A Darker Shade of Magic

V.E. Schwab. Tor, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7645-9
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.)
Reviewed on: 01/05/2015
Release date: 02/24/2015
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