A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

19228241_363177094097107_7780854004308770816_n(1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Okay, let’s just take a moment here before I start screaming about this book – because that’s exactly what I’m about to do. This book was magic – truly. To be completely honest, V. E. Schwab is one of those authors that is supremely hyped up. Everywhere you go, you hear about her magic – and honestly, I swore I would never to read one of her books because I mean, insane hype is never right. But I was wrongggggggggggggggg, and now I’m V. E. Schwab trash.

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.

Oh, where do I even begin? V. E. Schwab’s writing is gold. Seriously. Every sentence she writes just works perfectly. You easily get lost in her world and her writing style and even when I was staring down this book, in no way did I ever think I was going to fly through it. But with her writing style and quick, brief chapters (without ever being too choppy), I flewwwwwwwwww through this. I will literally pick up any book by her now because I know her writing is that good.

The world building? Amazing. I mean, you’re taking the most used city in fantasy and creating four distinct versions of it. How epic is that? There’s no way that she could ever do it perfectly, but she does. I will admit that I got a touch confused in the beginning with the kings, but once you get into the groove, it doesn’t matter or happen again because she helps the reader along so well. And the plot? It keeps getting crazier and crazier until you’re flipping the pages faster than normal and you’re afraid that you’re going to get yelled at by your best friend for accidentally ripping her book pages.

There was definitely no sleeping in this book.

The characterssssssssssssss. I totally see how Lila Bard could win against Inej in Book Madness this year. They are both epicly fierce ladies – mentally, physically, and emotionally. She’s totally a Mulan character, and I just want characters like her in every book – kicking butt, taking names, and totally just showing some major girl power.

And Kellllllllllllllllllllllll. Oh, Kell. A++++ hero. Kind, level-headed, fighter for what he believes in.

And I can already tell Rhy is going to be a fun one.

Oh, I don’t even know what else to talk about. Characters were complex, detailed, and a lot of fun. The writing was amazing – both in writing style and plot. I was enthralled with each twist and turn, and the world building was exquisite. There was no real ship to talk about, but I was excited that I didn’t even care. Everything was just great. Of course I had to finish this at the end of the month, right when I was deciding to go all contemporary, but I literally canNOT wait for the second one.

Five crowns and an Aurora rating, since it’s a true classic!


Check it out:

What do you think? Have you read this series? Are there any books you’re afraid to read due to the major hype surrounding the author? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

67 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

  1. This is already on my TBR from another blog’s review, but this just reinforced my excitement at having it on there. I try to avoid taking any hype into account, regarding the author or otherwise, when choosing books to read, especially because authors aren’t always consistent in their work almost as a rule. Sometimes they hit all the right notes, and other times their ambition gets the best of them. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooh, yay! And you’re totally right. I’ve read authors that are super hyped and loved certain works and hated others. I think the pressure once they get there really affects it as well. But you’re totally right about how it factors in. And thanks so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have not! My friend is reading it now, though, and I’ll have to steal it from her after that. XD But yes!! It was totally amazinggggggggggggg. If you loved it, you will definitely love this one!


  2. Ahhhhh I love this review!! I agree with everything you said! The world building in these books are FANTASTIC. I think you’ll really like the second one, from what I’ve seen of your book tastes! But I’m also a little biased because it’s my favorite of the series 😉 I love these books so much!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much!! Just looking at the book, I had no clue that it was going to be that amazing, but you’re so right about the world building. And oooooh, I’m super excited. I heard it’s a little slow to get into? But I’m definitely planning on finishing up the series in July and now with your rec, I can’t waitttttttt (even more than I did before).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would agree that it is a little slow to get into, but once the plot picked up I couldn’t put it down! Gathering of Shadows was the most fun of the three books for me (but I did enjoy the third as well!!). It’s just such an adventurous series!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review, I’ve been wanting to V. E Schwab’s books for awhile but have been reluctant to because of the immense hype. This book sounds so good so maybe someday I’ll take the plunge and read them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the sameeeeeeeeeeee reaction to them. I had no desire to read them because I mean, how could the hype be real? I totally recommend it, though, because this was amazing. You’ll have to let me know if you ever decide to do. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, it’s always hard to get back into them when that happens. But I definitely encourage you because it gets really good. 😀 You’ll definitely have to let me know if you do! 😀 Thanks so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, as a whole the action/pacing changes. Sometimes it’s a little slow as she does world building and character development, then boom! Action! Or hilarious character being hilarious. I loved the Tournament, I think that’s the most fascinating part of the story.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yaaay!! So glad you loved this one, too! I finally caved to the hype near the beginning of this year and read the trilogy. Best decision of my life! It took me a bit to get used to Lila, but by the end she grew on me, and by the last book, she was easily a favorite of mine! And Kell…ain’t he just the cutest!? Rhy is also a fantastic characters. All Schwab’s characters are fantastic, actually. So well-written. I agree, the world-building is wonderful and the writing is just so smooth and hooks you easily. Such an amazing book. Wonderful review! Can’t wait to see what you think of the next one! 😀 It gets even crazier!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review. You put my own excitement and feels into words. I just finished this trilogy a month ago and I’m still fangirling! Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab is one of my new favorite series! The world, characters, plot, writing, etc. is 100% fantastic. Since you loved Lila, Kell and Rhy, you will be happy to know that book two focuses even more on the characters and their development. You will also be introduced to Alucard Emery. Book two is slower, plot-wise and conflict-wise (in my opinion), but it’s still a great read. Happy reading!
    Jessica @ Pore Over the Pages

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oooo. That’s a hard question; I’m not sure if I can choose. I liked the third book the most. The first book was amazing. Book two was great for character development, but it didn’t have as much intensive conflict. In book 3, I liked the wrap up for the series and I loved the introduction of new characters and character development.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahahahaha yes! What would we do without it? I feel like I’ve been extra good this month acting sticking to a themed TBR so I feel like I can tackle my mountain of books…only to realize it’s a mountain. :O

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You can do it! You have done a great job sticking to a themed TBR! Kudos to you. I don’t know if I could do that for a whole month. I kind of wish I didn’t love all genres of YA so much. It would be so much easier if I just really liked one. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you, Krysti! I will admit that this week I kind of died out because I am *le gasp* not in the mood for my final Bigfoot on the TBR (no, I do not know how this happened). But lol, so true. Then you wouldn’t be as tempted by all the amazing books out there. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely agree with everything you said!! I was so happy to know you loved it, Mandy, you have no idea! We can totally fangirl with everyone else now XD Of course, now that the other two books are out, we absolutely need to get to them ASAP so as not to miss the amazing train that is Shades of Magic!
    I, too, didn’t want to pay any mind to the major V.E. Schwab hype, but I’m so glad I gave in! Best. Decision. Ever.
    Kell is a sweet cinnamon bun that needs to be protected at all costs. But I honestly didn’t like Lila all that much at first. She did win me over in the end, though. And Rhy was a blast! I’m hoping we get to see him more often.
    Lovely, lovely review! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES YES YES, SOPHIE. I want to quickly get to the second one in July since I’m totally stuck in I JUST WANT TO TO READ MORE state. But we can, Sophie, and it will be amazing.
      Hehehehehe yesssssssssssss. You summed Kell up perfectly. ❤ I'm hoping so about Rhy as well since he will be a ton of fun. And super true about Lila! Thanks so much, Sophie!


      1. I know that feeling! I think when I finished the first book the second one wasn’t out yet though :/ I’m not sure… If it was, I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I DIDN’T READ IT XD
        But yeah, we’re sooo doing this, Mandy! We’d be terrible fans if we didn’t XD I can’t wait to get more Kell goodness… And Lila, of course 😛
        You’re very welcome, darling ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. AHHHHH this one sounds so amazing! But hype has been killing my mood for it!!! I really really want to read it! I want to be VE Schwab trash toooooo!!! This was such a great review Mandy! Now I am even more excited for it!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I just finished this one last week! It had been on my to-read list for AGES and I was sooooo glad I finally picked it up! It was the first time I have read anything by Schwab and I was so impressed. The world building was so wonderful and I adored the characters. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My TBR pile from the library is currently exploding, so I won’t get to book 2 for a while. But it gives me something to look forward to! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Great Post! I’ve been reading so many excellent reviews on The Shades of Magic Series recently, I’m so excited to start it soon. Its been buried in my TBR pile like FOREVER!
    I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump these past few weeks and I think some YA fantasy and suspense is just what I need at this point!
    Thanks for sharing and happy reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.