A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | REVIEW

A Darker Shade of Magic
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1)
Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Action & Adventure
Pages: 400
Format: Audiobook

A Darker Shade of MagicKell 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.



A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab is the first book in the Shades of Magic Trilogy. It follows Kell who has the ability to travel through parallel universes; to be more specific parallel Londons. Along the way he meets Lila and he gets trapped in a smuggling conspiracy. Now he must try and stop White London’s tyrant rulers from crossing over and taking over.

My Likes

Fantastic Characters

I never doubt Schwab’s ability to create distinct and memorable characters, which is the case for A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell was a such a joy to read. He was cool and intriguing. I know there are many layers to him as a character that I can’t wait to explore further into the series.

Lila was loud and abrasive at times. Always fighting to get her way. I liked that she never stood down from a challenge and she stuck her neck on the line to help Kell when he needed it most.

Witty Dialogue

I listened to A Darker Shade of Magic on audiobook. This format enhanced the dialogue for me to a higher level then I would of had if I physically read it. Because of this I got to hear how witty and intelligent it was. Kell, Lila and the other characters had such distinct voices and mannerisms to the way they talked.

Schwab must have worked hard on getting the dialogue and London lingo right. She really did her research and it shows with how she chose to write it.

Top-Notch World Building

Not only did Schwab create one distinctive London, but she created four of them all together. It takes some serious skill to do so. Not a single one was like the other. It was a fun journey following Kell as he traveled between Londons. The people, the customs, the kingdoms were all so vivid in description!

I can’t wait to see what Schwab will have in store for us in the rest of the series.

My Dislikes

Lack of Interest in the Plot

I’m not going to lie. The plot was lacking for me. I thought A Darker Shade of Magic was going to be totally different than what it was. I was a bit disappointed that nothing overly exciting happened until the very end.

Now I understand that it is the first book in a series and that the full scope of the plot won’t be revealed right away. I was just hoping for more, if you understand.

I highly recommend this one if you like parallel universes, magic powers, and tyrannical rulers. Let me know what you guys thought of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab! I would love to hear your opinions as well!

Until next time,




Victoria SchwabVictoria is the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, she has been known to say “tom-ah-toes,” “like,” and “y’all.”

She also tells stories.

She loves fairy tales, and folklore, and stories that make her wonder if the world is really as it seems.

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Jesse Nicholas lives in Toronto, Canada. He is an aspiring writer and one day wishes to have a novel published. Along with writing, Jesse enjoys music, travel, trashy TV, and is an avid reader of anything in the Young Adult and Fantasy/Sci-Fi genres. He is currently posts reviews on the novels he reads on his blog, and spends hours upon hours coming up with ideas for a future stories.

10 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab | REVIEW”

  1. I legitimately thought that I was the only one who hadn’t read this series yet. I have tried a couple of times, but I couldn’t get into it. I am definitely going to try again, because I love this author, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had that book on my shelf for months, and I don’t know what I’m doing with my life, because I haven’t picked it up yet! It got me at parallel Londons. I just… I couldn’t say no to it. Besides, I loved reading The Archived and This Savage Song, so I have to try another book from V. Schwab ❤ Thanks for the review, Jesse!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always thought I was alone in not being entirely blown away by A Darker Shade of Magic, because I too thought that the plot and pacing was kind of meh … The second book starts out reeeeally slow as well, but the third just has one thing happening after the other without you being able to take a breath. I hope you’ll enjoy the other books! The characters are really worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d say this series is definitely more of a character driven book. The second book is slow in it’s pacing and plot but the pay off is worth it for the character insights and the non-stop action of the third book. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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