Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of MagicAuthor: V.E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Released: February 24th, 2015
Received: Own
Warnings: Cutting, blood
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first novel in the famous series of the same name. Written by V.E. Schwab, this is a series that I’ve heard nothing but compliments about. And it has admittedly taken me far too long to read this series. Better late than never, right?

What would you say, if I told you that there is more than one London? In the universe that V.E. Schwab has created, that is exactly the case. There are four, to be exact. Though it is not so easy to pass between them.

Kell is one of the few who can travel between the different worlds, thanks to his being Antari. He’s one of the most powerful in a city full of magic. Other cities and worlds are not so lucky. Magic comes in all shapes and sizes, and even the way it is perceived and used varies from world to world. Assuming magic is present at all.

Having the ability to travel between worlds sounds like such a treasure – even if it does come with the task of being a mail carrier for the royalty. But that isn’t enough for Kell. No, he’s seeking a thrill or two on top of that. That is, until it placed him squarely in the path of danger.


“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

Spoiler Warning

Warnings: Just a couple of quick warnings for readers to be aware of. There are several instances of cutting, as blood is a power source in this novel. The intent does alter, depending on who is casting – and who is ordering it. Likewise, there’s a lot of blood that gets mentioned.

Wow. Having read A Darker Shade of Magic, I can honestly tell you that I seriously regret having put it off for so long. This was such a brilliant read. I loved just about everything about it, from the characters, to the world and magic. It was all outstanding.

This was a novel that showed some serious writing chops. There’s extensive world building, for one thing. The fact that there are four worlds ready to be explored speaks volumes (yes, I know that Black London has yet to be shown – but I feel like that will change in later novels, or at least I hope so). Each of the Londons shown has been utterly unique, with its own rules and defining features. I devoured every last detail made available.

The story itself is told through multiple perspectives, but there are two that take dominance. The first is Kell, the Antari capable of creating doors and traveling between worlds. He is the foundation that made this entire plot possible.

The second is Lila, a thief and sneaky woman if ever there was one. Her perspectives are almost as frequent as Kell’s, and she was likewise vital to this plot. Without her stubbornness and ability to do what was demanded of her, I have no doubt that this story would have gone very differently. Her cheeky personality helped the tone of the novel as well, so that was a plus.

I have so many questions and even more theories about what is going to happen next. It has been a hot minute since I got so wrapped up into a world and series such as this. I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. But at least I get to binge the whole series at once, so that’s something, right? I’m absolutely picking up the next novel and reading it asap.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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3 Responses to Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  1. Em @ The Geeky Jock says:

    Ah! So glad you enjoyed it!! 😁 I found the second book a bit slow, but it really ramps up near the end!

    Liked by 1 person

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