A Darker Shade of Magic

By V. E. Schwab,

Book cover of A Darker Shade of Magic

Book description

A stunning collector's edition of the acclaimed novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab.

With an exclusive metallic ink cover, this edition will feature:

* End papers of London
* Fan art
* A glossary of Arnesian and Antari terms
* An interview between author and…

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Why read it?

12 authors picked A Darker Shade of Magic as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’m going to cheat and make this entry the Shades of Magic trilogy by V.E. Schwab. If her name is familiar, V.E. wrote The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue which I adored.

The first book in this series popped up as one I might be interested in and it was free, so thought, “why not give it a try.” And I am so glad I did. It’s a sweeping epic of magic and multiple universes, and palace intrigue and love. A fourth novel in the series just landed in my Kindle and I can’t wait to dig in! 

A Darker Shade of Magic introduces us to Kell, a mage with the rare ability to travel between parallel Londons.

I love this concept of multiple versions of the same city, and was put in mind of an 18th-century The Matrix. I found myself drawn to Kell’s struggle, his loneliness in being one of the last of his kind, and his longing for something more. Something more arrives in the form of a frenemy, which I always find entertaining when well done.

While very different in setting and tone to my book, both books play with the manipulation of time…

Lila Bard. That’s really all I need to say here. She shares screen time with the other protagonist of this book, Kell, but she is far and away the best character in this series – which is saying something, because VE Schwab is a masterful writer, and all her characters are brilliantly written (especially Kell’s coat, which almost comes a close second to Lila for me). Think swashbuckling, knife-wielding, devil-may-care attitude with a well-hidden soft center, and you’ve got Lila Bard. In addition to great characters, Schwab weaves a fantastic fantasy tale, switching between different universes (multiple Londons!!) with pirates,…

This book… This book! As an author I always learn from what I read and often feel inspired. This book made me curl up in a corner and cry about my own inadequacy. VE Schwab has a magic about her words and stories that’s hard to put a finger on—which is exactly how magic should be. Her stories are always rife with wonder without making you feel overwhelmed. Her sentences are beautiful yet powerful and her characters flawed and relatable. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to Victoria’s work but A Darker Shade of Magic remains my favorite. 

I’m an absolute sucker for both intricate world-building and alternate dimensions, and the way Schwab manages to thread the needle between fantasy and traditional science fiction concepts made my head spin. I was hooked from the moment I realized there were parallel worlds. Kell and Lila are great leads, and I loved the combative energy between them. I really love slow-burn relationships, including friendships, and it’s fun to see this pair go from strangers to tentative allies. While A Darker Shade of Magic doesn’t feature a queer romance, the second book in the series does, and it’s well worth the…

From A.E.'s list on queer swashbuckling.

I picked up this book solely based on the striking white, red, and black cover. The concept of traveling between different versions of London, a magical coat, and the grayness of trying to do what’s right even if it may not be the correct, or legal, thing hooked me. Kell and Lila are great examples of main characters that exist in the dirty middle of the good versus evil scale. They both make mistakes, try to fix them, and are moderately successful at doing so. But what they sacrifice and struggle with to do so is what makes them so…

A Darker Shade of Magic by the ever-popular V.E. Schwab is the first in the Shades of Magic trilogy. Schwab always writes well, and this book is no exception. The premise is that there are four versions of London, which are color-coded so we can keep them straight (Red London, Grey London, etc.). The world building is solid and the storytelling is fluid. There isn’t much romance, which probably pleases some people. I generally enjoy having a romance subplot, but don’t think people who share my opinion will be disappointed.

From Katie's list on with parallel worlds.

I confess, I really wanted to recommend the whole Shades of Magic trilogy, but the first book, A Darker Shade of Magic, remains my favorite. Although it falls more squarely in the realm of fantasy, I love how the author creates three parallel Londons and how she uses this device to produce a page-turning novel that feels like both a historical adventure as well as a fantasy. The reader is introduced to three fantastical Londons: White, where magic has been drained; Red, where magic, thrives; and Grey (our boring old world). Oh, and there is a fourth London, Black…

This book is a portal fantasy of different Londons, Red London being a realm of lively magic and Grey London being much like Dicken’s industrial London. Our heroine Delilah Bard, being a thief from Grey London, steals a trinket that transports her to a magical dimension where she feels alive and free. I couldn’t get over the different ways the reader looks at the same world. I found the idea captivating and longed to find magic trapped within things. 

I adore V.E. Schwab's stories. They're always so imaginative and immersive and I think her Darker Shades of Magic trilogy is a prime example of that. I was thoroughly hooked from the get-go when I first read this novel, with its fantastical worlds full of magic and danger and characters that practically burst off the page. What I wouldn't give to spend a day in Red London. And speaking of characters, we are treated to some lovely bisexual representation through the dashing prince, Rhy Maresh. 

From Rita's list on fantasy with LGBT+ rep.

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