A Darker Shade of Magic (Preview) by V.E. Schwab–Review

I received an egalley provided by the publisher, Macmillian-Tor/Forge, through Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.


I’m not sure there are enough adjectives and synonyms to describe how ridiculously magical, wonderful, amazing, fantastic, dark, and spell-binding the preview was. Okay,     so perhaps I have a few more adjectives than I thought, but seriously, the first 1/3 of the book was stunning, and I can’t imagine how it will all play out.

First of all, there’s Kell, a Traveler, who travels between the different Londons delivering letters (the only item allowed to go through the different Londons) for the different ruling families. Kell is one of the last Antari’s, those with magic in their blood and able to travel between the four Londons: Red, White, Black, and Gray. Though no one goes to Gray anymore, as it’s been sealed off after magic devoured it.

Then, there’s Kell’s coat, which is the most fantastic piece of outerwear I’ve ever encountered in a novel. His coat is its own character to me now, and I need it. I need it so bad. It is long and sometimes billowing and turns from left to right instead of inside out and there seem to be an almost endless array of possibilities to wear it. Plus, I just really have a thing for male characters in great coats like Sherlock, Mal, Captain Jack Harkness, Spike, etc. Now, I get to add Kell to that list.


The world building is superb. I love the idea of parallel Londons, each with their own ruler and rules and ideals about magic, and how different and similar they are. I wish I could talk more in depth about it, but I don’t want to ruin anything. The characters are intriguing and multi-faceted. And the villains? The twins Athos and Astrid? Dear God, they’re creepy and horrific human beings (though human may be a bit of a stretch). I was repulsed by them and their actions, but I desperately want to know about them and am simultaneously terrified to discover more.

And now I have to wait. Do you know how far away February 24th is? OVER THREE MONTHS. What am I supposed to do with myself until then?

This is the first novel I’ve read in a while that drew me in completely. I’ve read three and half books in the past three weeks, and I liked them, but I didn’t love them. They were just missing something. A Darker Shade of Magic has what the others were missing.

Part fairy-take, part political intrigue A Darker Shade of Magic is sure to be fantastical ride perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and anyone who craves brilliant characters.


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