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Cover image for A darker shade of magic
A darker shade of magic
First edition.
New York : Tor, a Tom Doherty Associates Book, 2015.
Physical Description:
400 pages ; 22 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
General Note:
"A Tor book."
Kell is one of the last Travelers -- magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes -- as such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne -- 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, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, 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 -- a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive -- and that is proving trickier than they hoped.


Call Number
FANTASY Schwab, V.
FANTASY Schwab, V.

On Order



A Darker Shade of Magic , from #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab

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.

"A Darker Shade of Magic has all the hallmarks of a classic work of fantasy. Schwab has given us a gem of a tale...This is a book to treasure."--Deborah Harkeness, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy

Shades of Magic series
1. A Darker Shade of Magic
2. A Gathering of Shadows
3. A Conjuring of Light

Author Notes

VICTORIA "V.E." SCHWAB is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Shades of Magic series, This Savage Song , Our Dark Duet and Vicious . Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured in the New York Times , Entertainment Weekly , Washington Post and more, translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been optioned for television and film. When she's not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, she splits her time between Nashville, TN and Edinburgh, Scotland and is usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Schwab (Vicious) creates an ingenious set of nesting alternate Londons in this imaginative, well-crafted fantasy. There's Grey London, set in our mundane world's Regency era; Red London, where magic flourishes along with the populace; and White London, where a desperate struggle to control magic has bled the city and its people. No one speaks of Black London, consumed by magic and presumed destroyed. Kell, adopted brother of Red London's prince and one of the few Antari, who can travel between worlds, is a royal emissary and collector of forbidden artifacts from other Londons. When Kell is tricked into taking a dangerous artifact of Black London into Red, he falls in with the cross-dressing Grey thief Lila Bard, a cutpurse with a quick tongue and her own sense of honor. Confident prose and marvelous touches-a chameleon coat, a scarlet river of magic, a piratical antiheroine-bring exuberant life to an exhilarating adventure among the worlds. Agent: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A fast-paced fantasy adventure that takes readers into a series of interconnected worlds ruled by magicor the lack of it. Long ago, the doors between worlds were open, and anyone with magic could travel from one to the next. Now the doors are closed, and only a chosen few have the power to travel between Grey London, a world without magic, Red London, a world suffused with it, and White London, a world where magic is scarce, coveted and jealously guarded. As for Black London, the city consumed, no one would be so foolish as to risk a tripnot even Kell. Officially, he's a royal messenger, carrying letters among the rulers of the three Londons. Unofficially, he's a smuggler who collects artifacts from other worlds. It's that habit that leads him to accept a dangerous relic, something that shouldn't exist. And it's when a wanted Grey London thief named Lila steals the artifact that the real trouble startsfor both of them. Schwab (Vicious, 2013, etc.) creates a memorable worldactually, three memorable worldsand even more memorable characters. Lila in particular is a winningly unconventional heroine who, as she declares, would "rather die on an adventure than live standing still." The brisk plot makes this a page-turner that confronts darkness but is never overwhelmed by it.Fantasy fans will love this fast-paced adventure, with its complex magic system, thoughtful hero and bold heroine. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Meet Kell, a young man with an extraordinary gift: unlike almost everyone else, he can travel from one version of London to another, moving between parallel worlds the way ordinary people walk from one room to another. His job: carrying correspondence between the rulers of Red London (a city rich in magic), White London (where the relentless fight to control magic is destroying the city), and Grey London (where magic no longer exists the London of our own past). Kell also has a secret sideline: he smuggles artifacts from one London to another, getting top prices from collectors. When he gets caught up in a bad deal in Grey London, he goes on the run, at his side a clever thief named Delilah, who helps Kell elude his pursuers, desperately trying to find a way not only to save Kell's life, but also to protect the parallel worlds themselves. An ingeniously clever tale.--Pitt, David Copyright 2015 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Schwab begins a tale of four vastly different yet parallel Londons, separated by magic. The Travellers are the only people able to journey among the Londons, but when a clever thief meets one of these voyagers, they team up to fight a threat that may destroy all four worlds. VERDICT This series launch is filled with wonder, action, and marvelous characters. The final book, A Conjuring of Light, came out in February. New readers can devour the entire trilogy this summer. (LJ 12/14) © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.