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


Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E Schwab
Hardback edition, 398 pages
Published: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Tor
4.5/5 stars


Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.


“Some thought magic came from the mind, others the soul, or the heart, or the will. But Kell knew it came from the blood. Blood was magic made manifest. There it thrived. And there it poisoned. Kell had seen what happened when power warred with the body, watched it darken in the veins of corrupted men, turning their blood from crimson to black. If red was the color of magic in balance—of harmony between power and humanity—then black was the color of magic without balance, without order, without restraint. 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.”

A Darker Shade of Magic is one of my most anticipated release of 2015. The summary sounds AMAZING. I mean, magic? Alternate Universe London? Princes? Smugglers? Thieves? Sign me up! But unfortunately my local bookstores don’t sell this book, which is why it took me so long to read this. 

But anyways! This book really lives up to my expectations! It was fast paced and action packed. It’s also a page turner, always made me wanted for more story, more explanation, more action. What happens next? What happens with the characters? I want more story about the characters stories. I WANT MORE!
World Building. It has different kinds of London. Well actually it’s the same London, but different. The way the book describes each London, it make you feels like you’re IN the London and seeing the whole thing! It also has different kind of languages. I LOVE it when the author creates fictional language for their books. It feels more real!
I also love reading about the rules and limitations of magic. And I also love how this book shows the bad side of magic.
The characters are amazing! Kell is an Antari, he’s kind, and takes his job seriously. Rhy is my favorite, because he’s playful but he’s truly cares for his people and kingdom and Kell. I love Rhy and Kell moments, but of course in brotherly way. They care about each other. And Holland. Poor Holland, I actually really liked him and want to know more about him. He’s such a complex characters, has so much layers, I wish I could know him better.

My only problem with this book is Lila. She thinks and acts like she’s the toughest, the baddest, and the most clever person, but really, she’s just too brave and sometimes her behavior brings trouble for both of them. Well yeah, she took care of Kell, but I think she’s too arrogant.

The final chapters are amazing! I devoured them so fast to find out what happen next, that I have to re-read those final chapters because I feel I hadn’t pay enough attention to the details 😀

My only advice: pay attention to everything happens to everything that happens in this book. Everything is important and it will make sense! And prepare some tissues, because so many deaths are coming! *winks*


I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! *hyperventilates* I love the writing, the world, Kell, Rhy, Holland, magic, and other characters! If you haven’t read it, you should read it soon! It’s absolutely awesome! Highly recommended!

9 Replies to “Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab”

  1. I absolutely loved your review! It's been on my TBR for a while now, and your writing may have just moved it up a gazillion places – I can't wait for my holidays to start so I can get some reading done 🙂


  2. I've only read Schwab's YA books, but I really need to change that! She's so great at world-building, and I'm glad the pattern holds true here; the idea of having four alternate versions of London is fascinating. And I love the kind of books where you have to pay attention to every detail because EVERYTHING is significant. I'm so glad to hear this one lived up to your expectations. 🙂


  3. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! Victoria is my all time favourite author, and she proved herself again with this marvelous book! I loved the writing, the world building, the characters! Everything was amazing in this book! I can't wait to read A Gathering of Shadows!


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