Shades of Magic, Book 1
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.
Review: I’ve heard so much about this series since it came out in the US. It must be said that the avalanche of positive reviews really made me want to try it. Finally, it was the French release that gave me the opportunity to get into the story.
We discover Kell, one of the last men to be able to cross between the different universes that exist. Indeed, several London exist in parallel, the Black London, of which no one speaks about and who has sank with magic, the White, who tries to tame this magic, the Gray, which has almost no more of it and the Red, the most prosperous one, who uses magic knowing that it should not be abused of. A long time ago, all these London were accessible … now only Kell and Holland can cross them. Their mission is to send letters from one sovereign to another without ever taking anything else away. But here, Kell, broke the laws and did not hesitate to smuggle. However, it is also this small vice that will change his life … While taking a stone from White London to Gray, he crosses the road of a thief, Lila. But while she steals the stone he thought harmless, they will realize that there is much more behind and that many plots are on the march.
I was really curious to discover this story. Kell’s life seems perfect from the outside but he knows perfectly well that he is only an instrument, a means and above all that he has no choice. I really enjoyed discovering him little by little as well as the person he really is. However, there is still a lot of shades in relation to his past and I would be very curious to learn more about this. His meeting with Lila is not simple but their adventure is quite touching and I really enjoyed seeing them change at the contact of the other during the chapters. Lila brings a nice touch of freshness, she is eager for freedom, desires more than anything else to change her life and finally these adventures will perhaps bring her an answer.
It was a very interesting novel, full of ideas and I am really curious to see what the author reserves for the sequel.