V.E. Schwab made a considerable splash with her first book from Tor, the superhero tale Vicious, which Matthew David Surridge called “a well-paced and sharply-structured novel” in his BG review. She began an ambitious two-volume series with A Darker Shade of Magic, published last year by Tor. The second and concluding volume, A Gathering of Shadows, arrives in hardcover next month.
A Darker Shade of Magic introduced us to Kell, a magician and ambassador who travels between parallel Londons, carrying royal correspondence between universes. He’s also a smuggler. When a thief named Delilah Bard robs him, and then saves him from a nasty fate, the two find themselves on the run, jumping between worlds. As the second volume begins, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events… as strange things begin to emerge from Black London, the place of which no one speaks.
Here’s the description for the first book.
STEP INTO A UNIVERSE OF DARING ADVENTURE, THRILLING POWER, AND MULTIPLE LONDONS.
Kell is one of the last Travelers — magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad king — George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered — and where Kell was raised alongside Rhys Maresh, the rougish heir to a flourishing empire. White London — a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, 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. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell 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.
And here’s the description for A Gathering of Shadows.
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games — an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries — a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again — and so to keep magic’s balance, another London must fall.
A Darker Shade of Magic will be published in trade paperback by Tor on January 19, 2016. It is 416 pages priced at $15.99, or $12.99 for the digital version.
A Gathering of Shadows will be published in hardcover by Tor on February 23, 2016. It is 512 pages priced at $25.99, or $12.99 for the digital version.
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