A Darker Shade of Magic: A Darker Shade of Magic, Book 1 - Steven Crossley, V.E. Schwab, Tantor Audio
I probably wouldn't have picked up A Darker Shade of Magic if not for it's sequel. I didn't read them out of order and it's be safe to expect the review for A Gathering of Shadows to come out next week, but it was this second title that grasped my attention. I'm not a big fantasy fan and tend to avoid books with magic in them but I couldn't help myself. Everyone was raving about it and I just had to get to the sequel. I'm a sucker for a compelling title.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book, too. I know everyone had said it was good, but I still expected it to be a boring fantasy book that most likely followed some sort of quest. Fortunately, this was not that book. A Darker Shade of Magic is told in the dual points of view of Kell and Lilah. They are from different "worlds" and so they have different understandings of magic and it's existence in the world.

Lilah is our link to our own reality in the same way that you might call Luke from Star Wars our link. She's a regular person from the same London that is in our world. When she gets thrown into Kell's world of magic, we all get a bit of an adventure out of it. When we see all the worlds from Kell's point of view, we get the side of someone used to magic and opulence and the conflicts of the powerful. So we get to be in the world with him but experience it anew with Lilah at the same time and that is just brilliant writing.

The world building is impressive. There is a lot going on and many levels of power, motivations, prestige, danger, and abilities. Wading through this new world with Lilah gives us a good sense of its wonder while Kell's deep struggle within it gives us a sense of the danger that propels the story forward.

I enjoyed every minute of it and immediately started the second book and hope to get to the third, A Conjuring of Light, soon.