A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab: Book Review

Step into a world of parallel Londons in “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab, where magic, adventure, and danger await at every turn. Get ready for a thrilling ride through multiple dimensions unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!

Sneak Peak

In “A Darker Shade of Magic,” we follow the story of Kell, one of the last Travelers – rare magicians with the ability to move between parallel universes. As an ambassador for the Red London royal family, Kell smuggles items between worlds for those willing to pay. However, when a forbidden artifact from Black London enters his possession, Kell’s life takes a dangerous turn. Alongside the cunning thief, Lila Bard, Kell must navigate treacherous political intrigues and dark magic to save all the Londons from imminent peril.

My Take

V.E. Schwab weaves a captivating tale filled with intricate world-building, complex characters, and magic that leaps off the pages. The narrative is fast-paced, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they traverse the vividly depicted Londons. One of the highlights of the book is the dynamic between Kell and Lila, whose banter and evolving partnership add depth to the story. Schwab’s writing style is engaging, drawing readers into a multilayered universe where each London holds its own mysteries and dangers.

I particularly enjoyed the exploration of the different Londons, each with its own magic system and distinct atmosphere. From the vibrant and flourishing Red London to the bleak and desolate White London, Schwab’s world-building is immersive and allows readers to vividly imagine each setting. The magical elements are skillfully incorporated into the plot, adding an extra layer of intrigue to the story.

However, at times, the pacing felt a bit rushed, especially towards the climax, which could have been further developed to enhance the tension and emotional impact. Additionally, while the characters are well-drawn, some readers may find it challenging to connect with them on a deeper level due to the focus on the plot-driven narrative.

What Makes the Book Unique

“A Darker Shade of Magic” stands out for its inventive concept of multiple parallel Londons, each with its own unique characteristics and dangers. Schwab’s ability to create distinct worlds within the same city sets this book apart, offering readers a fresh and compelling take on traditional fantasy tropes. The interplay of magic, politics, and mystery adds layers of complexity to the storyline, making it a rich and immersive reading experience.


In conclusion, “A Darker Shade of Magic” is a spellbinding fantasy novel that transports readers to a world of magic and mayhem. With its enthralling plot, diverse characters, and imaginative world-building, V.E. Schwab delivers a gripping tale that will leave you eagerly reaching for the next book in the series. I highly recommend this novel to fans of fantasy and adventure looking for a unique and engrossing read.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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