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But then came Vantablack. Earlier this year, Kapoor sparked outrage from artists all over the world with the announcement that he had made a deal to become the only person in the world allowed to use the blackest pigment of black paint ever developed. Known as Vantablack, the unique carbon nanotube-based pigment is produced solely by a British company called NanoSystem, and was originally developed for military technologies.

However, Kapoor made an agreement with the company that he is the only person allowed to use it for artistic purposes. It just seemed really mean-spirited and against the spirit of generosity that most artists who make and share their work are driven by.

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By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. Incredible world-building, beautiful language and an intruiging plot make this 5 out of 5 stars. And let's not forget about the "cross-dressing thieves", "sadistics kings and queens " and my favourite the "royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness".

This novel started as it ended: It is as beautiful from the outside, as it is from the inside. It's the kind of book you want to keep reading and at the same time to never end. This is one of the best examples of world-building there is. A world or better: There is so much to see, so much to feel, so much to find out. A book like this keeps you pondering for quite a while and even longer. Victoria Schwab turns out to be one of my new favorite authors.

Find more of my books on Instagram View all 29 comments. So you may notice this book is kind of polarizing within the adult sff community; a little bit And for me personally it is Red London, a land of magic and peace. White London, a land of turmoil and war and an overuse of magic.

And Black London, the land where magic went wrong and burnt out. Only a few people can travel between worlds, and when one of the only two left, Kell, discovers a magic stone that could destroy his world, he and non-magical Lila go on a journey to put it back. Let's get the problems out of the way - the plotting is a mixed bag. This book is a page wild ride. The characters don't even have a quest until around page , and it makes the entire book feel just a bit messy.

Her smile only sharpened. It was nigh-impossible for me to not be engaged in this story. The writing style is SO GOOD, lyrical and gorgeous and with a really nice flow to it; one of my good blogger friends discussed her sentence structure, and it is so fantastic. The worldbuilding is creative and intriguing and perhaps best of all, makes a surprising amount of sense for such a wild concept. Also, I would die for these characters. Oddly, they didn't totally grow on me until like While I could recognize from the beginning that the leads were well-developed and interesting, it took me a while to feel as if I had a concrete concept of who they are.

And then we got to the ending and I was screaming in agony at the thought of these characters dying, and I was like "oh shit" and realized how much I love Kell and Lila and Rhy and how much I care about their relationships. Schwab does a lot of showing, not telling, which makes the character development a bit more subtle; these characters are based off their motivations perhaps even more than their actual traits. Slow start, flawless payoff.

I actually want to talk a little more specifically about these characters because when I think back on this series, they are always what come to mind. Kell is a grumpy child who we love anyway. Lila is a fucking badass genderfluid thief with a soft side and I love her. Rhy is a bisexual prince [literally] who spends half his time dragging people. Even Holland, the sort-of-villain, is a super dynamic and intriguing character.

Oh, and then the relationships: They are perhaps two of the most different people ever and they love each other so much it's beautiful. Super highly recommended for fans of creative, engaging fantasy. Blog Goodreads Twitter Youtube Aug 03, jessica rated it really liked it. Jan 31, Nat rated it really liked it Shelves: Magic was a living thing—that, everyone knew—but to Kell it felt like more, like a friend, like family. He was, after all, Antari. I went into this book not knowing much abou Magic was a living thing—that, everyone knew—but to Kell it felt like more, like a friend, like family.

I went into this book not knowing much about the plot except that it involved magic and that everyone seemed to love it. A Darker Shade of Magic has amazingly complex characters among my favorites: Prince Rhy, Lila Bard, and of course Kell they made it impossible to put the book down.


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This book was so original and creative. I had to stop everything I was doing and just finish it. E Schwab's writing is outstanding. I love close families in YA books. It seemed to me that underneath all the evil and pain that had gotten into his body, there was still a flicker of humanity. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I felt extremely relieved when Lila and Kell killed both of the twins. The instant before the metal struck him from behind, Holland had stopped fighting. It was only a second, a fraction of a breath, but it had been enough to give Kell the edge, the opening.

I was anticipating the two main characters meeting right from the start- and it did not disappoint. The chemistry between Lila and Kell felt so real. It took a lot of effort. Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat bookspoils with http: View all 5 comments. I'm a fast learner. While there used to be traversing between the Londons, now the doors have been sealed to all except the Antari: One of the last two remaining Antari in the world, Kell, is the unofficial carrier of messages between the three living Londons, but his entire world comes crumbling down around him when he is tricked into taking a magical object that has enemies hunting him down from one city to the next.

When Lila, a young thief and aspiring pirate, is drawn into the middle of his adventure, Kell must learn that the boundaries between good and evil magic aren't as defined as he once thought they were, and he must straddles those boundaries to right what has been made wrong. This book was phenomenal! Kell is one of the most lovable male MCs I've seen in a really long time. He's so loving and protective, despite his ongoing self-identity crises regarding his family. He loves his brother Rhy with a fierceness that I couldn't get enough of, and he's just so genuinely good in his heart that I couldn't help but root for him.

He's one of those MCs that makes me afraid to continue the series because I can't handle anything terrible happening to him. I wouldn't have minded so much if she just stole food or whatever, but trinkets? I revisited this annoyance a few times later in the book, too. Overall, though, I really enjoyed her sassy attitude and the way she refused to let anyone tell her what to do or hold her down. I loved that she insisted on going on an adventure, even if it meant risking her life, and her interactions with Kell were just adorable.

He actually made me cry a few times because he just is so pure and innocent and golden. I know some shit went down, but I really hope we get to learn more about him later in the series. I loved the idea of these parallel cities that the Antari could travel between, and I thought the magic system was beautifully built up. Too many books ignore the foundation for their magic systems and you're kind of left just going, "oh, well, it's magic and that's that," but Schwab didn't do that at all in this book.

The idea of these Antari being sort of the chosen ones who could control blood was just badass as hell, and I really hope that Kell and Holland aren't actually the only ones left. My very first impression from the opening segment, Kell wore a very peculiar coat. It had neither one side, which would be conventional, nor two, which would be unexpected, but several, which was, of course, impossible.

As I got further into the book, I did find that Victoria's voice is very much her own, but I enjoyed it to no end. It was the perfect balance of straightforward and flowery prose, and it painted a splendid picture while never wasting too much time on the details. You can find this review and more on my blog here!

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View all 23 comments. Oct 14, Lia a paper pigeon rated it liked it Shelves: I finally finished this book. I say finally because it took me a lot to get through - and into- it, and I'm not entirely satisfied with what I read. I'm a huge Victoria Schwab's fan, she's both an amazing author and a really kind person that I'd spend days worshiping. Vicious is one of my favorite books of all time and her writing is very original.

I can't tell you if I loved it or not, if maybe I should try and reread it in another moment, because maybe I'm too dumb to get So I can't tell you if I loved it or not, if maybe I should try and reread it in another moment, because maybe I'm too dumb to get its awesomeness on the first try, or dump it because it's not my cup of tea. I don't know a single thing, and in my mind it's a solid three. Not here, not there. It's not a bad book -quite the opposite, actually-, and I do get the hype to some extent, but maybe I wished that it suit my reader needs more than it actually does.

The magic system is probably the thing I liked the most, it added that dark atmosphere I always expect in one of VS's books.

A Darker Shade of Magic

I can't say the same for the characters, unfortunately, because, aside from Rhy - and sometimes Kell, too- I didn't like any character in particular. I'm looking at you, Lila. You were a pain. The plot is good, I love London and the way its portrayed, but I had trouble following the writing at times. I found some parts a little dull or anticlimactic, and I had to put it down often because I kept getting distracted by other things. The twists and stabs were absolutely great, though. I can see a lot of her writing in dynamic scenes and I appreciate the author's talent.

Overall, this is a good book, and I'm probably going to continue with the trilogy when I have some time. I just feel like something is missing. View all 19 comments. I can't stop thinking about it and I love it so much.

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Sep 03, Robin Hobb rated it really liked it. I recently met V. Schwab and found her entertaining and charming. So I acquired one of her books! I don't think my review of this work is affected by knowing the author, but I like to be transparent. I always like to avoid spoilers, but in this case, I think the book jacket gives away a bit of the setting, so I'll share it here as well.

Imagine four Londons, existing simultaneously but separately. Each has a differing amount of magic, with black London a loss, and Red London a place where magic I recently met V. Each has a differing amount of magic, with black London a loss, and Red London a place where magic is like an extra sensory level. Kell is our protagonist, a young man with the very rare ability to travel among the London's. Indeed, that is one of his duties, for the royalty of each London are aware of one another and wish to stay in touch. Kell is a de facto member of the royal family of Red London, treated as a son and brother, but also as a value possession.

The one thing that is forbidden to Kell is to bring artifacts or souvenirs from one London to another. And of course, that is the pivot point of the story. And it should be enough to intrigue you into sampling it. The tale is told from multiple points of view. I liked how the characters were introduced as well as how the Londons were shown. No time is wasted in pulling the reader into the story, and once the action begins, it is relentless. I was pleased to see how advanced magic mimics technology in Red London, for I feel that this is an aspect that is often neglected in stories of worlds where magic exists and is exploited as commonplace.

I also felt that the way Kell is exploited by his adoptive and loving family has deep roots in human nature. Given the ruthless nature of Kell's antagonists, the story does not flinch from some very dark violence. All good points in my estimation. This book is part of a longer series.

As I drew toward the close and realized that not all the conflicts could be resolved in the remaining number of pages, I wished that I had known that from the start. At one point in the story, the characters have a sanctuary and an ally that I wished had been introduced sooner. But both of these quibbles are based on my personal preference and may not impact your reading enjoyment at all! And given the teaser chapter in the back of this book, it looks as if A Gathering of Shadows may focus more on one of the characters I especially enjoyed. All in all, a solidly constructed fantasy with fully realized characters and a unique setting!

This had everything I ever need in a fantasy novel. Writing this, I cannot think of even 1 think I disliked. Kell is an Antari someone with magic powers, able to travel between the 4 Londons.


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  • Red - his home, Grey - the dull London where magic is nearly all Damn! Red - his home, Grey - the dull London where magic is nearly all gone and White - where magic is controlled and used to assume power, and once there was a Black London, consumed and destroyed. When Kell becomes tangled up in some dark magic, he takes it upon himself to make it right.

    Along with Lila Bard - a thief and cut-throat he just can't seem to shake. I don't know what else to say. This was my first Schwab book, but it absolutely will not be my last! Roll on book 2! View all 24 comments. Jan 27, Anne rated it liked it Shelves: It was good , just not for me great.

    Or I just didn't totally connect with the characters? And I seriously mean that! There's something cool about this setting and these characters that 3.

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    There's something cool about this setting and these characters that makes me want to see what's going to happen next. I kind of feel like maybe the first book was just a set-up, and now that the world building is done, this series trilogy? Because that happens, right? Book one is sorta dry and crunchy, and then book two rocks!

    I'm feeling confident about that prediction for some reason. I loved Vicious , I loved the world that she created in this one My point is that I can see why so many of my friends loved this, and I don't want anyone to mistake a 3.

    A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) by V.E. Schwab

    I don't understand why anyone would think that to start with, but Londons , to be exact. There are 4 different alternate worlds out there, and the only thing they have in common is that London is a city in each of them. It's filled with desperate people willing to do bad shit for power. It's sweet without being romantic And that's a real selling point for me. I get the appeal, but it just makes me scoff at this point in my life. When I read about a couple who seem to fly into each other's arms in a fit of passion, all while declaring their undying love for each other?

    Instead of oohing and cooing like a normal person This is what I see! Ok, besides a non-awkward romance, this has a few other cool things going for it, as well. Kell's part of a magical Royal Family. Well, sorta , but not really. Is there more to her than meets the eye? I think Schwab did a good job describing the different Londons because all of them felt very real and well thought out. But I've always had a thing for alternate versions of our world stacked on top of each other, so this was right up my ally, to begin with!

    And how cool would it be to have the ability to slide in and out of each of those?! Ok, so even if it didn't really satisfy me as much as I had hoped, I'm all in for the next book! View all 43 comments. Sep 22, Candace Robinson rated it it was amazing. So, the first time I tried to read this book, I quit.

    I just could not get into it.


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    Maybe it was all the different London talk? I recently read This Savage Song and loved it, so I wanted to give this another shot. Normally, I don't change my mind about a book, but I did here! I loved the characters!!! Especially Lila, because she puts the A in awesome!!! Plus the freaking magic was a-a-mazing! Full review on my blog https: View all 6 comments. Alright, so ignoring the fact that I completely just butchered their language with my google translate skills there and the lack of any actual pages to be turned with my virtual copy , can I just say what a THRILL it was reading this book?

    Schwab's first installment of the trilogy opens doors -quite literally- to fascinating new worlds full of magic, mystery and mayhem. The camera pans to the street and one gets to see Leila watching Anastasia's apartment. Anastasia asks if he knew the girl but all he says is that he was going to take care of it. Then she goes to her new office. Being in there, she gets a message by Christian. He wants to know if she still had a job and she answers she had gotten Jack's job. When Christian gets a call, he lets go off Anastasia. She goes in the room next door and prepares the billiard table.

    Christian shows up and they start playing. But of course, there is something at stake here: If Anastasia wins, she takes him to the Red Room. If Christian wins, he gets to choose. They start playing and Anastasia loses eventually. He choses to take her right there on the billiard table. Fifty Shades Darker Comparison: