Book Beginnings: A Darker Shade of Magic

* Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader, where every Friday, bloggers post the first sentence (or few sentences) of their current read, as well as their first impressions of the book! *

This week, I’ll be highlighting one of my current reads, A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.

Kell wore a very peculiar coat.

It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.

23403402.jpgThis book is my first Victoria Schwab read, and while I’ve been meaning to pick up any given title of hers for a while now, the reason I grabbed this one first is actually because my Facebook group, Life & Lit, picked ADSOM as the June group read, and it’s now a week from the end of the month and I’ve gotta get to work. Basically, the reason I’m telling you guys this is that, between the aforementioned facts, and the reality that I have met almost nobody who dislikes Schwab’s writing, I went into this book determined to enjoy it.

My first impression from the opening of the first chapter wasn’t what I expected: the phrasing reminded me tremendously of The Hobbit. Is it just me? You guys, feel free to tell me if I’m just making shit up right now, but that opening phrasing just gave me such hardcore Bilbo flashbacks that I had to pause and smile to myself for a second. See, I’m not complaining, because I love flowery, lyrical, and sometimes vague writing styles.

Anyways, beyond just the style itself, my second thought was, “How does a coat have several sides?”, which is then, of course, promptly explained away as magic (duh, Destiny), and all was well again.

The long and the short of it is this: I think these lines are lovely and intriguing opening lines for a book, and it made me immediately eager to learn more about this magical and mysterious Kell. So far, I’m only a few chapters in, but am really enjoying the world that Schwab is building, and I can’t wait to learn more about it.

Goodreads synopsis:

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.

Have you read the Shades of Magic series, or any other books by Victoria Schwab? If so, what were your thoughts? Feel free to also drop your links to whatever you’re currently reading, or your Book Beginnings post, if you have one! Have a lovely weekend, my wonderful readers!

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Just a 26-year-old children's librarian trying to juggle motherhood, grad school, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

9 thoughts on “Book Beginnings: A Darker Shade of Magic

  1. Excellent Post – thank you for sharing!
    I’ve been i a bit of a reading slump for the past few weeks and I’ve noted the Shades of Magic trilogy all over here as well as Goodreads and at this point it may be just what I need to get me out of my slump, as I’ve been in search for YA fantasy lately!
    Thanks, and Happy Reading 🙂


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