A Darker Shade of Magic ~ V.E. Schwab (Shades of Magic #1)


This is an amazing book. Wow. Just wow.

The Writing and Worldbuilding

V.E. Schwab is the master of exposition that doesn't feel like exposition. She has somehow managed to introduce complex worlds and systems without talking at the reader. Her dialogue is just as seemingly effortless. The banter between Kell and Lila was so fantastic, and when she formally meets Rhy, all three of them are just so great together. The imagery was fantastic and vivid. The plot was consistently intriguing and exciting. I was never bored reading this. I even read some pages out loud to my brother in a fancy British narrator voice and it sounded so great! There weren't any awkward lines or anything.

The magic system was so amazing and unique, coupled with the historical setting, this felt like a classic adventure story. The back blurb by io9 is so true: it truly does "[feel] like a priceless object, brought from another, better world of fantasy books."

The Characters

Kell: He was a fantastic hero. He wasn't overpowered despite literally being one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe, and even managed to be relatable. Also, he's totally my bookish crush right now, like oh my goodness, he's so great, I love him. Can he just be real and also my boyfriend?

Lila: She is the strong female protagonist the world needed. She manages to be a formidable fighter even when compared to the likes of Kell and Astrid Dane (while still being realistically underpowered given the fact that she couldn't use magic like them). She is witty and smart.

Holland: Dang this guy was scary. I kept reading his voice and seeing him as Mads Mikkelsen in my head, so I think that gives a good idea as to what kind of a villain he was.

Rhy: While he didn't feature much, he was consistent and very real when he did. I loved his sense of humor.

Astrid and Athos Dane: These guys were so scary oh my gosh. They were like two evil Viking demons in stark white. They were so sadistic and psychotic.


This is a new favorite, for sure. I felt like I'd been waiting for this book without knowing. I never knew there was an A Darker Shade of Magic shaped hole in my heart until I started reading it. I am intrigued to know what happens in the next two books, especially since seemingly all threats were resolved by the end. Either way, I love this book and I'm so glad I did this Buddy Read with my GR friends Saite and AnnaNeverLands.

Buy the book here: