Posted in Reviews

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) (Non-Spoiler)

VE Schwab’s writing style was definitely a talent to live for. I will literally read anything she writes, even if it was a grocery list.


This book was about Kell, one of the last magician, and has the ability to travel into different Londons. Yup, plural, LONDONS. He serves for the King and Queen of Red London. But one day, while he was in the middle of travelling between Londons, he was caught in an unexpected trouble. The story was his journey of fixing it and along his way, he fought enemies, met friends, and a lover?

“Sure I do,” countered Lila cheerfully. “There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London,” she recited, ticking them off on her fingers. “See? I’m a fast learner.”

― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

I delved in this book with my expections high. I’ve been hearing nothing but great reviews about this book and the way how everyone describe it was what pushed me to reading it. High Fantasy, magic, fascinating world, beautiful writing style, were some of the words that automatically means that I have to read it! and so I did…

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Oh VE Schwab, you have such an amazing talent, a gift. At first I had trouble with VE Schwab’s writing style because it was the first book I read written by her. But I was glad that I was able to get used to it in short time. VE Schwab’s writing style was definitely a talent to live for. I will literally read anything she writes, even if it was a grocery list. Being a reader, I’ve encountered numerous authors already. But VE Schwab’s writing style was noticably great among most of them. She was able to narrate the story beautifully and seamlesly. Her writing has a signature, if ever there will be a book that would be written by her with a bunch of authors, I think I would be able to tell which part was written by her just by how exquisite her composition was.

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” he asked Lila now.
She looked at him as if it were a strange question. And then she shook her head. “Death comes for everyone,” she said simply. “I’m not afraid of dying. But I am afraid of dying here.” She swept her hand over the room, the tavern, the city. “I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”

― Victoria Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic


The plot of A Darker Shade of Magic was hard to grasp at first because it was slow. There was even a time when I almost forfeited reading the book, which gladly did not happen. I kept pushing to read because there was a glimpse that it would be great. The world was starting to get fascinating, the plot was building up, and I was starting to get invested in the life of the characters. The moment I reached a hundred or more pages, everything was worth it!

Kell was from Red London and he was a messsenger of the royals. He bring letters from the Red Palace to the other Londons. While he was in his journey, he smuggle things back and forth in between Londons for the people who are curious to see a glimpse of the other Londons they will never be able to see. The trouble comes when Kell smuggled a thing, a dangerous thing, which he should not be smuggling at all. We follow his journey of getting this item back to where it was originally from.

The Different Londons (From Best Fantasy Books HQ)


Kell Maresh – Kell was the adopted Antari Prince. As an Antari he was able to perform rare and powerful magic. He was a sweet brother, a sweet person in general. He cares for people that matters in his life and would do anything to protect them. He was willing to sacrifice everything, even his life, for the people he geniunely love. He was an awesome protagonist overall.

“As Athera. To grow.

As Pyrata. To burn.

As Illumae. To light.

As Orense. To open.

As Anase. To dispel.

As Hasari. To heal.

As Travars. To Travel.”

― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

Lila Bard – Lila was a skilled pickpocket. She steals from people to survive the everyday life. She dreams to have her own ship someday and be a pirate. She was basically an anti-hero. She hurt and killed people along her path. But despite that, she was soft and funny. Just don’t enrage her. She was my favorite character because she wad sassy and actually sweet when in mood.

“I apologize for anything I might have done. I was not myself.”
“I apologize for shooting you in the leg.” said Lila. “I was myself entirely.”

― V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

Rhy Maresh – Rhy was the biological son of the King and Queen of Red London, the crown prince, the brother of Kell. He does or does not possesses magic. He cares for Kell, he loves his brother so much and always remind Kell that don’t get involve in any trouble. I was not able to know him deeply because his appearance in this book was limited. But I’m looking forward to know him better in the next books.

Athos and Astrid Dane – They can choke.

Holland Vosijk – He was cool, but he can choke too.


I gave this book 4 stars on goodreads. The writing was splendid. The plot was okay. The characters were great. This book was dark, mysterious, and adventure-packed, but it was dragging at some point. I guess it was my high expectation that made this book not reach the perfect five stars. I was looking forward to seeing a bunch of characters but that did not happen. VE Schwab’s writing style was what I enjoyed the most. It was my first VE Schwab’s book and I was amazed, she was such a talented author. I would highly recommend this book! I also listened to its audiobook but I’m not sure if I will recommend it because some of the character’s voices, in my opinion, was not the way I imagined it it would be.


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About The Author


Victoria “V.E.” Schwab is the #1 NYT, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song. Her work has received critical acclaim, been featured by EW and The New York Times, been translated into more than a dozen languages, and been optioned for TV and Film. The Independent calls her the “natural successor to Diana Wynne Jones” and touts her “enviable, almost Gaimanesque ability to switch between styles, genres, and tones.”
Twitter: @veschwab
Instagram: @veschwab
Goodreads: VE Schwab



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