It’s been a few months since the events at the climax of A Darker Shade of Magic, and Kell is back in Red London. Having saved his ‘brother’ by binding Rhy’s life to his own, Kell is now finding that his adopted ma and pa, the King and Queen of Red London, are loathe to let him out of their sight lest harm come to him, though not for his own sake but that of their heir. And so Rhy comes up with a scheme to let him blow off some steam – entering The Element Games, a spectacular tournament of magic that attracts the best magicians from across the realm – although, being an Antari, Kell will have to enter in disguise.
Meanwhile former Grey Londoner Delilah Bard is making her own way in this new world, finally realising her dream of a life of piracy on the open seas. She may not be a captain yet, but the one she has – Alucard Emery – has some pretty neat magical tricks up his sleeve and is helping Lila to start mastering her own. And they just happen to be heading toward The Element Games too.
And in a different world, an enemy thought vanquished is building their strength and their dying world anew, which promises terrible consequences for everyone.
I enjoyed this instalment even more than the first, as we got to learn a little more about how Kell’s world and society works rather than hopping about and only picking up their superficial aspects. We get to learn more about his relationship with his family, especially with Rhy, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the turn that Rhy’s backstory took. But it’s Lila who once again steals the whole show with more of a focus on her badassery, whether that be on land or sea, using her cunning or her growing magic. She gets all of the best moments, all of the best lines, and even all of the best outfits – even against Kell’s magical multi-sided coat – and I’m excited to see where her character will go from here.
It won’t be long before I come back to find out.