A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab @veschwab | @kurtsprings1 #review #fantasy

Author: V. E. Schwab

Book: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

Published: January 2016

Publisher: Tor Books

Genre: Fantasy

Source: Paperback



Kell lives as one of the last two Antari. Antari are magicians able to travel between specific points in parallel worlds. This point is London, of which there are three: Red, Grey, and White. Once there was a Black London which no one speaks of now, save in whispers. Kell’s home is in Red London, called Arnes by the locals of this world.

Kell serves as ambassador between the Londons, traveling to White London with constant bloody regime changes and Grey London which exists without magic. Kell also smuggles little trinkets between the worlds. When an exchange goes wrong, Kell escapes to Grey London and gets robbed by Delilah Bard, who then saves him from a deadly enemy. Kell takes her to Red London where dangerous magic and treachery lurk at every turn.


I usually don’t pick up alternative world stories as they tend to be confusing. I almost didn’t pick it up the second time I saw it on the Bookery’s shelves. I’m glad I did. The worlds were different enough that I could keep track of which was which. V. E. Schwab uses elemental-based magic, a good grounding point for magical systems. The interplay between the characters proved to be fun.

Kell is a magician who can walk between worlds with the dangerous and highly illegal hobby of smuggling. When he unwittingly smuggles a magical object from Black London, events are set in motion that leads him to Delilah Bard, a Grey London pickpocket who wants a proper adventure. What followed kept me turning the pages. I already picked up the two sequels in the series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s