Friday, January 1, 2016

A Darker Shade of Magic

London Multiverse! Where people drive on the right and biscuits are called "cookies"...wait... Well, in this book there are four Londons. Of course, ours (called Grey London) has the least magic (sad horns).

A Darker Shade of Magic is set about 200 years ago during mad King George's reign. How dare he think there was another London! So, while this is technically an urban fantasy it feels more like an epic fantasy. Magicians, kings, despots, pickpockets, princes, and lots of taverns. Our hero has a magic coat but does not have a magic codpiece. Well, this is the first book of the series.  I know they didn't wear codpieces in our London in 1813, but multiverses.  Maybe there is a codpiece universe, you don't know.

V.E. Schwab is the same Victoria Schwab who writes YA. V.E. is supposed to be her "adult" novelist name. The problem is...this still feels like a YA book with more violence. One does not have a wizard, who is only briefly in the book, make a seemingly offhand comment with an obvious plot point that will later be a "surprise." Readers pay attention to wizards. An adult fantasy book has wizards that secretly meet with giant eagles and tells no one.  It's hard to give me a sense of wonderment when you dumb it down. I DEMAND WONDERMENT. Anyway, it's a decent book and I actually enjoyed the worlds, but it's not very sophisticated. Perhaps we need more top hats.

Why not drink with a multiverse Old Fashioned? Winter Spiced Old Fashioned: First make a simple syrup with cardamon pods, cinnamon stick and an aniseed pod (strain the spices and cool completely). Muddle an orange slice and two maraschino cherries in the bottom of your glass. Add three ounces of bourbon or rye (per drink), the simple syrup to taste probably 1/2 ounce and ice to a shaker. Shake or stir according to your preference. Pour in your prepared glasses and garnish with an orange wedge and cinnamon stick.


  1. There's a multiverse where the codpieces are real cods.

    1. I believe that is called the Jacque (Cousteau) strap.