Book Review – A Darker Shade of Magic

Book: A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic 1) by V.E. Schwab
Release Date: February 24th 2015
Genre: Fantasy
Reading Format and edition: Paperback from Titan Books, published in 2015
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars




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.


Some books are build up so high in expectations that it is hard for them to live up to them. A Darker Shade of Magic is one of those books for me. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book, but I did not love it as much as others seem to or as I was expecting to.

One of the things that I absolutely love about this book is the world. The different kind of London’s and the travelling between them. How the worlds of each London are different. Not all of them have England for instance. I’m looking forward to discovering more about the different kind of London’s, but especially black London. I also really liked the ideas with magic. It made sense to me that some worked different.

The plot was okay for the most part. I really liked the start, but the plot headed into a different kind of ending that I would have expected considering this is a series. I thought it was a bit too nicely wrapped up at the end. It was a bit too neat. I was expecting more of a dark and gritty ending for the main characters than we got.

I took an instant liking to Kell. His abilities and personality drew me in. I also loved how he thought about Rhy before we even met this character. It was a nice way to introduce their relationship towards us, and it made me want to meet this character. And Rhy did not disappoint. I liked their interactions and how they can balance each other out.

With Lila I had a harder time. I could not really connect with her for most of the novel. It’s not that she is a bad character in anyway. She has a great strong personality, but with the hard shell she has around her I found it hard to connect to her. This did get better nearing the ending.

15 thoughts on “Book Review – A Darker Shade of Magic

  1. Wonderful review! I have this sitting on my iPad ever since it came out, but I’ve been so scared to start it because the hype is absolutely ridiculous. Hopefully, I’ll get around to reading it soon. I’m glad you enjoyed it! x

    Liked by 1 person

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