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Publisher's Summary

Kell is one of the last Travelers - magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes. As such, he can choose where he lands. There's Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there's Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. There's White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.
Officially Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see - a dangerous hobby and one that has set him up for accidental treason.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
©2015 Victoria Schwab (P)2015 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"There is much more to explore in this amazing world from the acclaimed author of Vicious." ( Library Journal)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Gypsycat on 08-31-15

social commentary magical high fantasy

I very much enjoyed this book, and not just because I got it free via the Ford Audiobook Club. It's very well written and well-paced, and was an interesting take on the old high fantasy trope. I loved the alternate dimension Londons and how they reflected different emphasis on aspects of humans and their interaction with magic. Kell's story and Lila's were both compelling and richly resonant with the themes of the books: entitlement, responsibility, the search for identity, self-reliance, social commentary, etc. I loved their banter and thought they worked very well as foils for each other. I appreciated that the romance is kept to a minimum, more a loyalty than a swooning uncertainty.

The "feel" of this book in pseudo-high fantasy historical setting, atmosphere , and writing style reminded me of Michael Sullivan's Riyria series, but Schwab put her own stamp on them. Very enjoyable.

The narration by Stephen Crossley was well done, particularly for Kell. I'd have liked a second narrator for Lila, but Crossley did fine for a single person narration.

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26 of 28 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Alex on 06-11-15

Not a fan of the narrator

Would you listen to A Darker Shade of Magic: A Darker Shade of Magic, Book 1 again? Why?

Probably not, at least not until the next one comes out. The story was pretty simple and the narration wasn't great at times in my opinion. It seemed like he missed the tone of a lot of the interactions of the characters at times, though I'm not sure how much of that was me misinterpreting it or him.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked the concept of the story. The idea of multiple London's was cool, and I liked a lot of the backstory of the characters. As far as how events played out in the story, I think there was some weird stuff that happened that maybe wasn't a direction I would have expected but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and it definitely kept things interesting. I was concerned by about the halfway point because it seemed to me like the story was slow to start, but overall I was satisfied with how it turned out. Towards the end I didn't want to put it down.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance was ok, but at times I found it hard to listen to. For certain things like spell names and words in fictional languages I understand it can be hard to have a good interpretation of what things should sound like, but I definitely found it difficult to stay with the narrator when he was reading them. I appreciated some of the things he added, with details such as a mostly clear voice for each character - though like I mentioned earlier it seemed like the tone was not always conveyed correctly to me. Also accents for some characters sometimes seemed like they were slipping - which I also acknowledge can be difficult to keep straight. It didn't ruin my enjoyment, but there were definitely scenes where it took me out of the moment.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

There were definitely a few moments which made me crack a smile but nothing extreme like laughing or crying.

Any additional comments?

I'd say it is a worthwhile book to pick up if for no other reason than it's a cool concept. I'm probably likely to at least try the second one when it comes out for what it's worth.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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