Traveling between Worlds: Millennium's Rule and Shades of Magic
January 5, 2017
There are two trilogies concluding in 2017 about which I am very excited. Both are about magic and moving between worlds—and the rules about doing so—yet have completely different characters and world-building.

Shades of Magic

I often get in a conversation with people about the difference between "the best" and "my favorite" book in a given year. In 2015, I considered The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis to be the best new release I read because it was firing on all cylinders, made me think, and was well written from start to finish.

And while I loved it and recommend it to people all the time, there was something special about A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab. The reason I refer to it as my favorite book of 2015 is because it felt like the author woke up one morning and decided to write a book just for ME ME ME.

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first book in a trilogy featuring the magician Kell and the thief Delilah. Kell has the rare ability to travel between parallel worlds. Each world has a different amount of magic and thus a treatment of such. The leaders of these worlds know about the other worlds, and Kell is a messenger between the rulers of each London.

When Kell smuggles a particular contraband between worlds, the balance of magic and power between the worlds starts to unravel, with fatal consequences.

ADSoM has a noir feel with characters you love despite their flaws. The second book—A Gathering of Shadows—goes deeper into the characters and world-building as the nefarious side effects from book one slowly work their way toward the third book.

A Conjuring of Light comes out next month, and I can't wait to see what happens to Lila and Kell.

Millennium's Rule

In Thief's Magic, Trudi Canavan builds two separate worlds that deal with magic in completely different ways. Rielle lives in a world where magic is restricted to priests, yet she can't help performing magic illegally. When she is caught, she must face the Angel whose magic she has been stealing. She has no idea that there are other worlds out there, and other forms of magic.

On Tyen's world, magic is the province of academics and scientists. Magic is permissible, but is growing weaker. He stumbles into a mystery that gets him expelled and forces him to run across his world.

In Angel of Storms, both Rielle and Tyen learn about the other worlds out there and begin to travel between them. Rielle finds herself the victim of sorcerer politics as she learns who her Angel really is. Tyen is pulled into a rebellion against the returning Angel.

Compare and Contrast

These trilogies approach magic and interworld travel in completely different ways. In both trilogies, some worlds are lush with magic. Others have been sucked dry. In Schwab's Shades of Magic, one of the parallel worlds has already been destroyed. We are very much rooting for our heroes to protect and save their own world. In Canavan's Millennium's Rule trilogy, we are caught up in the fight for control of all of the worlds. Each world we visit has a different relationship with magic. Some sorcerers are aware. Others are not. A select few are exempt from the Angel's rules. We want to see the Angel overthrown and all of the worlds freed.

The tone and writing style is completely different between these authors. Yet I am sucked into both worlds. I eagerly await the final books in these trilogies. I want to see how everything comes together. I'm pretty certain one of them will have a happy ending, but I'm not sure about the other. I like not knowing--for now.

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