{ARC Review} A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Posted February 20, 2015 by Bee in Reviews / 18 Comments

{ARC Review} A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic

by Victoria Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Pages: 400
Published on February 24th 2015
by Tor Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Also by this author: The Archived, Vicious, A Gathering of Shadows, This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1), Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity, #2)

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once 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 royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her '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 — trickier than they hoped.

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

5 Stars

I must control my emotions. If I don’t, I won’t find any words to say and just throw a bunch of gif’s here and be done with it. Honestly guys, what else did you expect from this book? My expectations were high when I first found this book, they grew with each raving review I read and still this brilliant woman manages to surpass them all. A Darker Shade of Magic is… too fantastic to describe in one word. Or a hundred.

A Darker Shade of Magic is about Kell, he’s an antari, a blood magician. He’s one of the only ones left and he can travel between worlds from one London to the next. There’s grey London, boring and with no magic left. Red London, vibrant and full of magic, where Kell was raised alongside Prince Rhy. White London, where people fight for magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its bones. And once upon a time there was Black London. When a dark object falls into Kells hands on one of his trips, he flees to Grey London and runs into Lila, who robs him and then saves his life a few hours later. Together they embark on an adventure to save all the worlds, but they need to stay alive first.

Magic, pirates, multiple londons, epic magic fights, sadistic kings and queens,… All of that is in this book. And so much more. I have 16 post-its in my copy of ADSOM with passages I loved. And yeah, that may not seem much, but that’s because during the second half I was too engrossed to stick post-its on every passage I liked. I received this book in the mail yesterday and I literally squeeled and happy danced when I saw this gorgeous book and an awesome double sided poster signed on both sides! I cannot thank Leah over at Tor enough for this. It’s so awesome!

Of course the writing is great. Victoria Schwab gets better with every book she writes and in a vlog she said that this book is “the most me I’ve ever been” and if that’s true, than keep being you V. Seriously. I will read anything you write because I always end up loving it. That’s why you’re currently on the top of my author auto-buy list. You suck me into your books and they don’t let me go. I’m still reeling from this one. I almost feel bad for the book that will follow this one.

I adored Kell. He’s so awesome and I just loved him to bits. I fell in love with him the moment I read about his peculiar coat. So the first page. And Lila, oh my god, Lila. Lila is such a bad ass. I love strong female characters and she’s one of them. She doesn’t need someone saving her, she can handle herself. And I loved her bond with Kell and how it grew throughout the book. I wouldn’t call it romance just yet. Though I wouldn’t mind if it went that way in the next book of the series. I also loved Rhy and yeah, I also liked Holland. In the end I feel bad for him. Athos and Astrid were terrifying and just plain crazy. I did not like them. It wouldn’t be good if I did.

A Darker Shade of Magic is epic, dark, beautifully written and so damn awesome. Again V.E. Schwab has created a world I would love to live in and explore. Highly recommended to everyone, especially fantasy fans.


Lila Bard lived by a simple rule: if a thing was worth having, it was worth taking.


“Monsters don’t faint in the presence of ladies.”
“Ladies don’t dress like men and pick pockets,” retorted Kell.


“Why do you really want to do this?”
“Because I’m a fool.”
“Because I can’t stay here,” she snapped, the smile gone from her face. “Because I want to see the world, even if it’s not mine. And because I will save your life.”


“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”


“Tell me, do you underestimate everyone, or just me? Is it because I’m a girl?”
“It’s because you’re a human,” he snapped. “Because you may be the bravest, boldest soul I’ve ever met, but you’re still too much flesh and blood and too little power.”


“Are you ready?” she asked, spinning the chamber.
“Kell gazed through the gate at the waiting castle. “No.”
At that, she offered him the sharpest edge of a grin. “Good,” she said. “The ones who think they’re ready always end up dead.”

P.S. Do not forget to stop by my blog on Monday! Victoria herself stops by to answer a question and there’s an epic giveaway involved. 


About Victoria Schwab

I am the product of a British mother, a Beverly Hills father, and a southern upbringing. Because of this, I have been known to say “tom-ah-toes”, “like”, and “y’all”. I also suffer from a wicked case of wanderlust, made worse by the fact that wandering is a good way to stir up stories. When I’m not haunting Paris streets or trudging up English hillsides, I’m usually tucked in the corner of a coffee shop, dreaming up monsters.

My first YA novel, THE NEAR WITCH, a dark original fairy tale, debuted with Disney*Hyperion in August 2011, and is now out in paperback.

My next YA novel, THE ARCHIVED, is the first book in a new supernatural series about a world where the dead are shelved like books, and it hits stores January 2013, also with Disney*Hyperion.

My first adult novel, VICIOUS, about two brilliant and highly disturbed pre-med students who set out to generate their own superpowers and end up mortal enemies, is out in hardcover from Tor September 2013.

I have more books coming out in 2014, but I’ll get to those later.

These days, when someone asks me what I do when I’m NOT writing, I just kind of laugh nervously. But in truth, on the odd occasion I’m not typing away, I’m probably baking cookies, or watching BBC shows, or wandering. (See how we came full circle, there?)

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18 responses to “{ARC Review} A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

  1. Man, this sounds truly so amazing! 😀 😀 I loved her Vicious, and I have no doubt I’ll love this one, too. It feels like I relate to her Adult works more than her YA one. It physically pains me that I won’t be reading this one in a few more days, but I can do it. I’LL PUSH MYSELF! You bet I’ll be reading this first thing on the 24th!! 😀

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