A Darker Shade of Magic (collector’s edition)


This is one of the books that will always have a special place in my heart and deserves more than the traditional 5 ✶ rating. As my old paperback copy has gone missing – I’m notorious for forgetting who I lend books to – I used the opportunity to order myself the US collector’s edition. However, before I could start on my reread, I came across the UK collector’s edition at Forbidden Planet and couldn’t resist getting that one too. Both of them are absolutely wonderful, and signed, and contain the same art on the inside, even if laid out slightly different. If I had to choose, I would go for the US edition, as I am very picky with fonts, and I find that one less cramped and easier to read.

I really hope that the rest of the series ends up getting the same wonderful treatment in time, so I can get a matching set! I still only have the paperbacks of book 2 and 3, but kind of don’t want to get the white cover hardbacks if they get released in black at some point… I will have to make up my mind soon though, as I’ll get to go to V.E. Schwab’s Boston signing in October! It’ll be my first signing (we don’t really get those in Switzerland…) and I’m super excited. Very lucky to have hit the exact right dates with the conference I’m speaking at (Harvard Celtic Colloquium, if anyone’s interested).

Now to the actual book review: Set in four different parallel Londons, the series tells the story of Kell, an Antari adopted by the royal family in his London. On his travels, he encounters Delilah Bard in another London, who ends up following him back. Together, they work to save their world from collapse. The world building is spectacular, and the characters are all multi-layered and morally gray, which makes for an interesting and gripping read. Without going into any spoilers, my favourite part about this series is how the characters interact, and how romance is but an aside rather than the main focus of the plot, as is so common.

I wish I could meet Kell and Lila in person, as I feel that they are just my kind of people – stubborn, opinionated, and passionate, without caring too much for the rules or social convention. And even more than that, I wish I could steal Kell’s coat – he wears a reversible coat with an unknown number of different sides, which lets him fit in visually in the places he goes to. Books two and three continue in the same vein and are equally wonderful, introducing further fantastic characters, such as the pirate Alucard. I recommend these books to my friends on a regular basis, and so far, everyone has loved them. If you haven’t read them yet, GO AND DO SO, they are wonderful!

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