V.E. Schwab has released the third book in her Shades of Magic series. I ended up reading the second book a little while ago, inadvertently. When I found out, I was a little grumpy about it, and then decided to wait for the rest of it before going back to the first book: A Darker Shade of Magic.
I guess I probably should have looked very carefully at the third book in the library to see if there is more coming, but I didn't do that, and I've already returned this book and picked up the third, so I'm afraid its too late for me. stay tuned, and I'll let you know when I finish number three
Darker Shade is where this story begins, and I found myself saying, 'ah, now I get it' or something similar, every time I ran into something I was expected to understand when I read the second book. Schwab has created a universe that has some depth and breadth to it. In a vein similar to Narnia and others, where there are alternative worlds one can get to, if only ones knows how. Schwab takes us to alternate versions of our own London, which seems to be a kind of city-based magical axis, about which the multiverse turns. I mean, why not London, right? Each of the worlds has the magical London at its center, but it is the capital city of differing countries, with very different cultures and languages in each world, some clearly more magical than our own--depressingly referred to as Grey London. They all seem to be based in the late feudal era, including our own, so, you know, swords and crap. schwing
Most of the action takes place in Red London, where the magical volume knob is turned up to 9. just for reference, 10 would be Wonderland, of Alice fame, with singing flowers, and opium smoking caterpillars There are some special and rare spell-casting types, called Antari, that only come along once in a blue moon (no, there is no actual blue moon in the story, at least not yet) and these folks are the only ones capable of passing between worlds. One of these, the mysterious Kell, is passing through on a diplomatic mission to our own Grey London, when he crosses paths with thief named Delilah Bard. Lila just happens to be looking for a fresh start, and even though its against the rules to bring even items across the boundaries between worlds, Lila ends up making the trip.
Schwab has done a good job of creating a fun, intriguing, and exciting story. I'm looking forward to finishing up in the third book (I hope!)