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

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

Goodreads Rating: 4.05 / 5 Stars

My Rating: 5 / 5 Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic

Recommend to: Anyone who loves a good magical fantasy. This book is full of great characters and dark mysterious magic.

The magic system, characters, and exciting plot make this book the wonderful read it is.


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.

My Review

Straight from the get-go, Kell is such an intriguing character. The book opens with his magical many-sided coat and VE Schwab had me at her memorablfirst line. “Kell wore a very peculiar coat.” 

This magic system is a very unique and interesting one. There are limits which can be pushed in special situations. I love that magic itself is woven through the worlds. In each parallel London, it has been used and manifested and ultimately evolved differently.

Kell is a great character. He doesn’t mean to look for trouble but somehow always ends up in the middle of it. I loved following him through his dangerous adventure of this first book.

I both love and hate that our London is technically Grey London. I love that it makes the story so very realistic and believable. I hate that our world has no magic… supposedly 😉

My favorite place is, of course, the tavern that can be found in any London – The Sacred Bone/ Stones Throw/ Ruby Fields. This fixed point is such a lovely safe – albeit dingy – place.

VE Schwab is a genius in plot and character development. Her pace is perfect for each scenario changing from fast to slow when needed. This story is very exciting and although it took me over a month to read – I loved it. It took me a while to get used to the world and the magic system. I only started getting into the story itself about halfway in but I did adore her characters from the beginning. I had mixed feelings about our thief when we first met her but she quickly redeemed herself.

The format is odd but I really like it. It is written in chapters but each chapter is written in parts usually between 3/5 parts per chapter. It made reading the book easier and smoother. The best thing about this book is Schwab’s writing. She has such a beautiful and descriptive way with her words. I really did enjoy reading this book from beginning to end.

I will be continuing reading this series soon!

Happy Reading !

Gizelle  ✨


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