A Darker Shade of Magic- Non-spoiler Review

Author: V. E. Schwab

Publisher: Titan Books

Publication Date: February 27th 2015

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopia, Magic

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

My Rating:  🐉🐉🐉🐉



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.

Shades of Magic series 
1. A Darker Shade of Magic 
2. A Gathering of Shadows 
3. A Conjuring of Light 

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” 
The title to this book is incredibly fitting for the story because it really does show you a darker shade of magic and how complex it is. If you’re interested in seeing a new take on magical powers that isn’t whimsical and straightforward then do pick this book up! It’s not a very fast paced book, it took me 4 days to finish it. It was just new enough that you wouldn’t get bored and slow enough so that you wouldn’t get confused. ADSOM is my first Schwab book but I’m definitely going to read the rest of her books because she’s one author I have come to love. I frankly can’t even find any flaws in this book besides some predictable events.
The story takes place somewhere in the 18th century which is a time period I’m obsessed with! I just adore everything about that time and it reminded me of one of my favourite book series The Infernal Devices.
There isn’t much romance yet between the characters and I found that to be refreshing, because it creates a much more realistic scenario.
“As an Antari, Kell was made of both, balance and chaos; the blood in his veins, like the Isle of Red London, ran a shimmering, healthy crimson, while his right eye was the color of spilled ink, a glistening black.”
The author creates complex characters that might not be easily relatable to but are very compelling. They’re arrogant, intelligent, and brave without seeming unrealistic. They’re not completely good nor completely bad. They’ve all had reasons to do things they’re not proud of but they still try to do what they think is right.
Kell is part of the Royal family but not really, because he was taken for his rare Antari powers from his real home. He loves his brother-heir to the throne-to death but that doesn’t stop him from questioning his unknown heritage. He’s conflicted between his devotion to his family and protecting them from dark magic that’s threatening their world.
Lila is a cross dressing thief who dreams of getting her own ship and becoming a pirate. She’s a witty, fearless, and hungry for adventure. She just can’t stand being indebted to anyone, she refuses to accept help that anyone offers.
Rhy-Kell’s brother- sounded like a really fun charming character but alas we got to see very little of him. I wished to see him and Kell be awesome brothers to each other and make me love them even more but oh well that didn’t happen. I really hope he contributes to the plot in A Gathering of Shadows.
“The bodies in my floor all trusted someone. Now I walk on them to tea.” 
The Dane twins on the other hand will send shivers down your spine! They’re the villains of this story and they’re just so so ruthlessly evil! They rule their creepy London by controlling everyone’s minds and torturing anyone that dares defy them! They’re clever and cunning which makes them even more formidable and dreadful.
Like I mentioned before, the reader is slowly eased into this new world. No info dump YAY! There’s a lot of things like parallel Londons and different royal families to keep up with so it may take a while for the big picture to be seen. But I really enjoy this style of introduction where the world is fleshed out first and then the action and murder begins.
As problems arise and new characters are introduced the plot becomes action-packed and exciting! You won’t be able to catch your breath till the ending of the book! The ending is good and it leaves a lot of things open for the sequels.
Writing Style:
The authors writing is easy and fun to read with good balance between descriptions and conversations. It matched the slightly dark theme of the novel and never really hyperbolized anything like many authors seem to do in YA. The language was sophisticated which is what you’d expect from 18th century London.
A Darker Shade of Magic was a fun refreshing read that’ll transport you to a whole new world. The author knows how to structure characters in ways that they’ll stick in your mind after finishing the book. It’ll keep you worried sick over the characters till you finsih it! I can’t wait to read the second book in this series!

Have you read this book? Lets discuss it in the comments below!


Happy Reading!




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