Darker Shade of MagicFirst Book: A Darker Shade Of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab

The Darker Shade of Magic trilogy (our #1 ranked adult Crossover Fantasy series) follows a tale across the nineteenth century “Londons.”

Though the story opens in 1918 at the home of King George III, we quickly learn that there are actually 4 known Londons, each existing as stacked alternate dimensions with very little in common aside from shared geography and comparable technology levels.

The primary difference amongst the Londons: MAGIC.  Beginning with the nearly magicless “Grey” London of King George, each successive London contains progressively more magic until we reach “Black” London: closest to Magic’s source and entirely consumed by magic many years ago.  To prevent the destructive spread, strict prohibitions were placed on the transportation of objects from one London to another, but if you happen to be one of only two people with magic powerful to cross the barriers who will ever find out if you break the rules…..right?

What we like most about this series is the complexity of the two leads, Kell and Lila: both born with amazing abilities but in different Londons that vastly affected the ways they were raised.  When these two meet, sparks quite literally fly.

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From the Publisher:

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 Rhys Maresh, the rougish 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 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.