Shades of Magic Trilogy || A Book (Series) Review

by - 8/06/2018


Lately, I've been on a huge YA kick. I've been re-reading all my favorite Sarah Dessen books, and then The Selection, and a cute one called Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West. All of which I've loved, but I suddenly found myself wanting something a little different.

Enter A Darker Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab. 

That title alone should tell you that it's vastly different than the light, fluffy, contemporaries I've been reading. 

I heard about this trilogy on booktube, and while I'd never read an adult fantasy before, I decided to pick these up. And I was immediately hooked.

Set in four parallel Londons, we first follow Kell, a Red London royal and a magician who has a magical coat and can travel between Gray, Red, and White London - but not Black, as it was destroyed by dark magic. When Kell happens upon a relic from Black London, adventure ensues. As the book progresses we meet an exciting cast of characters, from pirates, more magicians, kings, queens, and princes, and so many more.

I feel like that's about all I should say about the plot, as I think it's best to read this without knowing much and just let the story unfold as you go.

Oh my goodness, I loved these books!

The world building in this trilogy is vivid, the characters have multiple layers, the conflicts are believable, the adventure is enticing. I'd say these books are more character-driven than plot-driven, but the writing is so beautiful and the characters so well-developed that it still made for a story I couldn't put down. I audibly gasped multiple times at the beauty of Schwab's writing. She's incredibly descriptive yet concise with her words, so even though the world sounds complicated I really found it easy to grasp, but also felt as though I could imagine it perfectly. Incredible.

The first book had a very clear ending, so I wasn't sure what a sequel would bring, but the second book surprised me at every turn as she built on the original story. The second book was a slow build to a breathtaking cliffhanger that had me picking up book three immediately. The final book was full of adventure, good vs. evil, and was also multi-perspective which really added to the story. 

In the last book, we got into nearly every character's head and it was both fascinating and so well done! I sometimes struggle with a lot of different perspectives, as I'm not always sure why we need to know each character's thoughts. But in this book--whoa. I mean, each character we got a glimpse of just came at the perfect time and really blew my mind when it all came together.

Fair warning: these books are not for the faint of heart. They're really dark, and the evil in this book is, well, really evil. It was thrilling and vivid, but pretty scary too. As well, there are some LGBT elements and some swearing, so if you don't like F words you may want to skip these books. I always like knowing this kind of thing before I pick up a book, so I just thought I'd mention it.

In all, I was just thrilled with this story from beginning to end and I'm really looking forward to reading some of V.E. Schwab's other books! This was the perfect first foray into adult fantasy, I'd say!

5/5 Stars.

Happy Monday!

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