VE Schwab’s fantasy novel A Darker Shade of Magic is to be adapted for a limited TV series after being optioned by G-BASE, Gerard Butler’s production company. Schwab herself has been tapped to pen the pilot episode, and we can only hope the series will turn out more compelling than some recent disappointing fantasy adaptations, such as Syfy with its appallingly paced Magicians, or MTV with the unbearably tedious Shannara Chronicles.
As a lot of fiction makes sure we never forget, London is at the centre of the known universe and all existence revolves around it. A Darker Shade of Magic manages to advance the idea, taking place in four different versions of the city across parallel dimensions: Grey London, the city of our world almost devoid of magic and ruled over by the mad King George III; White London, a wretched hive where life is a constant struggle for survival in a city ruled by whoever has wrangled enough magic to kill their way to the top; Red London, the capital of a vibrant and magic-rich empire presided over by a benevolent royal dynasty; and Black London, a post-apocalyptic wasteland shut off from other dimensions to contain the destructive forces that devoured it.
Between these realms hops Kell, a messenger who delivers missives between the monarchs of each city and uses his position to run a smuggling operation on the side. While on a routine job he encounters Lila, an orphaned teenage thief with aspirations of being a pirate captain.
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