Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (shades of magic #1) – V.E. Schwab


4 Stars

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date:  February 24th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


This was an awesome book! Much better than I thought it would be. I was a bit scared that it would be boring. Sometimes non romance fantasy books about bad ass wizards can get a bit emotionless. They become so bad ass that they don’t need human companionship and feel to good about themselves (definitely not my kind of books). I don’t need romance to find a book good, but I NEED EMOTIONS. Thank God, because this book had real “human” wizards! The characters where bad ass and cool, and they still felt human enough.

Lila is one of my all time favourite characters. I love her awesome pirate mentality! She doesn’t let anyone decide for her and she is unstoppable. She just does her thing and makes sure she survives.

It was really well written. It read like a fairy tale, all the descriptions about the different Londons were so magical and creative. This was clearly my favourite thing about the entire book. I love books where you can really see the while city before you, this book came pretty damn close.

some notes of critique: For a long time I was wondering why the neighbouring Lodons would bother sending letters to each other. For the last couple hundredths of years there are only a handful of people would could cross, so why bother even getting people who are so important to other more dangerous Londons? At some point it got more clear, but I feel like there would have been so much less danger if you just ignored the other Londons. But of course there wouldn’t be a story if they just lived there own lives in there own Londons. It just seems that two people is not a good reason to keep the whole communication thing going. (If I see this wrong, or someone looks different at this, please tell me. I really want to know)

Something else that bothered me was that there tended to be huge enormous problems that got fixed really fast and easy. I can’t give many examples because that would spoil everything. But I can give one example. At one point the white queen sits on her throne and she’s only protected by a spell around the dais. Lila can just end this spell by erasing one mark with her knife. Why would someone go trough all that trouble of drawing all those symbols if it’s that easy to end the spell? Those mistakes where made more toward the end of the book.

I can’t wait to start with the next book in this series!


buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Tell me what you think!