winged reviews
Adult, Review / February 26, 2015
A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. SchwabA Darker Shade of Magic
Author: V. E. Schwab
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Publisher: Titan Books, Tor
Date: February 2015
400 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
Buy the BookGoodreads

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.

I don’t think it’s fair to all other books that V.E. Schwab’s latest offering publish early in the year. After Vicious, her amazing adult debut last January, I had very high expectations for A Darker Shade of Magic. Not only did I love Schwab as an author, but the book—a fantasy world of parallel Londons, with promised magic, thievery and all around excitement—sounded incredible. When the covers were revealed, my love grew exponentially. In fact, this is my first review that features both, because I can’t even choose. read more

By: Daphne
Adult, Review / February 7, 2014
Vicious by V.E. SchwabVicious
Author: V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Tor
Date: September 2013
304 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy
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A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

This book was a phenomenal way to start off my reading year. Vicious, the debut adult novel from V.E. Schwab, lived up to all my expectations and more. It was a masterclass in pace, plotting and best of all, characters.

The story was wonderful—darkly funny, grim at times and with just the right amount of villainy. It starts off with a night at a graveyard and the book shifts back and forth between roommates Victor Vale and Eli Ever’s time at college and present day. As students fueled by alcohol, testosterone and scientific curiosity, Victor and Eli test and discover the catalyst for making someone ExtraOrdinary—a person with a gift. And yes, they have tested on themselves. read more

By: Daphne