Book Review

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

A Darker Shade final for IrenePublished: February 25 2015

Number of pages: 398

Format: hardcover

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: fantasy, adventure, magic,

Audience: older adults

Rating: 5/5 owl hoots


Kell is one of the last travellers, a magician with the rare ability to move from one parallel world to another. There’s Grey London with no magic, White London where magic feeds on the land, and Red London where magic and humanity live in harmony. Then there’s Black London but no one talks about that anymore. Kell is a smuggler too and when he brings an object back to his London, dangerous consequences ensue. When he goes to Grey London he runs into Lila Bard, a cutthroat who saves and accompanies him on his quest to rescue all of the worlds.


First of all, let’s appreciate the beautiful design on this cover! I mean, look at that beauty! Normally I don’t like judging a book by its cover but after looking at this baby and reading the synopsis, I had to get my hands on this book. Now I have also been waiting to read a really good magical series since Harry Potter and Victoria Schwab has filled that hole of need with her brilliant new book, A Darker Shade of Magic.

Let me start off by saying that this story has the following: a magician who can travel between parallel worlds, a female pirate who cross dresses, Londons (plural), and treachery involving dark magic. The characters, the adventure, and even the magic itself breathe life through these pages! There’s so much to love about this story that I’m going to try hard not to gush while I write.

Speaking of writing I love how Victoria describes each London with detail. She explains their history and magic so well that you can clearly imagine what each London is like. Red London lives and breathes magic, while White London kind of has this Game of Thrones vibe where rulers kill to get on the throne. Grey London is like our world where magic ceases to exist and Black London is like a void after the magic sucked every living thing.

The characters within each world are as animated too including Lila Bard, the cutthroat and cross dresser who aspires to be a pirate and is thirsty for adventure. After bumping into Kell I knew they would make a great team of staying alive and fighting to save all worlds. Unlike Kell she’s really reckless but that’s what I like about her because sometimes her rash behavior can come in handy. Kell is like any magician I’ve met. He doesn’t use a wand but his own energy to control elements. The way he performs magic is incredible because it’s like he makes it appear from nowhere and nothing. Then there’s Prince Rhy who is like playboy Prince Harry. I love seeing Rhy and Kell together because they’re so compatible and Kell really looks out for him. They are like brothers and after that ending I’m curious to see what will happen to them!

The story is magical itself and flows with imagination, and the characters are enigmatic that together the whole story comes alive. The chemistry between Kell and Lila is entertaining and a little romantic, and I can’t wait to see how they meet again next time. Really looking forward to the sequel.


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