Series Review – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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.


This entire series is a solid 5 star, mind blowing, amazing read.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  I’ve included the blurb from ADSOM above, because I don’t think I could ever do it justice on my own.

Genuinely this is everything I wanted from a fantasy series and more.  It it dark, and gritty but full of sass and genius.  There’s no romance (I’m not sure two brief kisses for luck count), only intrigue and adventure. And this is SO much better for it, it was so nice to not want to yell at characters for instalove or something! It took me a little while to pick up all aspects of the world building, but it works well cause when you do, they really take shape as separate places. White london in particular comes across as vicious and scary, and is so well done.

Also, I want Kell’s coat.  Much like everyone who reads this series, I expect!

The characters are so perfect, even when they’re being anything but.  Kell is so intriguing. I love that we see his love for Rhy, but his complicated feelings for his parents. And Lila is a great character too – spunky and slightly violent, my favourite sort. My love for her knows no bounds, she is hands down my favourite. Sassy pirate bad ass 😍😍😍😍

I just love how VE Schwab writes.  Though beware the stunning and evil cliffhanger at the end of book two, and the heartbreak scattered liberally through book 3!

4 thoughts on “Series Review – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  1. This trilogy is just so so so so so so so so good. It’s rich in quality and description, the details just create this unbelievably immersive reading experience. I love how multi-facted the characters are and how Schwab didn’t let romance get in the way of the plot, but rather had a vague suggestion as an incidental by-product.

    I just love them, and her, so much. It’s such a great idea that was brilliantly executed

    Liked by 1 person

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