book review

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab || Book Review

Victoria SchwabTitle: A Darker Shade of Magic

            ( Shades of Magic #1 )

Author: Victoria Schwab

First published: 24. February 2015

Edition: Titan Books

                 Paperback, 400 pages

Genre: Fantasy | Young Adult | Magic


Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. 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.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, 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.

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◄ 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ►

First of all I would like to mention that this review turned out to be waaaaay longer than I thought it would be (and that I intended it to be). Apparently I just had a lot to write about this book. Enjoy my rambling! 🙂

Victoria Schwab has done it again. She has created a wonderful book that I fell in love with. On one hand I can’t believe that I waited this long to start this book, as I wanted to read it since it was announced. On the other hand I’m glad that I waited this long, as it means I don’t have to wait for the sequel to come out – I already own it and plan on starting it as soon as I finish this review. Plus the third book comes out relatively soon and that makes me very happy.


The whole concept of parallel worlds and parallel Londons was simply fascinating. Especially since they are all very different from each other, yet similar in some ways. I loved learning more about them as the story progressed and Kell traveled through them.

Red London seems magical…for the lack of better world. Everything just seems beautiful and fascinating. I would love to explore that London and see everything that it has to offer. Especially since magic is a norm there, I would love to experience some grand event (like the one we had in the book). White London honestly scares me. Everything about it, from the way it looks to the people. I just find it creepy and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it. Grey London I imagines as our world but in the past. (Which I think it also is.) It was the easiest one to imagine, for obvious reasons and one I was interested by, but not fascinated as with the others. I think it’s simply because it resembled our world and I was already familiar with that. I would have loved to learn more about Black London. The whole story with it interests me a lot and I loved hearing about it, but I wish there had been more.

I’m really glad that this is a series and that I’ll get to explore more of the world in the following books. There are definitely many more things I would love to learn about it. And Victoria Schwab is a master at world-building, so I’m even more exited because of that.


Kell was my favourite from the first page to the end. I just adore him. (You can guess who has a new fictional crush.) He was basically perfect and everything I love in a character. Not that he doesn’t have his flaws or anything like that, because he does. I love the fact that he messes up big time, but takes the blame and does everything in his power to fix said mistake. (I can’t go into that, because spoilers!) I love how sassy he is as well, his comebacks were amazing. Can we also talk about his magical coat? Because that’s amazing and I seriously want one of my own! Plus his whole Antari magic is fascinating, I really want to know more about that as well.

Lila I didn’t like in the beginning. I don’t really know what it was, it seems thats she just rubbed me wrong when she introduced herself. (So to say.) I really can’t explain it. But as the story progressed and I got to know more about her I liked her more and more. And by the end I found myself loving her! She really is amazing and I love how ruthless she is. Not that I expected anything less from her, after all she is a thief who has to survive on her own. I love the fact that she wants to be a pirate and cross-dresses and everything. Lila is wonderful character. Plus I love her and Kell’s relationship and how it progressed (from somewhat enemies to friends), plus it was amazing to see them saving each other.

Rhy is a potential favourite of mine. I say potential because we didn’t get to see enough of him for me to consider him a favourite. But I still loved what we got to see of him. He is overconfident and spoiled, as you would expect from a prince – but he is also very kind and caring and wants the best for people. I really can’t wait to find more about him! (And I’m hoping that there is a lot more of him in the next book.) Plus I love that he treats Kell like a brother and their relationship is amazing.

Holland is an Antari like Kell, which means he can travel to the other Londons as well. (I though I would mention him as well.) But Holland is seriously creepy, he unnerved me from the first page he was introduced in. Everything about him simply unsettles me. I did feel sorry for him and I was sympathetic towards him, but then he does something bad and I really hate him for it. But then he is tragic again and I don’t know. (Well, I do but I can’t mention it because of spoilers.) I’m very conflicted with my feelings towards him.


Okay. I really feel the need to talk about a lot of the things that happened in this book. But I CAN’T because it’s all spoilers!! And I don’t want to do that. So I’ll try and be vague as possible. If you have read this book, then you probably understand my struggle with this.

The story starts out rather slow, the world being introduced through Kell and his traveling to Grey London. It also continues being slow, with things happening but they are not crucial towards the main story, so to call it. That’s not a bad thing in my opinion, I do love it when fantasy stories start out slower as it allows me to get to know how the world works and in this case magic as well. But I know some people don’t enjoy books that start out slow, so I thought I should mention that here as well.

Once things started moving and some rather bad things happened, the action didn’t stop. Everything was happening all the time and the story was moving very faster. There were many twists and turns, and I was surprised by quiet a few of them (which is always wonderful). I like the direction the story took and I just flew through the second half of the book, it was impossible to put down.


If you have read through my review and gotten this far you would know that I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this book! ❤ As simple as that. The characters are wonderful (both the good and bad ones – in different ways obviously), the world fascinating and the story compelling as well. So obviously I can only recommend it! And I would definitely urge you to read it as soon as possible! This book has definitely become one of my new favourites.

Have you read A Darker Shade of Magic? Did you enjoy it? What was your favourite moment in the book? Do let me know!

Thank you very much for reading my rather long review. I hope you have a wonderful day!



27 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab || Book Review

    1. YESSS!! It was such an amazing book. Yeah, it gets a bit too slow from time to time, but I didn’t mind that at all. (I like slow fantasy books from time to time and this was one of those times.) YES for more Rhy, I’m very exited that I’ll get to see more of him. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review Anna, and oh I am so so so glad to see you loved this book. I know I’ve mentioned this time and time again but the Shades of Magic series is one of my all-time favourites. I can’t believe you waited this long to start it but at the same time, and like you said in your review, you made the right decision because the second book has been released and you don;t have long to wait until the third either (trust me after reading the second book even waiting a day before reading the third will feel like too long).
    Honestly there was so much I loved about this book I agree with everything you said about the world; I’d love to be able to visit Red London. In fact I’d love to have Kell’s powers and be able to visit all London’s (even though White London and the idea of Black London, scare me as well), I’d also love Kell’s coat. Actually let’s just say I’d love to be Kell and end it there! 😀
    I hope you enjoy the second book just as much, have you started it yet?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Beth! 🙂 I’m very happy that I loved it as well and I definitely consider this first book one of my all time favourites. (I’m also soooo glad that I finally read it, after saying I would do that for months.) Yeah, I feel that it was best that I waited this long especially if the ending of the second book is going to make me feel that way! It’s amazing when a book manages to do that, but also very frustrating to wait. At least it comes out in around a month, sooo the wait will finally be over! 🙂
      Having Kell’s power would be amazing! If that was the case I would love to visit all the Londons as well, even White London. Since Kell is powerful enough to survive there I know I would be fine as well. Hahaha, I completely understand – I love Kell as well. 😀
      I haven’t started it yet! Though I plan on starting it this weekend (or rather tomorrow). I’m seriously exited to see where the story will go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and actually if you loved this one you’ll love the second even more. It’s great to see this has made it onto your all-time favourites list, it’s at the top of mine as well! 😀
        The ending of the second book likely will but you won’t have long to wait at all which will be nice I guess.
        Same here, but I think I’d prefer to spend most of my time in Red London given that sounds like the best of all the London’s!
        Ohh, that’s great to hear, I’m sure you’ll love A Gathering of Shadows just as much then! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so glad that you ended up loving this book, Anna! I have had so many people recommend it to me and every time someone else reads and then loves it all it does is make me want to pick up the series even more. I am impatiently waiting for the last book lol. I love how it has parallel Londons. I mean I knew vaguely about that but I didn’t know about all of the different ones. I hope I end up enjoying it as much as you and that you enjoy the second book. Great review!! 😁♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was seriously a fantastic book! ❤ I'm now joining the people who recommend this book to you. I can understand you waiting for the last book though, I'm really glad that I started it this late as well because of that. Well, it comes out in around a month soooo the wait isn't that long! 🙂 I hope you end up loving it as much as I did! Thank you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it comes out in February, doesn’t it? I’ll most likely be reading all three in March as February is my last review book and reread of the two books in the series before the review book. But I can’t wait until I can finally read them. I hope so too and you’re welcome!! 😊💕

        Liked by 1 person

  3. YAY! I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book! I read this almost a year ago now, but I haven’t read the next two books yet. I am waiting for the final book to come out so I can binge read them all. 😀 I can’t wait.

    I’m glad you eventually warmed to Lila. I imagine she will soon become my favorite character in future books. I also can’t wait to learn more about Black London. Because *you know* we will! Things are obviously not settled. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was such an fantastic book! 😀 The final book comes out at the end of next month…soooo the wait is nearly over and you can read them soon.
      I’m very glad I warmed up to Lila as well, especially since I know a lot of people who love her. Hahaha, I can’t wait to learn more about Black London either! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I AM SO HAPPY YOU FINALLY READ THIS!!! We must spread the Schwab love!🎉🎉🎉
    Also White London creeped me the hell out as well and I’m glad Lila grew on you because she’s one of my all time favorite characters, a female who is actually badass! 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YESS!! I can’t believe that I waited this long to read it! (Though it’s good as well, because I won’t need to wait that long for the next book.) And YESSS we definitely need to spread the Schwab love! 🎉 ❤
      White London is beyond creepy, especially the castle with those guards. It gives me the shivers. Lila definitely grew on me, she is one of my favourites now as well. I have a feeling I'll love her even more when I read the next book, which I'm very exited about. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is easily one of my favorite books ever. It may make the top of the list, I’m debating. I’m considering re-reading it since A Conjuring of Light comes out next week. I keep checking my pre-order like somehow it is going to get delivered before the official release date. One can hope! They are such strong and interesting characters and I’m dying to know what happens with Rhy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a fantastic book! It’s definitely become one of my favourites as well. Well, rereading a book to get even more exited for the sequel is the best! I hope you get to read A Conjuring of Light soon. I agree, they are such strong characters!


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