A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Woah, woah, woah. Let me just try to wrap my head around this incredible book I only picked up a few days ago. Oh wait, I’m sorry, I can’t. A Darker Shade of Magic is such a beautiful, incredible peace or work by the One and Only V.E. Schwab! If you’ve only read the Monsters of Verity duology of hers so far, prepare yourself for the masterpiece called ADSOM. As always, my review is spoiler free!

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

My Review

Where do I even start? Well, the beginning sounds good, doesn’t it? Honestly, I struggled. I read the first pages about five times (with family interrupting me) and taking in the words of the first few chapters felt like an impossible task. Then eventually I got into it, and I literally FLEW through this book. As in, I read the first half on day one pretty much with only one interruption, and then the other half on day two literally without stopping.

V.E. Schwab wrote a masterpiece. Seriously, this world is so incredible. It’s quite complex yet if anyone asked me right now to do a presentation on the structure of the Four Londons and the way Kell can move through them, I could do it on the spot. I often forget world building details in books, but I just couldn’t forget. It was explained so well and easily, as if it wasn’t complex at all.

Victoria creates amazing characters. From page one, Kell and his peculiar coat have me intrigued. Also, read this about the art of opening lines. It’s spot on and I love it. Then there’s Rhy, who I wish we’d seen more of, rather than heard of through Kell, but I still just love to death. And Lila. Oh boy, I never thought I’d love a character who’s so set on becoming a pirate. Because I don’t like pirates. But now I do. And Holland! Maybe I’m biased as I’m from the Netherlands/Holland, but still, I’m in LOVE. Despite the role he plays, he’s a real awesome badass. I literally just love all these characters. Victoria has the ability to vaguely introduce new characters without me getting annoyed about it. I’m often so bothered by the sudden introduction of an unknown character, but I didn’t mind at all!

I usually only read YA, so reading Adult Fantasy was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. Like I said before, I found it a little difficult to get through the first few chapters. The plot, however, was perfect. It was super consistent and intense and I LOVED it. It’s unlike anything I’d ever read before and I’m so intrigued by these parallel Londons and the magic!

My Rating

Overall, I consider A Darker Shade of Magic one of this year’s favourite. It’s magical, captivating and just incredible from page one. I can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner! I seriously cannot wait to pick up A Gathering of Shadows. Argh, I already do not want this trilogy to end!

About A Darker Shade of Magic

From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, 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 the royals of each London.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a 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—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.

Titan Books | Goodreads | Book Depository*

Have you read the Shades of Magic trilogy yet? Which book is your favourite?

* This post contains affiliate links. More info in my Affiliate Disclaimer.



  • dominique_x

    I haven’t read ADSOM yet, but after reading this review I really want to. I enjoyed reading This Savage Song and I really like Victoria’s writing style, so I hope I will be able to pick this book up soon <3

    • Ayla

      Omg yet I’ll hope you’ll be able to pick it up soon, too! It’s such an incredible book! It’s different from This Savage Song but so, so good! I honestly wish I’d read the trilogy sooner! I’m currently reading the second book and it’s absolutely incredible! 😉

  • Elizabeth Hunter

    Oh my word! This sounds incredible! I think this is the first actual review I’ve read, I just keep seeing people post pics, and it’s on so many TBRs and wrap ups. I NEED to get my hands on this ASAP!

    • Ayla

      It absolutely is! It’s definitely a book worthy of being at the very top of the TBR pile! I hope you’ll get to read it soon, I’m sure you’ll love it!

    • Ayla

      It absolutely is! It’s definitely a book worthy of being at the very top of the TBR pile. I hope you’ll get to read it soon, I’m sure you’ll love it! 🙂

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