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

Would it be a problem if I told you that for this entire book I listened to one and only one song

and of all the songs

Zayn’s “sHe”?


Name: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: February 4, 2015


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.

Book Cover Comments

The simplicity and graphic design are absolutely fun: the contrasting London maps placed upon the white background, as well as Kell in a minimalistic style.

The Actual Review

Absolutely AMAZING.

As much as the fact that the book started off a bit slow and it took me like a week or two to finally finish the book, there wasn’t one slow part where the book wasn’t enjoyable. Every single bit was not wasted and added on to the plot, the final build-up truly magnificent.

The best part of the book belongs to no other than the world building: the Londons that Victoria has constructed, the details of each London, the differences and relationships between them, as well as the way of magic in the Londons. Each world created was so rich, the scent of magic overflowing throughout the book and filling my nostrils with a strong scent of beauty and construction.

We meet some amazing characters, each of them under each of their own past and history. As the characters cross and their paths intertwine, more events get stirred up as Kell and Lila attempt to make their way across the Londons to return something that didn’t belong to them: and with the presence of magic near them grew stronger and stronger that leads them to their last destination near the finale, I felt nothing but being drawn more and more to the book and the world of London.

Kell and Lila are also lovely main characters: Lila especially, with her flamboyant and brave demeanour that one of a historical London would not have; her desire for adventure to travel the seven seas made her an absolutely great companion to Kell: one whose loyalty is stronger than anything, sworn to protect his brother to the extents of doing whatever he could to protect the one he loves.

While the ending bit felt a bit “that’s it?” and a little too Deus ex Machina, I believe I found it a fair ending to end and wrap up the story for book one. As much as the fact that the ending came too easily, knowing that there is another book does indeed excite me despite my opinion on how this book is complete in itself, worthy to be a standalone novel.

Loyal and adventurous characters, Kell and Lila set sail across the Londons on a journey, encountering A Darker Shade of Magic that might bring power, or doom.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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