24845064Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons. There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Amazon ebook 401 Titan Books Fantasy February 20th, 2015

ADSOM sat on my Kindle for 15 months (!!!) before I started reading it! Bloody sacrilege! And stupid me for delaying and keeping myself from an enjoyable read…

I will mention NOTHING of the plot! I know some of my blogging buddies have not yet read this book and as such, I will not go into details, at all… Keep the spoiler risk on the minimum!

Magic was a truly beautiful disease. 

For the first 25-30% of the book, I didn’t really understand the hype. While I could agree the premise was interesting, the characters solid and atmosphere intriguing, I was simply not excited! I actually reached out on FB to talk about the excitement bit and how important it is when reading a book… ADSOM, at the start, was just not that magical to me… I had of course seen the hallelujas for Kell’s coat… everywhere… but I’m the kind of girl that if everyone likes something and wants it, I don’t. It’s the general mass consensus about something that makes my excitement grind to a halt and run in the opposite direction for something different.

Anyway, you’ve all heard of Murphy’s Law. So, the minute I hesitated about X, Y happened. Or some such 😀 At the 30% mark, ADSOM with all its glory started sucking me in. I mean, if there is ever a story that made me imagine a small ball of snow growing bigger and bigger as it rolled down the slope, ADSOM is it. I found the groove and I was in it for one sitting read, long into the early hours of the morning.

“And if you don’t survive?” challenged Kell.

“Then you can raid my corpse,” she said. “I doubt I’ll care.”

I can’t deny that I liked Kell from the start. He knows how to appreciate the small things. I was waiting with anticipation for the moment his path crossed with Lila. What a splendid clash of characters from different walks of life.

Kell is one of two with a blood full of magic across the various Londons. You could say, he knows and sees a whole lot more than any of the other residents from any of London. He has a grasp of life and people from various viewpoints, giving him the characteristics of a thinker. In a way, I think Kell is the type of universal character with an open, intelligent mind deeming him selfless and considerate.

Lila, on the other hand, is bold! I like Lila, and I like that she likes boys toys! As a survivor of lifelong hardship one needs a certain mentality to present obstacles the middle finger and come out on top in spite of. And when she didn’t give two hoots about the fancy dresses, instead choosing to go for the practical attire meant for men- I laughed and nodded my head. Nice one, Lila! I approve! Drop the glitz and glitter, opt for the need-to-have. The fact that she has plenty of unwaivering personality won me over in no time. Her very being has been hardened due to her circumstances but not once did she complain, not once did she wallow like a damsel in distress and she always approached situations with a ‘let’s just get this over and done with’ attitude.

“You look more ready to storm a city than seduce a man.”

So, yes, when Kell and Lila met- I repeat- it was a splendid clash to revel in! Just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about chemistry sparkling and crackling in a romantic sense. Which brings me to the point about the, thankfully, missing insta-love scenario. There was no swooning, the was no drooling, there was no hormone-induced ‘I wish I got laid by that specimen’ kind of gibberish. For this alone, the book deserves kudos.. for not going down the beaten path!

Another relationship I would like to address in my review is the one in between Kell and Rhy. Brothers, in a sense. But, yes, brothers. There weren’t many or long scenes where these two were presented to the reader. And YET, somehow, without any kind of droning on about it, Schwab managed to show me exactly how much love and loyalty lies in between the two. Their distinctive personalities, quite opposite to each other, were not used in this case to create a conflict as such, but rather demonstrate even more how much caring exists in between the two.

“A fine idea,” said Rhy. “But no. We must go out, you see, because we’re on a mission.” 
“Oh?” asked Kell. 
“Yes. Because unless you plan to wed me yourself—and don’t get me wrong, I think we’d make a dashing pair—I must try and find a mate.”

There are other characters in ADSOM, of course, but those will be left for new readers to discover for themselves.

As far as the plot goes, I found it to be quite imaginative and despite my initial lack of conviction and faith about the excitement element in this book, I am happy to have been proven wrong. ADSOM is charming and charismatic, it’s essence purely magical and unrushed, the ebb and flow of conflict and respite nicely balanced.

*holds up hands in surrender* – it’s worth the hype!

That leaves me with my rating… Lately, I do not explain the reasoning behind my rating. I will in this case… If there were half measures in star ratings, I would go for 3.5*. Since half stars don’t exist, I will round it up to 4*- even though the start was a bit shaky for me, my excitement was ignited to full flame past the 30% mark. My bought copy also has a number of typos/errors in it and they made me frown- coming from a big publisher, I would expect a level of quality. I’m not saying the book was riddled with them, but where they did appear, they stood out like a sore thumb.

Fact is, I really-really ended up liking this book and this morning I bought book #2. I wish I could dive into it straight away but with work approaching, the impending doom, I have decided to leave A Gathering of Shadows until the next weekend as a worthy treat for myself and make no mistake- I seriously look forward to exploring how the story continues!

A Darker Shade of Magic on Goodreads ¦ Amazon UK ¦ USA ¦ Book Depository

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