read the entire Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E Schwab. I myself read A Darker Shade of Magic last year so this was a re-read for me. I didn’t mind that at all, because I enjoyed it a lot last year. My opinion of last year has basically remained the same. The world-building is strong and the characters are also well developed. The magic and the different types of London are well explained. You become immediately interested in the first chapter and this is also throughout the book. I enjoyed this book and was glad that we were able to continue immediately with the second book A Gathering of Shadows. From this part it only gets better.
You get right to the point in A Gathering of Shadows¸ which I enjoyed. You get to know new characters, you get to know new things and you will learn more about Lila, which I will not go into as it contains a large spoiler. You also get to know Holland better. Unpopular opinion, I think Holland is a great character, I quite enjoyed reading about him. Kell is like a son to the King and Queen but in this part they treat Kell as an outsider through an event that happened in A Darker Shade of Magic. For me, I found this a bit weird and unrealistic. That you can treat someone like that after you’ve always treated him like your own son. The ending might have been a little predictable, but I didn’t mind that. I thought it was a strong book!
Of course we immediately started with the last book, A Conjuring of Light and holy crap what an intense book this was. It is a thick book and for some it might be a bit too thick and that it can be a little slow but I liked it. In this part you also read from other characters their perspective and I thought this was a nice addition to the story. In this part you start to learn about Holland’s past and as I mentioned earlier I think Holland is a nice character. It was nice to learn about its past, which helps you to understand Holland’s actions better.
A Conjuring of Light was full of action and you want to know how it ends and if it will all work out. Since I have the collector’s edition, I have an extra story at the end about Kell’s past. This is not the case with the normal editions and I think this is quite a shame, because you do have questions about where exactly Kell comes from and this should actually be an epilogue. Overall, I enjoyed this series and I can understand why it is so popular.
A Darker Shade of Magic ★★★★✩ A Gathering of Shadows ★★★★★ A Conjuring of Light ★★★★★
About the author
Victoria (V. E.) Schwab (born July 7, 1987) is an American fantasy author best known for her 2013 novel Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and for her children’s and young adult fiction published under the name Victoria Schwab.