Author: V.E. Schwab
Published: 2015 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
Read: December 2014
Why it made it to the top of the pile: Initially I thought this was an excerpt, and started the book thinking it was a quick read
Categories: Fiction, Fantasy, YA
Full Disclosure: Advance reading copy courtesy the publisher and Netgalley
Trivia Tidbit: Victoria has a list of favourite foreign words on her website. My favourite of these is "tartle", a Scottish word which means "that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can’t quite remember."
Kell is one of only two known Antari, and was adopted by the royal family of Red London as a child. The other Antari is Holland, a Traveller in the service of White London royalty. Although welcomed into the Red London royal family as a child, Kell is aware of his otherness. He attempts to fill this void by trading trinkets with Collectors and Enthusiasts in other Londons. This is a forbidden but seemingly harmless hobby, until it isn't.
A forbidden artifact is transported between worlds, so beginning a battle for power over magic and control over all the Londons. Kell finds an unlikely ally in Grey London pickpocket Lila Bard, and together they try to save their worlds from encroaching evil.
This was a great read, and while the possibility of a sequel was left open, A Darker Shade of Magic feels like a complete story on its own. Schwab combines fantasy, magic and adventure well, and has written a book with elements reminiscent of Neil Gaimain's Neverwhere and Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series.